Today’s never-ending “new normal” is especially hard on young kids, many of whom don’t even remember what the “old normal” was like, and who are growing and developing in world surrounded by chaos and grumpy people who have to follow mandates that seem to change by the day.
If we grown-ups are having a hard time of things, you can bet our little ones are only one mask away from meltdown mode.
And it appears that the powers-that-be have no patience for small children who are told to go against their instincts and strong wills to wear their masks on planes. One poor mom found this out the hard way.
Being a mom in the middle of a pandemic is not for the faint of heart.
And I know because I have four daughters. I stress daughters, because raising girls of any age is enough to kill the strongest woman.
After more than twenty years of parenting, I was surprised by the good Lord (who also has a sense of humor, it seems) with another beautiful baby girl – more intense and strong-willed than all the others combined.
And at this point in my life, I’m considered a little old for this. So here I am, more than middle-aged, with a four-year-old who talks non-stop, gets into everything, and will someday reign on the debate stage.
Kids will be kids – no truer words were ever spoken. They’re born with a survival instinct that makes them resilient, but also very difficult to deal with at times (um, really at all times).
So imagine (if you don’t have young children) how difficult this pandemic must be for them. Their instinct is to stick everything in their mouths and lick every surface they encounter.
This is particularly frowned upon these days.
They snack constantly, as if they’re training to be sumo wrestlers – and if there are no Cheerios or Goldfish in sight, someone (probably Mom) is going to get it.
They are social creatures and immediately run toward any living thing they see, making social distancing nearly impossible. If they do not make contact, they erupt like Vesuvius – instantly vaporizing every person who tells them “no.”
They rub their eyes and stick their fingers in their nose and mouth (and other places I won’t bring up) and like to cough and sneeze right in your face.
Let’s just say that children are incapable of following CDC guidelines – or any other government mandate out there right now. To do so goes against every fiber of their little beings.
But those who make the rules must not be parents, and if they are, I feel sorry for their kids — because there are apparently no exceptions for kids just being kids these days.
One unfortunate mom found this out in the worst possible way on a recent Southwest Airlines flight.
I can easily put myself in her shoes, but I guess no one else at the airline was able to sympathize because it was about to get absurd.
A brief history of The Mask on Airlines…
While you weren’t paying attention (at least the government hopes you weren’t), we’ve been put under increasingly draconian rules for a country that’s supposed to represent freedom and liberty.
If you’ve been back in the skies since this pandemic started, you may have noticed that restrictions are getting worse and worse – to the point of absurdity.
In late spring, most airlines “required” face coverings on flights, but you were allowed to take off your mask to eat and drink. Stay thirsty, my friends.But you weren’t likely to get booted off the plane if you took it off mid-flight.
Then as the summer sun was upon us, they started cracking down. “Required” now meant reallyyy required – unless you had a health issue that prevented you from being able to wear a mask, which you had to prove.
Everyone started being thrown off planes for not complying with the Order of the Mask. https://proudamericantraveler.com/dont-make-me-turn-this-plane-around-airlines-are-taking-mask-mandates-to-the-extreme/
It’s been ludicrous, to say the least.
And now, as we enter the fall – and as the talking-heads warn us all of our impending deaths due to the double-whammy of COVID and the flu – things are getting more and more crazy, ridiculous, and downright absurd.
Now, you cannot board at all without a mask. You cannot remove your mask for any reason. That includes eating and drinking those stale little snacks (not you, Biscoff cookies!) and flat sodas they give you – so why do they bother?
You can discreetly stick your pretzel under your mask and chew with your mask on. Same with that drink. Stick the straw under there, and don’t you dare accidentally expose your mouth.
Or there will be consequences.
So, going back to kids – who as much as I adore them and couldn’t live without them – and who don’t listen worth a darn and do everything you tell them not to do – this whole “mask reign of terror” is not something they’re going to abide by.
They don’t care if it’s the rule. They don’t care if they make you uncomfortable. They definitely don’t care if they sneeze on whoever is seated next to them.
And they want their Cheerios and Goldfish (two of the four Kid Food Groups, rounded out by chicken nuggets and mac-n-cheese) when they want them.
Do you really think a small child is going to leave a mask on for an entire flight? Do you think they will discreetly and carefully put one Cheerio at a time in their mouths without removing that mask?
Have you seen The Exorcist?
It’s one thing to force grown adults to have to stick to all of these new rules – which change every day and probably do little to help anything – but to add all this to a kid’s plate when they’re already trying to learn how to be decent human beings…
…It’s nuts, pure and simple.
And what’s more nuts is expecting some poor parent to be able to actually force their child to keep a mask on for a whole flight… while eating… or worse, while trying to use a sippy cup. Not gonna happen.
Here’s where the “good” parents of the world will say their kid would do exactly as they say because they explained the situation ahead of time, cautioning their child of the dangers and consequences of removing their mask on board.
Good for you. Here’s the deal – I’m in the parent majority. We have little control over our young children. If they happen to be good when we really need them to be, it is only by the Grace of God and all the prayers we lifted up to just get through the flight.
Jodi Degyansky is one of us – a mom who probably said a few prayers before boarding her Southwest Airlines flight with her two-year-old son.
He was dutifully wearing his mask (probably, like me, she prayed and begged and added a little bribe if he would) when boarding, but then really wanted those Cheerios before takeoff.
Surprise, surprise, he followed his two-year-old instinct and removed his mask to snack. Mouth covered… need mouth to eat… must uncover mouth. It makes total sense.
Degyansky and her precious little boy were returning from visiting family in Florida, but she wasn’t going to make it home that easily.
Despite the fact that flight attendants were much more understanding on their flight out, for their return trip, Degyansky was in for a shock.
When the flight attendants noticed her son was removing his mask to snack, Degyansky was told several times that he had to keep his mask on at all times.
He was over two-years-old by just two weeks, so he was Required with a capital R to wear his mask – no exceptions. Apparently, there’s no toddler grace period while they figure out they’re supposed to suddenly be more responsible and independent.
When he removed his mask again, despite having already left the gate, by golly, they turned that plane around.
Degyansky discussed the situation for about 15 minutes with airline staff, assuring them that he was wearing his mask, that she was on top of it, that HE WAS TWO!! – but they didn’t care. Not one bit.
Are you kidding me?!
This poor mom and her little one were escorted off the plane like a couple of terrorists simply because a two-year-old is difficult to fly with and, therefore, we ply them with snacks. It doesn’t work any other way. This is how it has been done since parents first dared to board planes with toddlers.
Humiliated, Degyansky was escorted to another flexible and fun-loving airline employee (it’s called sarcasm, people) who said she could take a later flight with layovers (so much fun with a two-year-old), or wait a couple days for another direct flight.
She ended up flying on another airline to the tune of 600 bucks just so she could get home.
If I were this mom, I’d probably be in jail for assault or inciting violence because this story makes my blood boil.
No matter what side of the “mask debate” you’re on, no one in their right mind can possibly think it’s acceptable to throw tired parents and children off of flights because an innocent toddler can’t understand why he’s being forced to keep his face covered.
Us adults can make our own decisions, but kids don’t have that luxury.
If we have to go somewhere, they have to go somewhere. And they also aren’t socially or emotionally mature enough to understand everything (or anything, for that matter) about all the craziness going on these days.
This little boy will be fine. He’s very young, and he probably doesn’t realize what a big to-do was made out of something so insignificant to him.
His mom, on the other hand… well, my heart breaks for her.
I was once not-so-politely told I had to leave my local library because my then-infant was hungry and crying and her big sister was screaming because I wouldn’t let her check out literally every single book ever written about butterflies.
I was embarrassed. I felt defeated. And I was angry as heck that a place that is supposed to welcome children made me feel like a terrible parent.
To this day, I say a little curse word as I drive past that library. I never went back, instead choosing to drive across town where I had anonymity and a clean slate.
I’m fairly certain Jodi Degyansky will never fly Southwest Airlines again. I wouldn’t had this incident happened to me.
And as a fellow compatriot in the Club of Mom, I don’t know that I would take my active, talkative, amazing preschooler on a Southwest flight ever for the simple fact that I detest what happened to Degyansky.
It’s all just gotten too absurd.
And we moms stick together. Kind of like wet Cheerios.