Picture the scene:
Scott and Moana and I were jammed like sardines in the last row of the airplane... on our third and final flight headed over the Pacific Ocean toward Hawaii after having already traveled for 9+ hours. The 20-something military guy who got stuck in the back row with us was in hell, but he put his headphones on and tried to mentally transport himself to someplace else. Anyplace else.
Moana was exhausted, and who knows what time it was. Past her bedtime is all she felt. Poor thing clearly just wanted to sleep, but it was hard because there was no place to lay down and stretch out. Mommy's lap was lumpy and not very comfortable. She would fall asleep for a few minutes, and then in an expression of frustration over not having her own space to move around, would arch her back and WAIL OUT in protest. I mean really BELT IT OUT AT THE TOP OF HER LUNGS. She was serious, man. Baby wanted her crib.
We were all tired and uncomfortable, but only the 8 month old was missing the social filter that told her to keep her feelings to herself. Actually, that's not true. The Crotchety Old Flight Attendant was missing the filter too. Keep reading.
So the time came when it became clear to Scott that we needed to change Moana's diaper. Hmmm. Where to do that? Clearly there was not room in the back row next to the military man in hell. We got up and I checked both lavatories that were right near our seats. No changing table. The back galley area was clear though- the flight attendants were busy blocking the aisle with their carts.
I figured there had to be a changing table somewhere on the plane, so I approached Crotchety Old Flight Attendant and waited patiently while she served someone a drink to ask her where I might find one. Eventually she acknowledged me and told me there was one up in the front lavatory. Perfect. The one changing table they had on the plane was not accessible to us due to the 2 carts blocking the aisle.
I went back to the galley to tell Scott that we needed to wait and take Moana up front, but instead found him with Moana's diaper off. He was already in the middle of changing her on the bench that was there. I jumped in to help him and within 30 seconds the deed was done and I sighed with relief that we didn't make a mess.
Right about this time Crotchety Old Flight Attendant walked back into the galley and saw what we had done. Without hesitation I apologized and told her that my husband had changed the diaper before I had a chance to tell him about the change table up front.
Oh. My. Gosh. Crotchety Old Flight Attendant went off.
I don't know why people always think it's okay to change diapers back here in our area!?! We prepare food back here! This is against all health codes! Would you go into a restaurant and walk back into the kitchen to change your baby's diaper?? I don't want to have to sit on a poopy seat! It is not okay to change diaper back here!! I told you that the changing table is up front!
This lady went on and on. And on and on. After we were back in our seats she continued to stand there and berate us as loudly as she could. Right in front of everyone else on the plane. At this point it's important to know that I was completely in tears and just quietly asking her to stop. But she did not.
Okay. I will admit that it probably wasn't in the best taste to change Moana's diaper right there. I did apologize immediately and told her (in all honesty) that we didn't know what we were supposed to do. But seriously, it wasn't like we smeared poop all over the floor and walls. Though that's likely what everyone around us thought* when they couldn't help but overhear Crotchety Old Flight Attendant going off on us.
After she finally left us alone, I just could not stop crying. I was so tired. And so embarrassed. I was already feeling self-conscious about Moana crying out... already thinking that everyone around us hated us for bringing this poor little baby on such a long flight. And now, thanks to Crotchety Old Flight Attendant, everyone thought that we were dirty and disgusting and trashy for changing Moana's diaper in the back. I just wanted to disappear, but instead was stuck on this plane for at least 3 more hours.
Like a good husband, Scott got up a few minutes later and went back to apologize one more time to the horrible woman, but also to stand up for me and tell her that she had handled to situation completely inappropriately. Crotchety Old Flight Attendant did not back down. She repeated all of her previous complaints yet again. Loudly.
My crying would not stop.
A few minutes later Scott was walking Moana up and down the aisle trying to give her a little change of scenery and hopefully get her to nod off again. Apparently during this time two other flight attendants got wind of what had transpired in the back. One of them came up to me and apologized profusely and told me not to worry about it... nice of her to do that, but I was still whimpering in my own Mother-Hell. Finally, Nice Flight Attendant smiled and said, "You need a glass of wine. Red or white?" To which I responded, "White. Thank you."
And there you have it. The cure.
The two nice flight attendants kept 'em coming until I was sound asleep with Moana on my lap. The wine really did help.
*For what it's worth, after the flight when we were waiting at the baggage claim area, a woman from our flight approached me and told me that she thought that Crotchety Old Flight Attendant's behavior was cruel and inappropriate. She said that she knew some people 'high up' in American Airlines and was going to report her bahvior because it was so unnecessary. I appreciated this woman's comment. She said that clearly, Crotchety Old Flight Attendant was not a mother. Clearly.