From Tuesday, July 29th’s Academica Top Ten, a daily publication of information and trends in post-secondary education:
We loved our baby backpack. Once our son was hardy enough to sit upright in it, we took it everywhere with us. He was happy with his bird’s eye perch, we were happy to have him safely contained, and everyone was happy with the extra paid of hands the backpack afforded, especially when travelling. Especially when travelling with the gear that comes with bringing your young child with you.
There was one detriment, though, that no one could have foreseen. My son had easy access to his father when he wished to express the myriad of angst-related emotions experienced by toddlers on a regular basis.
More specifically, he chose to pull his father’s hair when he was overtired, irritated, or otherwise ‘over’ whatever kind of situation he found himself in.
After one overnight flight to London, we landed in Heathrow. Everyone was tired and feeling just a little cranky, especially when we saw the throngs of fellow travelers chock-a-block in the customs lineup ahead of us. With an inward sigh, we joined the queue.
Our son decided that he had had enough.
From his spot in the backpack, he started to fuss. His fussing turned into louder protests. And then, out of frustration, he started to pull his dad’s hair to express his annoyance at being kept in this backpack, after being contained on an airplane for many hours, when all he wanted was to sleep. Or to run around. Or both. Maybe.
Mortified, we tried to quiet him. We couldn’t let him down into the lineup, packed like sardines as we were as we inched towards the front of the line.
And then, the unthinkable happened.
We got bumped. To the front of the line.
A customs officer approached us. He said “sir, I fear that you will end up bald if we do not get you through this line.” He ushered us to the front, to our great relief (and the relief of our fellow
captives passengers, to be sure).
Two minutes later, we were through customs and into the baggage area, where our son could run around a bit, finally unencumbered by the seemingly endless patience required for international travel.
We were a little sad when our son was finally too big to travel in the backpack. It was one of the best investments in gear we made as parents.
Standing in the spot of the protests that happened 25 years ago, was a powerful experience when we visited China this past summer.
Our story here on the CBC NL website shares our thoughts on power and paranoia in both ancient and modern-day China.