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By Zach Giordano
And you’re off. Not off-duty as a parent, of course (no punch-out in sight for that one), but you are off.
But, when traveling with children, the “getting there” part can be infuriating, draining, and reminiscent of a Jon and Kate Plus 8 marathon—and that’s just what it’s like for your fellow travelers. And some things can’t be helped. Expecting a child not to cry on a trip is like expecting your row-mate not to be sick, chatty, or completely sober. Not going to happen.
What is going to happen is this: You’re going to get to move to the most coveted seat in the house – the aisle seat – by using your pamper-padded noise box to their fullest potential. Here are a few ways it could play out:
Forget their snacks
As soon as you reach into your bag and realize you left their favorite frosted tiger cookies on the kitchen table, you know lip quivers are seconds away.
Don’t let them play with the straps on your suitcase
After almost missing your connection, you’re already stressed without them tightening and loosening every grab-able part of your bag. Unsurprisingly, they find this to be a personal affront.
Turn off the volume while they’re playing a game on your phone
They find the character’s squeaky voices to be soothing; you know people are trying to relax. They see the refusal to listen to annoying sounds as a denial of their basic rights; you see their sippy cup fly across four rows of seats.
Tell them to stop kicking the back of the seat in front of them for the sixth time
Why this attempt to quell their obsession with stomping the netting that holds the Sky Mall catalog finally sets them off, you’ll never know, but it does.
Ask them if they’re excited to go wherever it is you’re going
A classic strategy: Simply see if you can engage your toddler in a polite conversation. Then realize that no matter what you ask them, the answer will always be, “NO! I WANT MY FROSTY TIGERS!” Cue tears.
Insist they keep their seatbelt on
Turbulence, or an apt metaphor for parenthood? All postulating aside, forcing them to sit restrained for more than five minutes when the key to unlocking their freedom is literally at their fingertips is not going to end quietly.
Do your best; it won’t matter, probably
Your efforts, as calm and well intentioned as they may be, are all going to lead to the same slobber-fueled tantrum anyway. Might as well force the guy in the aisle to take the window so you can have easy access to the exit. The extra legroom is strictly coincidental.
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