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Tots on a Plane

Tots on a Plane

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Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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The story that stuck with me this morning was about this woman, Kate Penland, and her 19-month-old child. She was flying with her child when the toddler got a little fussy and started saying "Bye Bye plane" as they taxied off. The flight attendant thought that behavior warranted suggesting to the mom that she give her baby Benedryl, and when she refused, the attendant had the pilot turn the plane around and kicked the mother and toddler off.

My first reaction was to be shocked and angry with the flight attendant. Where was she trained - Abu Ghraib? I have been that mother she kicked off. I took Ethan back to Pennsylvania when he was about that age. He was such a good boy for the first 2 hours, but the last 3? Oh. I felt so bad for everyone on the plane, most especially Ethan. I did everything I could think of to help him, used every trick, every toy, every new snack, but after a time of being strapped into his seat, he just couldn't stop crying.

Here's what I'm thinking. Rather than want to strangle the mothers (or fathers) or kick them off the plane or let ourselves quietly seethe with anger and resentment, why not try to help? Why not play peekaboo over the back of your seat? Why not send an extra toy his way? Why not pass a note back telling the mother you know just how she feels and all is well? Why not offer to sit next to the toddler and then make funny faces?

Since all of us - even the most irritating and intolerant - was once a toddler, I'm guessing we all relied at least once on the patience and kindness of strangers. Let's remember that and reach out to parents instead of arresting them.


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Amanda Dickson


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