I recently wrote a post asking why people hate babies on planes. I wrote this post in response to seeing some incredibly hateful and self centered comments on articles about travel with children across the internet. It was a breathe of fresh air when the people who commented on my article were moderate and understanding. Yes, not everyone likes flying with babies on the plane, but at least my readers are not on the “ban all children and flog their parents” band wagon. So, thank you readers.
But when reading comments across the internet, one particular sentiment stood out for me.
“I want to know what the hell you’re doing bringing your infant child on a plane in the first place.
If it’s a vacation, your child isn’t going to remember it.
If it’s for business, the child shouldn’t be coming along anyway.
If it’s a funeral, a family visit, anything sentimental at all, the child still won’t remember it.
You could have easily left the child in the hands of someone else. Your desire to go somewhere or show the child something are no reason to, without any sensible reason, bring the infant somewhere that will inconvenience others.
The same can be said of parents who bring said infants to public places that others go to enjoy themselves – restaurants being a big thing here. Your child does nothing except lower the enjoyment that other people are paying for.”
This type of attitude is the one that really gets me annoyed. It’s the type of attitude that says “you are selfish if something you do annoys me or inconveniences me in any way.” The type of person who has this attitude is the type of person who has decided that they are going to dislike something, and no amount of positive experiences are going to make them change their mind. These are the type of person who gave Dan and I dirty looks as we boarded the plane with our infant soon AND still gave us dirty looks as we disembarked after a five hour flight where our baby didn’t even make a peep.
These are the type of people that need to learn to get over themselves a little bit. It is impossible to go through life and not be annoyed or inconvenienced by something and having this sort of negative attitude will only set you up to be upset and miserable with everyone around you. Everyone is different and unique. This means that everyone is going to be annoyed or feel inconvenienced by different things. Is it the rest of the human population’s job to worry about what might set you off when in a public place, or is it your responsibility to be lenient and understanding when in public situations?
And then there is this argument…
“Parents who travel with toddlers do it only for selfish reasons. The simple truth is that children at very young age can’t appreciate what their parents are doing…Small kids enjoy being with their relatives, but not too far from home and their culture.”
This attitude simply doesn’t make sense to me either.
Do babies remember their parents cuddling and kissing them? NO
Do babies remember their parents singing and talking to them? NO
Do babies remember being read to or playing with toys? NO
So why don’t we just lock babies into a dark room with no interaction and stimulation…. cause I mean… they won’t even remember it right?
I mean ask yourself this. Why do we buy developmental toys for babies and toddlers, put on baby Einstein videos, and read books to them? It’s because every time a babies brain is stimulated in a new way it creates an opportunity for the brain to grow and develop new neural connections. The final number of brain connections that children develop is linked with their early experiences.
So then let me ask you this… How is exposing my son to different languages, different styles of dress and textiles, different toys, different foods and tastes selfish? If anything, it is selfless as every new experience he has will be causing his little brain to build even more and even more elaborate brain connections. Hopefully this will set him up to be a well rounded, curious, and objective human being later in life.
Sure, he won’t remember being sung to in Albanian by our guest house owner, but during that lullaby brain connections were being formed.
He won’t remember sharing frog legs with Daddy in Bulgaria, but those new flavours were helping develop his little brain.
He won’t remember playing in the snow in Iceland, but that was an experience he wouldn’t never have gotten at home in Australia.
Yes, Dan and I love travel and we hope to share that love with our child, but I disagree that taking our son along on our journey is harmful or selfish in any way.