Ladies and gentlemen, this is your Captain speaking. We’re now at a cruising altitude of 30,000 feet and I’ve turned off the fasten seat belt sign. Feel free to get up, stretch your legs, and move about the cabin. Also, while I have your attention, it seems that there’s a child in seat 9D who is completely incapable of spreading cream cheese onto his bagel by himself and there’s growing concern in that section of the aircraft that he doesn’t have enough “grit.”

Is there a parenting expert on this plane?

Great, the flight attendant is telling me 153 of you are. She also mentioned that his mother didn’t raise her hand. Interesting.

Look, today it’s cream cheese, tomorrow it’s not being able to slather lubricant on an ultrasound wand. It’s just never too early for the general public — specifically white men in positions of power — to step in and tell women that they’re so very wrong. Join me, won’t you?

So quick show of hands, how many of you believe 9D can’t spread his big baby cream cheese due to the fact that his mother doesn’t allow him to free range enough, and by “enough” I mean an acceptable amount according to strangers on the playground, neighbors, and those of us heading to Chicago this afternoon — where the weather is a mild 72 degrees and it’s partly cloudy—none of whom know this family personally?

I’m being told 148. Yes, that’s what I was I afraid of.

Is there a Tiger Mom in the house? Anyone raise their kid in France? Any kids on board who manage their parents’ finances — hold on, I’m being told that the boy in 9D is four years old and this is his first time flying. And now I’m getting a message from the control tower… yup, yup. Got it… They said, and I quote, “Oh boo-hoo, sounds like the excuses of someone who will never be able to hold down a job or find happiness in the arms of a life partner,” but, hey, by all means, 9D’s mom, keep spreading his cream cheese for him. Jesus.

I mean, who am I? Just some ‘guy’ who holds all your lives in his extremely independent, staying dry at night, spreadin’-cream-cheese-all-by-himself hands.

Look, no one has time for this, 9D. It’s time you put your big boy pants on and change the oil on your mom’s car when you get home. WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU DON’T KNOW HOW. That’s it. I just can’t with this.


The co-captain. Of course, apologies… Please take over, Todd.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking from in front of you right now, in the middle of the aisle. The flight attendants will be starting beverage service soon and I suggest you order a double because we’ve got some meddling and undermining to do.

Look, how can we get 9D to step it up over here? Feel free to just shout out your craziest most judgmental thoughts.

“Tell the boy’s mother everything she’s doing wrong but also get something in there about cherishing every moment, it goes by so fast, etc. etc. etc.” YES, perfect.

“Look on disapprovingly, no matter what’s happening.” Timeless!

“Diagnose the child even though I work in a bank. Perhaps suggest 9D is autistic?” Creative and on trend, I really like where you’re going with this.

“Just sigh a lot and act exasperated, as though I myself was never a small child who had to learn self control and life skills. And then pivot to add a dig in there like ‘I suppose you’re one of those working mothers who puts career before family?’ Something like that.” Interesting, interesting. Food for thought.

Another quick show of hands, will this child eventually be able to spread cream cheese on his own simply by maturing and learning skills at his own pace?

Two. What are you even thinking 23A? And Mom to 9D, please stay out of this.

Or will he only truly be able to get a grip if his mother quits her job, decides to actually raise her own child for a change, and commits to being at home which is the God-given natural habitat for those of you with vaginas “who’ve been through the ringer”?

152. Yes, thank you. THANK YOU.

Lastly, are we helping or hurting?

One vote for hurting, one hundred fifty two for helping. Hold up, the one vote for hurting is from the boy’s mother. Ma’am, I said stay out of this.

Look, if there’s one thing I think we can all agree on, it’s that all of us are right. No one knows what’s better for a child than someone who has precious little information about that child or his circumstances. Bonus points if it’s been at least three decades since you’ve parented a young child yourself.

Who’s with me on this?

First class, I CAN’T HEAR YOU!

Very last row in front of the bathrooms, HOLLA!

Oopsie daisy, apparently that made 9D cry. Well, looks like it’s time for a little refresher course in ‘crying it out’ — everyone in coach LET ME HEAR YOU SCREAM!