I had just come out of Ikea and we were parked very close to the entrance. I had left my sons coat in the car, we parked so close, and after all, it always comes off in the store. I put him in his car seat, while my husband put all the stuff in the back and ran to put the cart away. The temperature was around 0 degrees and sunny. Just as I opened up the passenger side, my son began to scream, a lady out of nowhere screamed at me “Put a coat on him he is cold”, she not only screamed it once, but also through in an expletive, just to make her point that much clearer. I got into the car and looked at my son, and said “say bye bye to the crayons”, his crying stopped immediately. He had two small Ikea pencils in his hand, and they were dangerous for him to hold in the car. I shook my head as my husband came back and I told him there was a woman who was screaming at me. It dawned on me that when it comes to children, everybody and their brother has an opinion, it seems that everyone jumps to conclusions and doesn’t even think before saying anything.
- The woman hadn’t noticed that my son had long underwear on and a sweatshirt. We walked 10 feet from the doors to Ikea to the car.
- Didn’t look to see that we had a hybrid car and it was actually running, hence there was heat blowing on us.
- That my son spends the majority of his day outside, he is constantly hot, and I think he is the only toddler that starts to chuck his boots at his mother at 8am and says outside!!!
It dawned on me right after the incident, just how many times this happens, just not always to me, but always to parents, and by people who feel the need to take out their bad experiences onto exhausted vulnerable parents. Not saying that some parents don’t deserve it, but the majority of us are just trying to do our best.
So, what is it that makes people say that travelling is stressful? I believe it is all the bad experiences projected onto us, and the way we handle them. I have seen pretty much everything, and have heard some pretty nasty comments, the worst offenders are usually from Flight attendants! So here it is, why are you shushing your child to be quiet – does that not make them more anxious? Why are you apologizing to everyone around you when your child melts down – apologize to your child first, they are probably tired, hungry or sore, Why are you nervous to let your child walk in the aisle?
IT IS ALL BECAUSE YOU ARE WORRIED ABOUT HOW OTHERS WILL PERCEIVE YOU. STOP!!!! Your child will feel all of this, and it is not fair to them. Take travelling as a great opportunity to really interact and listen to them. Feed them before they are hungry, cuddle them and play with them.
Calm down, worry about your child’s well being, is the man beside you apologizing for snoring, or falling asleep on your shoulder, no, probably not. Is anyone trying to help you, no, probably not. Are you really well prepared, no probably not! The woman at Ikea would have been better served to run over and give me a blanket if she thought my child was cold, instead she yelled from afar and added nasty words, putting me on the defensive (although, I didn’t bite, I just ignored her). She was trying to shame me and embarrass me (she was ultimately trying to make herself feel better) – but really, I just felt sorry for her, and thought, I bet you she hasn’t read the manual of the car seat, it clearly states that a child should not wear a bulky coat as it is a safety hazard.
When travelling, think ahead, have you thought about food? Clothing? And what about exercise (yes, your child does need to run around before getting on a plane? Really plan ahead. The handiest things to do…
Go to the airport early and have a meal after check in.
Let your child run around – bring a soft ball from Ikea. It is amazing how interactive it is, and it is soft, and nobody is bothered by it.
Bring things to eat, not just snacks, bring a Chef Boyardee plastic packages of ravioli (they are gross under regular circumstances, but I swear by them after many trips, I pack them for emergencies for us adults too. The worst thing I have seen are parents being annoyed that their child is hungry on an air-plane and there isn’t enough food. In my books, food is your responsibility, I guess after growing up abroad and never touching food on an air plane for fear of food poisoning, I won’t give it to my child.
Water, seriously, bring water bottles and fill them up at the water fountain before getting on the plane.
Let your child watch a movie, it should be a time for treats, not being stuck in what you allow or don’t allow them to do daily.
Bring Play Doh and Crayons, they are fantastic things you can even bring for a toddler.
The calmer and more prepared you are as a parent, the better off your child will be when travelling. Ignore the people around you, just take care of your child and make them comfortable, you will be amazed at how well your child will do.