As some of you know, before I had this blog, I maintained another one about parenting, wherein I provided moms and dads with all sorts of valuable, and often dangerous, advice on all facets of bringing up kids, from the moment they’re born, to the year they go away to college, to the day when they move back in with you. You can read my posts on the subject in my book, Kids Are Dumb, Parents Are Dumber which is available at the bottom of this page.
Anyway, I bring that up because recently I was on a Jet Blue flight to Ft. Lauderdale and I was treated to a first-hand look at a new parenting trend, which I’ll call sharing.
This, evidently, is a way for mommies and daddies to share their joy with everyone in their immediately vicinity.
On this flight, for instance, a young couple considerately booked separate seats for their family so that the father and a young girl could sit in one row, while the mother and a 4-month-old could sit a row ahead…on the other side of the aisle…in the middle seat…between an older couple.
This enabled the young parents to share their marital bliss by screaming across the aisle (and the older man) at each other throughout the flight in exchanges such as this (which is, I swear, verbatim):
Mom: You’ve already ruined my trip.
Dad: How did I ruin your trip?.
Mom: You forgot the stroller.
Dad: We’ll buy a friggin’ stroller.
As Florida souvenirs go, that’s a lot more expensive than a “Time for the 4PM monsoon” t-shirt, but, okay, I get it. These were “with it” and wealthy people who could afford the finer things in life, like overlooking essentials when traveling with their baby.
But Mom had even more sharing to do. When she needed to get something from the overhead bin, she turned to the wife of the older couple and handed her the baby. Just like that. “Can you hold this a minute?” and handoff. The woman accepted this gift without complaint while her husband was distracted by Mom’s low-cut top as she leaned over him to get out to the aisle. This girl was ready to breast-feed at the drop of a neckline.
Then Mom decided, as long as she was up, she might as well go to the bathroom. The older woman held the baby at arm’s length while looking around, I suppose, for a hidden camera. Her husband remarked, “Gee, I hope she comes back.”
She did (where could she go, after all?), and gave the older man another eyeful as she reclaimed her seat and her infant, which she then held in her lap until coffee was served, when she handed the baby over the older man’s head to Dad. This, of course, made the baby cry in a manner reminiscent of World War II air raid sirens. Dad then proceeded to walk up and down the aisle for 20 minutes with the kid over his shoulder so it could bawl into the face of anyone with an aisle seat and threaten to spit up into said faces, an outcome it constantly threatened by means of disgusting gagging sounds in between its loud wails. Meanwhile other passengers had to dodge the pacing papa to get to the bathroom, and the jumbo-sized lady sitting next to his daughter became a default baby sitter.
Once Mom finished her relaxing cup of joe, mother and baby were reunited. But the kid still hadn’t gotten over the trauma of being with its father and continued to cry. So Mom held it up in the air to see its sister a row back and across the aisle. “Sister, see?” she asked the baby, who cried some more, for about a half an hour, even as mom continued holding it up, so that everyone in the back of the plane could enjoy this in-flight entertainment.
Finally, mom lowered the kid to breast level and the baby calmed down. I wondered how it could be safe for mothers to hold babies on their laps like that. I mean, what if there was sudden turbulence? Someone could get hurt by a flying baby. I think infants should have to be kept in a bag under the seat, like a Pomeranian.
Anyway, soon the pilot announced that we were beginning our initial descent, which was the signal for all the babies on the flight to begin crying because it’s hard for them to chew gum. Experts say to give them something to suck on, so it would have been a good time to pull out those breasts, but, alas, they remained in their upright position.
In conclusion, I think that airlines could make a lot of money by charging extra to sit in the no baby section.
See you soon.