Fellow airline travelers, I know that you hate my baby. There’s no reason to sugarcoat it. You despise this helpless, defenseless infant. I see the dirty looks you’re shooting at my precious baby boy and me, and the elation on your faces when you realized we weren’t sitting in your section. Don’t feel guilty. I would feel the same way if he wasn’t my own flesh and blood. I am mortified by the noise that he’s going to make, probably for the whole flight, but you already know that by my profuse apologies. What you don’t know is that your feelings for my son are mutual; this nine-month-old baby also thinks you’re the fucking worst.
Babies usually cry on planes because the pressure changes hurt their eardrums or the noise is overwhelming. That’s not the case here. His wails are as malicious as they are annoying. Every cry, every putrid bowel movement, is a conscious action to make your trip less enjoyable. He even took his pacifier, the one thing that can muffle his sadistic cries, and, in a massive leap of motor-skill function, dropped it in between the seats so that I could not reach it.
It’s strange; he usually is a very light sleeper, but all through check-in, security, and our pre-flight meal, he slept like a log, almost as if he wanted to be well-rested for the nightmare he was about to bring upon this vessel.
I’ve tried to keep him quiet, but his love for me is not as deep as his hatred of humankind, particularly the part of it sitting in rows 12 through 15 on flight DL 5034. I brought his security blanket, but the thing that seems to bring him the most comfort is breaking the spirits of his fellow aircraft passengers. Against all parenting advice, I even let him play with an iPad, but he lost interest when he realized that “Baby Shark” would be played only through headphones and not at full volume for the whole plane to hear.
You can complain to the flight attendants and me all you want; it only makes him more determined. He knows that it is working. When he stopped crying for five minutes, it wasn’t because I had managed to placate him. That silence was his cruelest act yet. He only did that so you would know what a pleasant flight would feel like, and how it would then be even more painful when he started screaming again.
I don’t know why he despises you. My best guess is the hate just blossomed in his tiny hummingbird heart. Maybe you did something wrong in a past life and this is karmic justice? I don’t like to speculate on matters abstract and philosophical, especially when I am trying to stop him from crawling out of my lap and pushing the drink cart onto you.
I am giving up now. I am old and tired, while my baby boy still has a burning passion not yet dulled by age. I am sorry, but you and I will never meet again, while this small tyrant will control my life for years to come. Take comfort in the fact that when you disembark, your time with him will end, while mine is only just beginning.