We had the wonderful pleasure of heading west to visit some of our favorite friends in San Francisco this weekend. Traveling anywhere with a 5 month old is a gamble but a four and a half hour flight is truly risky. Luckily, our daughter was a gem on the way to San Fran, kicking off an amazing weekend.
Lesson learned.....it was too much to ask for the flight home to go as well. Take the three hour time change in conjunction with a flight time around normal bedtime and turning the clocks back, suddenly we found ourselves as "those people". Those people who had a screaming, inconsolable, exhausted baby.....on an airplane for four and a half hours. She started fussing as we taxied and didn't stop until she passed out from exhaustion three hours into the flight.
YES, we were those people who were trying anything and everything to comfort our little girl; those people who looked like we must be borrowing someone else's baby because certainly this couldn't be our own child we were trying unsuccessfully to quiet. I was sweating profusely while I tried to rock her in my seat. I was flashing everyone around me as I tried to nurse her while she kicked and flailed so much she was everywhere but under my nursing cover up. We were those people getting scolded by the flight attendants for trying to walk with her up and down the aisle while the seat belt sign was on.
My husband was doing his best to help quell the situation by showing her toys, singing to her, trying to make her laugh - she batted at him with the aggression of a seasoned warrior, she wanted nothing to do with any of it. We were those people who tried politely to ignore the woman across the aisle asking if she could help. Did we want her bracelet for the baby to play with? Offering genius advice such as, "Maybe she's hungry?". Oh, well of course! Why didn't we think of that? I really thought as we passed over Kansas they might open an escape hatch somewhere and gently push us out.....and at that point, I may not have even resisted.
We have all been on a flight with a crying baby (or several) but only now do I fully understand the hell that I have seen on the faces of those poor parents. You are trapped, there is nowhere to go, nothing to be done. When you have exhausted all options and still have a screaming child, when you have started to tear up yourself because you feel helpless, when you start to wonder if something more serious is happening with your baby, just as the panic sets in - this is when it stops. Finally, an exhausted baby slumps against your shoulder and is quiet. A collective sigh passes through the cabin from everyone around you who have been covering there ears with pillows, shaking their heads, rolling their eyes. Finally, quiet.
By the way, if you are ever in this situation and the baby screaming is not yours, please refrain from offering your wisdom to the parents. It's bad enough when as the baby's parents you can't do any of the usual tricks to keep the peace, but having complete strangers suggest obvious solutions (although well meaning) could lead to violence.
Lesson learned........we survived, however, the battle aboard flight 794 is forever ingrained in our minds.....as well as that of the other 180 passengers on board.
You will notice I do not have a recipe to post this week (unless you want a recipe for a travelling disaster, then please see above) but will have something delicious to share again next time.