Caution: baby not on board

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 13, 2007

We’ve all seen them on airplanes, trains, buses and you may even have one right now until it grows into a smart-aleck young child and then a fire breathing dragon of a teenager. Yes, I’m talking about babies.

There has always existed this fine line between those who have children and those who don’t. Those that understand what it means to be a parent and those who haven’t a clue.

And that fine line always seems to become a little finer when closed quarters are involved.

On one side you have the parents who revel in the stress of having a child and on the other side you have those that look at children like bichon frises—cute, but annoying, with a side order of drool.

When the two are thrown together in a small space, like in a circular metal tube that flies through the air (aka an airplane) don’t expect merriment.

The finest example is the toddlers and babies being escorted off airplanes like they’re Osama himself.

Most recently, a toddler and his mother were removed from a flight in Houston after the child kept saying, “Bye, bye plane,” while the plane was taxiing to the runway.

The flight attendant took issue with this, as the child was saying the phrase during her monologue about plane safety. Really, it’s her shining moment other than, “What soda would you like?”

She then proceeded to tell the mother that her son’s bantering was “not funny anymore” and to “shut her baby up.”

Dumbfounded, the mother asked the flight attendant if she was serious.

Apparently the flight attendant was as she responded, “They call it baby Benadryl.”

Of course the mother told the flight attendant that she was not going to “drug her child.”

When other passengers showed support for the mother, the flight attendant told the pilot the mother had threatened her. The pilot decided to turn the plane around so the mother and the child could be escorted off the plane.

Obviously the flight attendant was having a bad day. Let’s hope she doesn’t have children, otherwise they’d be comatose.

I’ve been on flights with babies before, sometimes they’re pleasant and sometimes they’re not.

One child that I remember being the prime example of “good” was on a flight from Charlotte to Rochester, NY. He helped me pass my time on the plane by playing peek-a-boo using his mother and her seat in front of me to hide himself.

At first I didn’t acknowledge his behavior, since many parents are nervous of strangers around their children. But after awhile his towhead and goofy little grin melted my heart and soon enough I was his life long pal for an hour and half.

But my experiences with children were not always so pleasant.

I did go through a phase where I did not want a child within a 10 feet radius of me. It happened when I was a teenager and at the time my mom was babysitting my younger cousin.

When he was an infant he was the cutest baby, auburn curly hair with bright green eyes and roly poly appendages. But soon he hit his terrible twos; in a heartbeat he turned into a

red-face, screaming, demon spawn. He had turned from the baby that people stopped to coo about to the toddler everyone with in earshot cringed at.

He was known for his monstrous, head-slamming, fist-flying, toy-flying, screaming-at-the-top-of-his-lungs tantrums at a drop of a hat.

The first time I saw him hit his head against the floor and shake his body like he was in the throws of a grand mol seizure, I thought, “This is it. Children are the embodiment of evil.”

Then there was a stage where I thought I’d break a baby just by touching it. Somehow its head would roll off like a plastic Cupie Doll and then its arms and legs would drop to the floor.

Of course, I soon realized that children were not spawns of the devil and don’t just fall a part like a recalled product.

And for those of us who don’t quite understand children because we don’t have any, perhaps we should utilize a little more patience, after all it is a virtue.

Someone had to put up with your screaming when you were a baby; perhaps it was your parents and maybe a few strangers.

In some ways babies are like older people, they have a right to get angry. Older people are just fed up with the idiocy that comes with life and babies are just learning.