Friday, March 31, 2017
I was in a kiddies play centre in Singapore which Katherine and Adam love. Lots of children running swinging, jumping, sliding and bouncing and lots of bored moms staring at their phone screens. In the middle of all this chaos was a screaming toddler in a high chair - her older sister was playing with - whoever - I don't think the mother even noticed who her daughter was playing with because she was busy tapping away at her phone screen. Noticing the toddlers distress I clapped my hands and tried to distract her......and that's when the mother said,"My child isn't crying - she is expressing herself." in quite a defiant, challenging tone.
I was taken aback more by the tone than the words - I am not it the habit of commenting on any child's behaviour when the parent is present. However, I have heard this expression before - it seems to be the current craze among young parents and quite frankly I don't know which child behaviourist served up this rubbish that they have latched on to as an excuse for not bothering to interact or discipline their kids. It is a crock of shit!
So - I did the world a favour and replied quite pleasantly,"Yes she is expressing herself isn't she, she is telling you that she is confined in a high chair and cant get out to play with the others. She is telling you that she needs your attention. She is asking you to entertain her as she is too small to entertain herself" I looked at her phone as I said the last statement. I felt really good expressing myself!
Recently my sister and hubby had to endure a long haul flight with a screaming toddler who cried every time Peppa the Pig went off - about every 20 minutes. Obviously there wasn't a Peppa the Pig film on offer on the flight. Another lazy parent finding an 'electronic' baby minder easier that using her own energy and skills to entertain her child and inflicting stress on 200 people. No doubt the excuse if challenged would be " My child is expressing himself".
The mom in the playcentre put her phone away and packed up her stuff a few minutes later. The little was lifted out of her chair and clung to her mom as she sauntered out.....and the crying and screaming stopped. Perhaps her mother got the message after all. Having children is a fun loving and joyful and rewarding experience. It is also hard work, challenging and demanding!
Sunday, March 26, 2017
1. There is a seat for everyone on the plane. YES - if you have checked in and are in departures there is a seat for you on the plane. No need to panic and shove and push others out of the way. You have a boarding pass with your name on it and the plane is not going anywhere without you so CALM down.
2. A line will form by your boarding gate - this is called a QUEUE and its traditional to stand in it before you board. A special note to German travelers - please don't pretend you don't know how to queue - I have seen the photos taken in Germany after the war and I know that you know how to queue. Having one of your tour group stand in the queue for you is just not how you do it and just because you speak another language doesn't exempt you from standing in line here in South Africa!
3. This is one for the back packing gap-year generation. Please note that the thing you are carrying on your back that weighs as much as you do, is probably wider than you are. You need to remember this when you when in the QUEUE (refer to above for explanation) and also when you are walking down the aisle of the plane - Keep in out of my face please when you turn around and for your information it hurts and bruises people as you bash past them.
4. That goes for any body part. I like the aisle seat - I am claustrophobic so ceiling room is important to me - I had a belly thrust in my face last week as a passenger put her bag into the overhead compartment and no she wasn't pregnant! on the same flight - where we were packed in like sardines - I had a denim half-clad backside thrust under my nose. I was relieved that he was wearing boxers or it could have been worse!
5. A tip for travelers who want to be sat next to happy, smiling passengers - please please wash under your arms with soap and rinse with clean water and apply deodorant - available at most pharmacies at the airport. Similarly lay off the onion soup or garlic bread before you board. There is nothing worse than being sat next to a smelly person when in a confined space - make an effort please and if you can't make an effort - sit by the window - I will be in an aisle seat.
6. Tea tree oil is a must for me when I travel and I always have a small bottle with me. I apply to my nostrils before I fly and en flight. It acts like a disinfectant for your smelly armpits, hairy belly and other germy things that come into my personal space. Airplanes are really mobile germ tanks but you can minimise things by covering your mouth and washing your hands. Which brings me to those snug toilets - say no more - trust me that's not water that has splashed accidentally on the floor!
7. I like children - I love well behaved ones! In my generation you weren't allowed to fly until you reached the age where you could pilot the plane so Parents - if you must travel with your kids - please keep them quiet. We all know their ears hurt so we are tolerant at take off and landing but REALLY don't inflict your inability to discipline your children on the rest of the passengers or speak to them in that irritating voice that you reserve for public occasions where you say things like, "Oh my baby that is such a lovely tune that you are tapping out the seat back in front of you". I traveled with my four boys on 5 planes to South Africa years ago and it doesn't get tougher than that, I packed a sedative for them just in case they grew restless or couldn't sleep (my doctor suggested that if it didn't work on them to take it myself). It was hard work but we were complimented as we disembarked on how well behaved they were.
8. There is one elbow rest per person so if both your elbows are be supported then you are using MY elbow rest. You may have shared the womb with an attached twin at some point in your gestation but it wasn't me. I am not going to put my arm around you when you lean on me in your sleep nor am I going to share pillows, blankets or my life story with you and I don't want you to share yours!
9. Please don't share your worst flight experience with me either! I don't want to watch. Snakes on a Plane, Sully, 9/11 or any airplane disaster movie. Please don't cry out when there is a little bit of turbulence or start playing with your rosary mid flight! The drinks may be complimentary but is it wise to binge drink with a bunch of strangers?
10. When it comes to disembarking the rules 1 and 2 apply in reverse. We are ALL getting off the plane its not a race and believe me the quicker you get to the luggage carousel the longer your wait will be. Those who leap out of their seat as soon as the plane lands and stand in the aisle with their phone pinging non stop as they bark their instructions to their lift/collector. Surely an intelligent person would have made these arrangements before they boarded.
Traveling is fun but it can be stressful and if you want to see the true values of a person then watch their behaviour when they are stressed. The airlines like to pack them in and need to pack them in to keep costs down. Cheaper flights and no frills options shouldn't mean cheap behaviour and disrespect. All it takes to make the journey more tolerable for everyone is respect, courtesy and a dash of good humour. Of course I am the perfect passenger ;-)