|The Laughing Mom: humorous tales of motherhood|
|Written by Susan Pfaltzgraff|
One of the greatest adventures of parenting is traveling on an airplane with your children. My parents live 1,400 miles away, so I have ample opportunities for adventure!
The first time I took my daughter Melise on a plane she was 3 months old. At the airport, I was so anxious to have everything in order, get through security, and make it to the gate on time that I was completely oblivious to the large wet area growing on my shirt.
I was a nursing mother, you see, and those sort of accidents happened sometimes. I found the spot once I was sitting at the gate and quickly zipped my jacket up over it. I reflected on my walk from security to the gate. People had been looking at me, but I thought it was just because I was carrying a cute baby!
That trip was a stressful one. I had received much advice about making sure my baby was nursing during take-off in order to relieve the pressure build-up in her ears. It sounds like a simple enough idea. After getting on the plane and finding our seat, Melise was ready to nurse. I was afraid she would be done by the time the plane took off, so I made her wait. She started to cry and then howl and then scream. People were looking at us. I imagined them thinking how unfortunate it was to be on a plane with a baby. I gave in and nursed her.
Melise fell asleep while nursing, which was normal. Of course, as soon as she was asleep the plane started to taxi toward take-off. I frantically tried to coax her to nurse again. She just pursed her lips tight in her sleeping state. The plane took off and within moments I was popping my ears. I wanted Melise to pop her ears, too, so I started patting her cheeks and playing with her fingers in hopes of waking her. The passenger next to me gave a look that suggested he didn’t think waking the baby was a good idea.
After much whispered pleading on my part, Melise finally woke up. With a whimper and a frown she went back to nursing. I breathed a sigh of relief!
Unfortunately, Melise did not stay asleep for the two and a half hour flight. She fussed and cried as babies that age do. I spent most of the flight walking up and down the aisle bouncing her. When I did dare to sit down, I held her above my head in “airplane” position to amuse her. She must have had a great view of the plane’s interior from there!
I was quite clammy with nervous sweat when I got off that first flight. The memory of it has made me dread every flight since.
In fact I just got back from another airplane trip. On the flight home, people looked at us the way they always do: with dread. I don’t blame them; I have the same fear! No one wants to fly with a cranky, crying baby, especially the parents. But Melise, as if she knew the drill, nursed a little during take-off and fell right to sleep. She woke up in time for landing, like clockwork.
As we gathered our things in order to leave the airplane, the passengers around us all agreed that she was a good baby. They didn’t hear a peep! What an angel! I smiled and nodded, but in my heart I was simply thankful not to be covered in the nervous sweat of that first flight!