February 25, 2008

On the airplane

Well, it turns out that traveling to State Famous for the Potato takes a very long time. I swear, I was on the airplane for about 600 hours. I am only exaggerating a little. The good thing is that the woman sitting next to me was traveling with a six-month-old baby. Yes, this young mother was trapped, a captive audience who had no choice but to listen while I gave unsolicited advice on everything from breastfeeding to Barbie dolls. I do so love to give advice.

And of course, I got to play with the baby. We spent the time passing him back and forth, dangling toys in front of his face to entertain him, singing to him and talking to him, and holding him across our laps to change his diaper. We did all kinds of silly things to make him happy: he had the cutest smile. Young Mother with Lovely Freckles kept saying, "Oh, I'm so glad I am next to someone who doesn't get weirded out when I breastfeed." That led me to regale her with stories of all the places I've breastfed babies: the bleacher seats in a baseball stadium rank right up there with airplanes as not very convenient for nursing an infant.

Young Mother With Freckles was traveling to visit her parents, who were eager to have a long visit with their grandson. Her husband, the father of the baby, is serving a tour of duty in the Middle East. "He was in the national guard," Young Mother said. "He wasn't supposed to be deployed." He has only seen his baby once.

In the baggage area, Young With Freckles had a happy reunion with her parents, who seemed thrilled to see the baby. I was still waiting for my luggage (fruitlessly, it turned out) when it was time for her to leave. She came over to say, "I'm so glad I got to sit next to you" just as I was saying the same thing to her, and we hugged before parting ways.

19 comments:

Kris said...

Aw. I love that. :)

Artist Friend said...

I once heard about some woman breastfeeding a baby in an English department meeting at some college or university. That wasn't you, was it?

listie said...

What a nice story. That young mother must have been so relieved to have you sitting next to her, instead of some grumpy, disapproving old crab.

jo(e) said...

Listie: It was great for me to sit next to such nice young woman and have a chance to play with a cute baby.

Artist Friend: It's hard to see how a woman quietly feeding her infant at a meeting would be something people would talk about. Yes, when With-a-Why was a baby, I fed him at all kinds of meetings. I brought him to campus often, I brought him to a national conference for writing teachers, and I would bring him to the meetings of the not-for-profit I was president of. He was a colicky baby who cried whenever I wasn't holding him, so he spent his first year mostly in a sling, carried around by me.

Ampersand said...

"Yes, this young mother was trapped, a captive audience who had no choice but to listen while I gave unsolicited advice on everything from breastfeeding to Barbie dolls. I do so love to give advice."

This made me laugh out loud.

I'm glad she got all your advice and friendliness. It can be harsh travelling with a baby.

And you got to hold a baby but not stay up nights with it!

BTW, my word verification for this post is: joevndu.

:)

kathy a. said...

i don't imagine it is all that much easier for breastfeeding mamas now than it was a couple of decades ago. how fortunate for her that she got to sit next to an ally on the endless flight!

Gawdess said...

I loved reading this, it left me feeling that this is one of the things that is right with the world!

Rev Dr Mom said...

I'd say you were both lucky that day!

Honestly, everyone traveling with a baby should be so lucky to sit by you!

Yankee, Transferred said...

I would, at any stage of my parenting, be thrilled to sit next to you on an airplane.

YourFireAnt said...

C'mon. Where's the naked photos??

FA

Sarah Sometimes said...

I just misread FA's comment as "Where's the naked potatoes?"

Thought you'd enjoy that.

jo(e) said...

(laughing)

I saw surprisingly few potatoes on this trip.

I did take a photo of a naked blogger, but I figured I'd write about the rest of my trip first -- you know, the museums I went to and such ....

bridgett said...

Hmm, I breastfed whereever we happened to be. That means I probably breastfed in a department meeting once or twice and definitely at some professional meeting sessions (as they take all day and I surely had to feed my child at some point), but I don't remember it as anything notable.

Long flights are made better by happy babies and pleasant seatmates.

YourFireAnt said...

Museums schmuseums. We want skin!

FA

nimiecat said...

I hope your on the plane next time I fly with my 3 year and 15 month old girls! ;)

Lomagirl said...

You are the best kind of seatmate for a mommy. I've had some good ones, so I know whereof I speak. I've also a real doozy, but only for about 5 minutes till the lady in front of us offered to switch. someday I'm going to write about this on my blog.
Anyway, I'd like to sit near you.

Jenevieve said...

Chiming in to say: When we make the 22 hour trip from Edinburgh to LA this summer, can you come sit next to us?

Lee Shin said...

spot on with this write-up, i like the way you discuss the things. i'm impressed, i must say. i'll probably be back again to read more. thanks for sharing this with us.

Lee Shin
www.trendone.net

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