Reflections on the perilous task of traveling with children

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As every parent knows, traveling with children has its delights and its obstacles. But as The Copy Collective contributor Ursula Dwyer discovers, it can be your fellow travelers – not your children – who make or break the experience.

Shrieking children on a long-haul flight seldom engender generosity of spirit in fellow travelers.

So with understandable resignation I dragged aboard my overtired two-year-old, who was screaming blue murder for no discernible reason, and prepared to endure the usual serving of surly glances and unconcealed displeasure.

But this time my neighbour was a truly gorgeous creature.

She nudged my near-hysterical daughter conspiratorially, pointed to a mouth-watering cake in her magazine, and with great deliberation pretended to extract it from the page and cram it greedily into her mouth.

My daughter froze mid-tantrum, fascinated, as she proceeded to chew enthusiastically, swallow convincingly, and smack her lips contentedly.

Blessed silence!

Casually, she continued flicking through her magazine, gasping loudly when she spied an enormous platter of tropical fruit. She grinned excitedly at my spellbound (still silent!) daughter and pretend-shoveled every last morsel into her mouth, slurping and gulping delightedly.

A giggle! From my daughter! Her little arm tentatively emerged to secure a handful of imaginary grapes and shyly pretend to eat them.

The game continued until, sated with make-believe food and very real fun, my daughter finally slept.

I mouthed a heartfelt “thank you” and pondered the rarity of such simple kindness.

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