Parental advantage


There are many things you can only do if you have a baby, just as there are many things you can’t do if you have a baby. I can no longer successfully sleep off a hangover, or watch violent action films without worrying that I may be adversely affecting the development of my daughter’s psyche. Well, the action films might have some impact. Having a hungover father is unlikely to cause Felicity too many problems later in life: she’s just so happy to see me when I’m half dead from alcohol poisoning.

One great advantage of small children is that you, not them, get to choose what clothes they wear. This presents only a short window of opportunity, but we’re milking it for all it’s worth. Today, because we were going somewhere cold, Felicity got dressed up in this drab green coat that makes her look like the youngest cadre in a unit of the Red Guards. The effect was either spoiled or heightened by her being dressed in her apple onesie, but you can’t see that in this photograph, which means it’s neither here nor there.

The cold place we were going to was Colorado. At SFO airport, approaching the long and slow moving line for security, we were motioned to a separate line by a TSA employee: in US airports, having a baby strapped to you allows you to skip queues with alacrity. Felicity wasn’t even paying for a ticket on this flight and still we received preferential treatment.

Then again, when we got to the security screening itself, she showed up as suspicious for some reason and had to go off with the security staff to a separate checkpoint, but if constant vigilance is the price we pay to prevent babies hijacking planes, then I’m all for it.

SFO wasn’t busy today although our plane was completely packed: clearly some people really wanted to be in Denver for Thanksgiving. Or they have really good Black Friday deals in the malls here. Boarding for our plane began fifteen minutes ahead of schedule, which we didn’t discover until I was encumbered with a 12 ounce cup of coffee and a bag of pastries, on top of our incredibly heavy hand luggage. At least I didn’t spill anything on our child, or my wife, or the other passengers, or myself.

United’s seats are slightly more cramped on a cross country flight than a budget carrier in Asia (like AirAsia, which is the one I’m most used to) but surprisingly there were free drinks on board, and the staff were actually incredibly friendly. That may have been the holiday spirit, or holding a baby to distract them from the ennui of an early morning flight, or everyone may have just gone mental today from lack of sleep. Not just us.

So, a pleasant flight, made easier by our progeny. At the other end we had to get a child seat from the car rental office, and they displayed a stupefying lack of knowledge about child seats. This may be from a fear of litigation, or because they need to do their jobs better. Let’s try to be positive. We had an uneventful drive to Boulder, where we’re staying at our friend’s parents’ house, along with a large white dog that wants to lick our child’s face.

Which is an advantage for somebody or other, I guess.

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3 responses to “Parental advantage”

    • Dogs! Excepting the rare and unhappy occasions when a dog licks baby’s face as a precursor to biting if off, baby face-licking is a dog’s way of bonding and also gleaning free food. Our dog put on 12 pounds while our son was being weaned, and the two became inseparable. Oh, and our son caught impetigo. Congratulations on your Felicity! (And happy Thanksgiving)XX

      • Clearly I haven’t shaken off my jet lag yet; on a first read-through, I interpreted you as talking about breast feeding your dog. Should I be drinking more coffee, or less?

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