The newspaper headline read that a child was arrested in mid-air for ill behavior. The undercover TSA agent had watched the carnival of romp unfold, the bumpkin’s initial tapping turned to banging on the seat front, then a thrown can of Coke and finally a sudden and aggressive lunge at the friendly man across the isle.
This time the baby had taken it too far. Someone saw something and said something and the undercover TSA agent moved – the baby handcuffs were secured using tubing from an oxygen mask.
I imagine such horrors happening to me each time I fly with kids. Surely it could never happen to mine, but that fear is what keeps many parents from flying at all. And when they do fly they want them to sleep, the little face in soft repose with barely audible coos emanating from a puckered mouth almost saying, “How could anyone ever have a problem with me?”
But where some kids find sleep is the conclusion to a previous episode, other kids use sleep as a restorative for ratcheting up their offenses next time round. Where running up and down the isles had been accomplished before the nap, running circles among and between passenger seats must be worked out next for these little rascals. Baby terrorists put parents to wondering: How strong does a kid have to be to get the Exit door open at 20,000 feet? What happens if he rushes the captain’s door? Where exactly is that undercover TSA agent sitting, anyway?
But while your kids sleeps in preparation for their next outbreaks, go ahead and savor that ginger cookie with a peace of mind knowing there is Bumpkin strategy on airplanes to defuse kid bombs, bullets, missiles and mortars:
- Hand out mini bottles and earbuds to your seatmates – Current TSA standards allot for up to 3.2 ounces of liquid per bottle carried on. Bring the cocktail party to the plane and you’re likely to get a pass for any disruptions your child makes. The gesture will go far whether they take the gift or not.
- Give them what they never get at home – If an iPad is forbidden, give it to them. They’re not allowed to play with that delicate camera your spouse so treasures? Let’s just see how it works on this flight. Sometimes we have to break the rules to elevate the excitement factor over whatever else is on the airplane. Children will acquiesce to whatever is the most exciting at a given moment. Put skin in the game or get out. Note: When in a bind you can tap the old lady sitting nearby and ask her to dump out the treasure trove inside her purse.
- When someone complains – Agree with the protestor and you’ll likely find them placated. “You’re absolutely correct about this noise. Can you believe it?”
- Take them around the plane – When the seatbelt sign is not illuminated, take your kid to one of the openings and direct them to do push-ups, calisthenics and other exercises that would otherwise be done against the seatback.
- Oragami with barf bags – Seriously, the bag makes a good hand puppet and the kid can draw a face on it and everything.