In preparation for our flight, my wonderful friend Jodi brought me a few toddler books on airports and travel. Since I’ve already explained how helpful preparing Kate for anything new is, suffice to say that I jumped at the chance to read these books to Kate, giving her an idea of what to expect at the airport and on the plane.
One of the books did an outstanding job of covering the entire experience, from arrival at the ticket counter to take-off. As I was reading the book, I got to the part where it covered the security check and the metal detector. I hadn’t thought to talk to Kate about that, but it made sense. Considering my security-check record, we’d likely be chosen for “additional security checks” anyway, so I might as well prepare her for the magic metal wand and humiliation of emptying our belongings out for the world to see. Who put THAT in there? No, that certainly isn’t MINE. It must be because I didn’t keep my bags in my possession since I arrived at the airport.
Yes, back to the book. As the book carefully described the security checkpoint, it said, “…to make sure no one is bringing anything dangerous onto the airplane.” The first time I read that sentence, it caught me totally off guard. Why would you interject such a comment into a children’s book? I am quite certain that Kate has not been pondering the dangerous items that might be aboard our aircraft. I think it is called the bliss of childhood, no? I quickly read that sentence and moved on to finish the book. I never gave it additional thought.
Days later, as we pulled into the airport parking lot, Kate started talking about the airport. Soon, she started talking about the metal detector. In a naive moment, I encouraged her narrative, excited that she knew what to anticipate. Suddenly, she asked an unanticipated question.
“It will make sure we don’t have anything dangerous, right mommy?”
I tried to feign a calm front, while wondering why my darling child chose the freaky part of the book to remember. I brushed off her question, hoping to redirect her attention to a less conspicuous activity.
“Mommy, what is dangerous? We can’t bring anything dangerous on the airplane?"
Once again, I calmly assured Kate that nothing on the airplane was dangerous. MOVE ON KID. We only have a few hundred feet until we enter the terminal and you need to exhaust this question before you draw attention to us.
“Mommyyyyyyyyy, is our suitcase dangerous?”
I ignored her. What else could I do? We quickly navigated the self check-in kiosk and headed towards the infamous security checkpoint. In midst of the chaos and luggage orchestration, I forgot about Kate’s current rant. Within minutes she started chastising the couple behind us, asking if their luggage was dangerous.
A proud parenting moment.