Um, I guess this conversation I had with the lady across the aisle 16 minutes from landing in Rome sums it up:
Next flight, you need to bring a pacifier. Have you ever tried a pacifier? I mean, I notice that you breastfeed–which I think is great by the way–but sometimes it helps to have a pacifier. You know, something to shove in it’s mouth. Because it has been screaming. All. Flight. Long. That’s nine hours. It clearly needs something, and you’re not providing it. Have you even thought about the other people on this flight? The first couple days of vacation are going to be ruined for most of the flight. They will most certainly be ruined for me. I haven’t slept. And I have the worst headache. I just can’t imagine anything more rude. You’re just the rudest woman I’ve ever met.
I kept my face unaffected and my gaze constant on her, while Ari continued to squirm exhaustingly in my arms, latching and unlatching to suckle every few seconds, fat tears rolling down her cheeks. After a few seconds, I responded, “You know, I think I understand. Sometimes when I have a headache, I say really inconsiderate things as well.”
Not the most witty comeback, but I was sleep-deprived too. And it at least shut her up.
To be fair, though, we felt horrible for the disturbance we caused. We did give her some benadryl, but it only made her more exhausted and miserable without bridging her over to sleep. (For the record, benadryl can cause paradoxical excitation in some children, for unknown reasons. We had tested it out on her beforehand; it does make her drowsy and, normally, helps her fall asleep.) We carried on special snacks and a few toys. I just think she was being 10.5 months old. She’s a different girl than she was when we went to Israel. Poor thing wanted to crawl around and stretch out, and I’m not surprised I couldn’t figure out the magic formula for getting her to fall asleep in my arms–if nursing doesn’t cut it, nothing will.
And 99.9% of the people on the flight (and on all our flights) have been lovely to us. A woman an aisle ahead of us offered to hold Ari for a while, for example. We were bound to run into an overwhelmed, exhausted individual who had reached her limit.
Oh! And one other wrench: there was a medical emergency on a plane, and John was called away for close to three hours. The good news: 1) The woman turned out stable and, for the most part, okay. 2) Everyone LOVED John (I mean, how could you not?), and flight attendants would come up to me periodically, “Your husband is amazing!” 3) As a result, no one bothered me about bouncing my daughter in the aisle. 4) Since another doctor was being less than helpful/downright disruptive, the U.S. marshals on the flight made an appearance–cool, hunh? And the not-so-great: 1) I lost my other set of hands for three hours, and I think Ari was pissed in part because she was bored of just me. 2) Kind of a stressful flight for the hubs.
In summary, Ari has survived ten flights in her first year of life, six of which were international. We are going to hold off booking major travel for the foreseeable future, although with our family scattered and the holidays coming up, I have a feeling we might leave the security of ground sooner than we might like.
Made the rest of the vacation a breeze. A happy babe is…something pretty great (isn’t there a happy-wife-is-a-happy-life correlate?)