Laura on Life... Bladders know no rules

Traveling as a parent is a whole different experience than traveling as a business person. I've never overheard a businessman say to a traveling companion, " No you can't pee now, we're taking off!"...

Traveling as a parent is a whole different experience than traveling as a business person. I've never overheard a businessman say to a traveling companion, " No you can't pee now, we're taking off!"

Surely a business person never felt the need to ask a flight attendant if they had any peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Flight attendants don't generally seem very sympathetic towards a parent flying with children either.

Amazingly, my children were so well-behaved on a recent four-hour flight that the woman behind me was moved to congratulate me on their good behavior (as if I had anything to do with it). They all had slight colds so before the flight I had given them all an antihistamine hoping to clear their sinuses and spare them a major earache at the higher altitudes. Consequently, I believe that antihistamine had more to do with their "good behavior" than anything else. Regardless of the reasons, however, they were pretty low-key that day.

So, really, there was no reason for the flight attendant to torture me with her rules. It's not my fault that my children's bladders seemed to want to answer the call of nature every time the seatbelt sign came on.


I asked her why, if we weren't landing for a half hour yet, my child could not go quickly into the closet they call a restroom, get the job done, and get back to his seat? I mean, you can go into the restroom on a Greyhound bus anytime, even in stop and go traffic. Did they think that if we hit some kind of turbulence, my child would be forced through the hole in the bottom of the toilet and sucked into their holding tank?

Hey, it must've happened at least once before or they wouldn't have rules like that. They obviously didn't know children very well, though. If riding on the handlebars of a bike and climbing down the outside of a tube slide have not killed him, I think he can safely negotiate a simple walk down an aisle cushioned by the shoulders of other passengers. In fact, he could probably do it if he was blindfolded.

I told the flight attendant, "Okay, but when he can't hold it any longer, you're cleaning up the accident. She eyed him, trying to gage just how urgent the situation was. Apparently, she decided that despite his wide-eyed, anxious look, that he could hold it.

She was wrong, but I felt no sympathy for her whatsoever. She had been forewarned. If I have to peel a wet pair of pants and underwear off his body and make him go commando in his pajama bottoms for lack of anything else to wear, the flight attendant is going to have her share of misery as well.

The airports themselves are not very child-friendly. They should have things like tricycles, a jungle-gym, and free video games. A simple TV playing Jimmy Neutron should be standard equipment in every terminal; on both sides of the security check.

We were told to be at the terminal two hours early. Before the security check, we found a video arcade, and a food court with the fast food items all children adore. If you have enough quarters or your child is hungry, which is almost always, these two things are enough to amuse them for a while.

However, after the security check, there was a Starbucks coffee. That's great for a business person riding the "red-eye", but for children and harassed mothers, it was... less than helpful.

So my children occupied themselves by watching for our plane. That lasted all of five minutes. I tried to get them to play with the amusements we'd brought with us. But since it was not brand new, it was not amusing anymore.


Then they took turns running to the only source of entertainment available...the water fountain. This was, undoubtedly, the reason they had to go to the bathroom so much on the plane.

A simple TV turned to some colorful cartoon would have saved that snooty flight attendant, who obviously never had kids of her own, from having to clean and sanitize a certain little boy's seat. But I certainly won't apologize for his lack of restraint. Little boy bladders know no rules.

You can reach Laura at Or visit her website for more columns and info about her new book.

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