Method for quieting child on plane: Works better without the vomit

Too bad Pamela Root, the latest woman to be kicked off a plane with her child because of her child’s behavior, didn’t have Lisa Belkin’s method of calming down a screaming toddler. Not the whole method though, just part of it. The whole version is gross. And yes, it is funny–very funny. But it is gross, very gross as well. It’s also a cautionary tale of sorts regarding those handy barf bags tucked into an airplane’s seat back pockets.

Belkin, who writes for the Motherlode blog in the New York Times, recounts her own trapped-on-a plane-with-an-unruly toddler story. In Belkin’s case, it was her own toddler who would not be consoled. Well aware of the looks of horror and sympathy being directed her way by the other passengers, and the not so friendly skies look of the flight attendant who was closest to her, Belkin feared being jettisoned off the plane.

In a flash of brilliance, Belkin pulled the barf bag out of a seat pocket, drew a face on it, slipped her hand inside and turned her hand into a puppet show. Her child stopped crying immediately, pleased as punch.

Belkin, figuring that if one puppet was a hit, two might be Oscar winning material, thrust her other hand into another barf bag. Unfortunately, someone already had found a use for the barf bag– the use for which it was meant.

Yep. There was Belkin, her hand in a barf bag covered with vomit, and her puppet show at a screeching halt. Fortunately, her husband, who had not been very useful up to that point, was there to help out while Belkin bounded for the restroom lickety split for a sanitation session in the lavatory before the plane took off.

After reading Belkin’s story, I’m thankful that when I used a barf bag this summer to hold my son’s Lego airplane pieces from the toy I bought at the Detroit airport, I didn’t have a mess to clean up. Vomit on Legos? Gaad.

I bought the toy as a way to keep him occupied on our way to Venice via Amsterdam. Fortunately, he’s at the age where the in-flight movies do the trick just fine.