Travels with Jane - Other People & Their Children

This year, we're going to lots of interesting places: Paris, Tokyo, Beijing, and wherever else we're lucky enough to visit.

Jane is old enough that travel is no longer a misery of portage - diapers potty toys games stroller snugli diaper bag twenty changes of clothes etc. All that's over with - she walks, she talks, she (mostly) sleeps, she uses the bathroom. In fact, she carries things herself - she will bring me my glasses, the telephone, a cold drink while I sit in my silk wrapper, perusing the room service menu & watching my nails grow.

Traveling with a child, I am acutely aware of other people's children. On the flight from Paris, a little girl who cried inconsolably on take-off and landing received several whacks on the bottom from her mother, who seemed unaware that the change in pressure might be hurting her little one's ears. Not surprisingly, the whacks did not stop the crying; eventually the kid fell asleep. I felt lucky that Jane is such a good traveler - she slept at least five or six hours on each flight we took. But we gave her a teaspoon of decongestant before the plane took off, to help with her ears (she's getting over an infection). This probably also helped with her sleeping. I remember the pain of plugged airplane ears from my childhood. Even a little, tiny, residual cold can make flying a misery.

I thought about offering a teaspoon of decongestant, or a little water in a cup. But I didn't want to intrude. I felt like doing so would overstep a line. I don't like the violence of what she did. But she wasn't freaking out, wasn't incapacitated with anger - she just seemed like an easily annoyed person with few resources for dealing with crying children.

Her husband could not have been less helpful, either. He just sat there and occasionally barked warnings at the little girl.