Crying Babies

   24 October 2011, terribly early in the morning

Parents who can’t control their crying babies should be made to pay reparations to all those sitting around them. How inconsiderate of them.
— Shima’s friend and planning all-star, @jasontsang

I’m sure in a previous life I have complained about a crying baby on a plane or a train. “Why won’t their parents do anything?” Now I have a baby. Here’s the thing: if it was so easy to get a baby to stop crying don’t you think the parent would get their baby to stop crying. Do you think parents want to listen to their baby cry? Trust me when I say it’s no less annoying if it’s your own baby who won’t be quiet.

How are you going to reason with someone that craps their pants in public and doesn’t respond to their name? It’s a challenge. There are certainly lots of things you can try and do to console a baby, but the only sure fire way to get a baby to stop crying is probably something along the lines of diazepam. If you think you can rock a baby to sleep, or that some warm milk will get them to shut up, you are in for a rude awakening if you ever have a baby of your own. Mytilli will cry because she is tired, while laying down in bed. Mythilli will cry because she is hungry, while inches away from Shima’s breast. How does that even make any sense?

Shima and I have more or less fled restaurants when Mythilli has started to get cranky because no one wants to eat with a baby wailing in the background. That’s the considerate thing to do. If we were stuck on a plane? Well, that’d be a long flight.



  1. I think it depends on how old / aware the baby / child is.

    Mythilli isn’t an obnoxious crier, and, where possible, you and Shimi do try to seclude yourselves when she is upset, not just for the consideration of others, but probably for Mythilli’s benefit too.

    I find it annoying when parents only care about the physical manifestation (i.e. the crying) rather than why the baby is upset in the first place. I think that just as bad as when parent’s ignore the crying entirely.

  2. Shawn is biased given that Mythilli likes him.

    I think it depends on whether I like the crying baby. As a rule, crying babies are annoying. The exemptions to the rule are Mythilli and my bratty twin nephews.

    I’d also like to see a parent who can control a baby’s crying without contravening modern child protection laws. Though I had been subject to all kinds of smackdown by my mother, it is unlikely that parents can now get away with disciplining their children applying the effective kind of corporal punishment that were once acceptable.

    Next time someone gives you a hard time for your crying babies, you can blame the lawmakers for (literally) tying your hands.

  3. I used to find crying babies annoying, but now I don’t mind that much. I’ve been on multiple trans-oceanic flights literally sitting next to crying babies. You just get used to it. Kids can’t really help being they way they are until they get to a certain age.

    Adults who don’t know how to act in public are far more annoying and deserve corporal punishment.

  4. Yes crying babies are annoying.

    My niece cannot sit still too long at a restaurant. She will persist to be released from her booster chair by making recurring high-pitched screams until she gets her way.

    She always gets her way, either by being released or by feeding her her ‘distraction food’.

    You’re right Ram, on a plane one doesn’t have the liberty to escape.

    I was on a plane one time when a toddler was wailing away for most of a rather turbulent flight. Yes, it was a bit irritating to hear the child, but what was more annoying was the flamboyant dude who had to show his disgruntlement by complaining to his neighbours about it and by literally making children’s crying noises. The dude actually got positive attention, too. WTF?

    As if complaining about it aloud is going to make the situation better.

    Talk about assholes.

  5. well, before y’all completely villify me… i’ll just add some context that I couldn’t in my original tweet due to space.

    The baby wasn’t exactly a baby. Was closer to 5-6 years old in age.

    The ‘kid’ was also kicking/punching the chair in front of him. I’m not sure why the parent/guardian unbuckled him from his seat so that he could proceed to do that. My seatmate got the most of it.

    The worse part was, this parent/guardian did nothing to try to calm the kid down. The parent/guardian just put on their eye cover and ear plugs and went to sleep.

    It was the parent/guardian doing absolutely nothing that annoyed me most.

    The kid was old enough to have some control, especially from the parent/guardian. This certainly wasn’t a case of a baby would would cry involuntarily.

    So yeah, that’s that!

  6. That’s not a baby at all.

    Yeah, I hate whiney children whose parents didn’t beat them enough when they were growing up. They are called the terrible twos because you should feel terrible when you beat your baby.

  7. While the sound of a wailing baby in itself can make the nerves twitch, I can’t be annoyed by the actual baby. They’re babies, they cry, it’s their best form of communication. We were all there once. I also understand that the parents are likely more stressed/annoyed/upset/embarrassed than I am, so I often let it go, especially if the parents are considerate enough to move to another room when possible. Of course, on a plane it’s not possible. In this case I try to accept that babies have the same rights to travel, and their little ears are probably in more pain than mine.

    However, as mentioned above, toddlers are a completely different story – but I always blame the parents. While I know they can’t be reasoned with, they are still old enough to understand not to do something when told – you just have to tell them.

    If I were 5 and kicking someone’s seat on an airplane, I would have gotten a whole can of whoop-ass…

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