I Use My Baby to Get VIP Treatment & I'm Not Sorry

One evening I spent three hours with a squirmy 2-year-old on a plane waiting to take off… only we didn't. The flight ended up cancelled, so I towed my daughter home, then spent three hours on hold before I managed to re-book my flight. The next day, I packed us all up once again and headed to the airport. Only as I checked in, the airline attendant droned, "Your flight's been cancelled. And there are no more flights to your destination today."

Had I been traveling alone, my only option at that point would have been to walk off in a huff. Only I wasn't alone. I had a 2-year-old, which is equivalent to carrying a nuclear warhead. So I stood my ground, plunked my daughter's diapered butt on the counter, and I played the baby card.

"But my BABY is flying to see her GRANDPARENTS!" I wailed, then started sobbing with gusto. Then, as if on cue, my daughter started crying too. Sure, there were some real tears of frustration in there, but mixed in that cocktail was a strong dose of Machiavellian maneuvering which gave me a hunch that a hysterical mother clutching a hysterical baby might cause this impassive airline attendant to crack.

I was right. Rattled, the airline attendant said, "Wait here," scurried off for 5 minutes, then reappeared. "It turns out we've found a seat for you on a flight leaving later today!" she chirped.

Battle won, my tears stopped immediately. I smiled. Thank you, airline attendant! And thank YOU, baby!

More from The Stir: Parents Deserve Special Treatment on Airlines (& Other Places, Too!)

You know how on sinking ships, captains always say, "Women and children first?" In addition to life rafts, babies are your ticket onto overbooked planes and far more, if this ace up your sleeve is played right. It got me priority boarding onto that plane, to start. People also give up their subway and bus seats for me and my child. And if there's a long line to use the bathroom, my dancing toddler is carte blanche to cut to the front.

I know this "entitled parent" attitude rubs people the wrong way, but I would actually say that I don't feel "entitled" to plane seats, bus seats, toilet seats, or any of the perks I've enjoyed with a kid. I agree, wholeheartedly, that the baby card hits below the belt. But I use it anyway.

If I have any defense, it's this: moms face so many disadvantages -- in terms of work, wages, even in our struggle to carve out time to take a spin class -- that I feel it's okay to sometimes fight dirty to make up the difference.

And besides, moms are supposed to look out for their kids, sometimes to a fault. So while I do make my kid wait her turn for the baby swings or a seat at Chuck E. Cheese, I might not be so "fair" with more pivotal opportunities. For instance, I've seen plenty of parents pull strings to get their kids into private school. Is that fair? Hardly, so let's just admit that pretty much everyone pulls strings when they can. It's a war zone out there, and babies are great ammo.

For the record, if I were on a sinking ship and there weren't enough life rafts, I'd be the first to bellow, "Women and children first!" and make sure my daughter made it out alive. If that's the baby card, then sign me up for a lifetime membership.

Where have you played the baby card? Would you do it again?


Image © Marc Romanelli/Blend Images/Corbis

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NatAndCo NatAndCo

Every article you write makes me that much more certain that I would hate you in person.

Lisa Del Fante

The me me me mentality gets old fast

nonmember avatar Jocelyn

I have to roll my eyes at this article. I can't stand it when people use tears to get out of something. If I were the flight attendant I would have been so unbelievably irritated if the tears stopped immediately.

nonmember avatar Jocelyn

This part also reminds me of that article where you tried to justify your daughter being cruel to animals: "Moms are supposed to look out for their kids."

the4m... the4mutts

It's that spoiled attitude that led to your child tormenting animals. If you don't change NOW, your daughter will end up as a sociopath killer. Or at least a drugged up pregnant teen in jail.

You may love your child, but you aren't raising her to be a good person, and that makes you a bad mother.

Happy... Happydad73

You are a sorry human being. I would love to be there and see the look on your face when your child terrorizes you in public with a 'if I don't get what I want I will scream bloody murder and squirm on the floor till you give in'. And it will be daily. Till she leaves for college. You showed her how to do it.

amazz... amazzonia

you were lucky! fluing with my 18 month old in my lap and my 3 year old, flying alone overseas) before getting on the plane they put my 3 y old in stand by and once on the plane they put me in a seat and my 3 year on another side of the plane, and when I asked help they told me " we can;t do anything, they should've changed the ticket, after the ground attendant had told me that they would help me on the plane....

nonmember avatar LE

So, here's the thing. I read the "My kid abuses animals, but that's cool, right ?" post without commenting. And the "My kid has no manners, but here are the ones she should have if I bothered to teach her them" one without commenting. And the "In theory this is how to raise a kind child, but I don't" one without commenting. And this was all in a week or so. After this one, I honestly cannot refrain. Please, stop. I don't know if this is click bait, or you're that myopic, but you owe your child more than self-deceptive posts about how you're going a great job.

Sarah... SarahHall58

If you would have cried in front of me you would have heard "sorry. No seats". Manipulator. Horrible. I work in a psychiatric facility and a jail. These are things people in those two places do to get what they want. Grow up.

Books... BooksandWine

You sound like the type of parent all the other ones avoid. Your entitled attitude combined with your pathetically terrible parenting is going to lead your child (who apparently is already an animal abuser) to be sincerely disliked by those around you- and even if she doesn't turn out awful I cannot imagine any parent wanting to be around YOU.

Please get some counseling for your whole family.

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