If you ever ride in this…
with a few of these…
it never hurts to be prepared.
Not unlike many infants, my younger son at six months old had a penchant for squealing. His whole body shook with unbridled glee as he opened his little mouth wide and let loose, eyes shining with the head-ringing volume he attained. As proud as he was, and even though he was making the happiest of infant sounds, few others were as pleased as he was at his ability. Case in point: the crabby fellow air traveler who had the nerve to tell me he didn’t like being seated next to a mother and her baby on an airplane. So I, not knowing what else to do with my happy child, went the passive-aggressive route, turning my squealing son right at him. I realize that wasn’t the most mature move but a baby’s self-gratifying peals are no match for a mother’s feeble attempts at shushing. The ear-piercing decibels stand.
Fast-forward nine years and my son still has pipes. His twin brother less so, only because he is not as verbose. His younger sister…let’s just say she has the range and volume of a velociraptor. How my husband and I got kids with such robust vocals, I’ll never know, but it doesn’t change the fact that in an enclosed space, such as a thrumming turbo-prop airplane, my kids can raise a roof.
Take for example our family’s recent trip to visit the kids’ great grandmother. Not only were they getting to see her and their grandma and grandpa, the kids were missing school to do so. Needless to say, their own landing gear was at the ready as we made our final approach to our destination. Of course my husband and I tried to tone down their excitement, given the kids were old enough to understand the reminder use-your-inside-voices. But as all parents know, it’s hard to turn the tide on enthusiasm. At least we tried.
But attempting to make our kids be considerate of others simply did not cut it. My husband may need reading glasses but he otherwise has the eyes of a hawk as he saw the lady in front of him type out this text message on her phone:
This flight is kaos. There are three kids who are too many octibels too loud.
Word for non-word, that is what she typed.
Spelling and grammar aside, was she right? Without a doubt, yes, she was. The kids were loud. She was trying to watch CSI on her laptop. And without another doubt, she was bothered. I wish I knew, without her silent complaint, how our family could have been less disruptive. Unfortunately the confined cabin space coupled with a turbulent ride made it impossible to remove the kids from their seats, even if to just the lavatory, for even a brief moment of relative quiet. So our only option was making reminders about volume. Which only go so far. At least the kids were happy and not motion sick and not kicking the seats in front of them. Compared to what it could have been, was a pretty successful flight with three kids.
But that is my husband’s and my perspective. We could have addressed our unhappy neighbor directly and apologized to the travelers around us as we deplaned. We could give visibly unhappy seat mates permission to ask our kids themselves to talk more quietly (that actually happened once with my daughter and it worked). Hearing from mom and dad that their behavior “might be bothering others” is nothing like hearing from the affronted individuals themselves. ( We also could have said to this lady, “By the way, chaos is spelled with a ch and I think you mean decibel, not octibel…” which my passive-aggressive side would have found terribly gratifying. But that would have been rather rude.) We certainly understand not everyone is enamored with our kids’ volume of enthusiasm and we can at least acknowledge to those around us how disruptive it can be. Next time we fly the friendly skies, we will be prepared to try to keep them that way.
But in another vein, shouldn’t autocorrect have changed the messy text above to:
This flight is laos. There are three kids who are too many october too loud?
That’s what mine did, anyway.