K's latest post over at Good Children got me thinking about traveling with children, and I agree--I hope there's a special place in hell for people who make nasty comments to or about those of us traveling alone with small children. And to those of you who brushed past me impatiently last week at the airport while you saw me trying to keep track of my three-year-old's hand while also trying to walk up the stairs from the tarmac to the jetway while juggling a very large stroller, a diaper bag, a purse, and a portable DVD player, I hope you one day have sextuplets and have to travel alone with them. And that they scream all the way to your destination.
My worst traveling alone with children experience was definitely last summer, when my flight was delayed and we sat on the tarmac for about 45 minutes, waiting for our turn to depart. Emmeline was very cranky and whiny, and the woman sitting in front of us turned around and berated me for not keeping E quiet. When I told her that E was two and that I was doing the best I could, even showing her the books and snacks I was trying to entice E with, the woman told me that she had three grown children and that I was most definitely NOT doing the best that I could, as her children had never behaved that way. Mind you, E wasn't even in a full-blown temper tantrum--she was just being a standard-issue, cranky two-year-old. I love the people whose own children are so far removed from the toddler days that they don't even remember what it's like to try to calm down a pissed-off two-year-old, all while keeping her strapped into a seat on a plane. It's not like time-out is really an option when you're in an airplane.
It seemed that the woman wasn't going to be happy unless I violently spanked my daughter, but that wasn't something I was going to do. So, the woman's next move was to lean over the seat, put her finger in Emmeline's face, and tell her that she was a very ill-behaved child, which caused me to coldly tell the woman not to speak to my child. Then, the woman called the flight attendant over. All of this, mind you, while everyone on the plane was watching. The woman insisted to the flight attendant that I and my daughter be moved to another section of the plane with empty seats. Why the woman herself couldn't move, rather than insist on me dragging E, a car seat and various toys and books to some other seats, I don't know. But at that point, I was so angry I was in tears and couldn't wait to get as far away from that woman as possible. Needless to say, I hope her luggage was lost and never found. And that she had to sit next to a violently ill toddler on her return trip.
Ah, the joys of airline travel.