What I didn’t blog about this week

Saturday – Even though I’ve logged many miles by airplane, I still feel anxious when I fly. However, I have never been more worried than when I took Egypt Air roundtrip from Cairo to Sharm El Sheik. It wasn’t that I doubted the experience of the captains (typically former Egyptian air force pilots) or even the planes (which seemed to be in fair condition). What had me unnerved was the lackadaisical security at the airports. Almost every person set off the metal detectors, but hardly anyone was checked. For example, my sister-in-law carried fluids in her handbag. When the baggage screening caught her error, the officer took it on her word that the liquids were merely water for baby formula. No one opened her bag to make sure. Given the climate in the world, the fact that diplomats from African Union countries were on board both flights, and that Egypt has experienced numerous terrorist bombings, I was very surprised security wasn’t better.

Somewhat interesting side note: Before a flight takes off and after the onboard safety video is played, a Muslim prayer is played over the sound system asking Allah to provide safe passage. Given my fears, I happily accepted any gesture that might help me make it from point a to point b.

Monday – I get all warm and fuzzy inside when my blog life intersects with my real one. This week I met the lovely Charlotte Otter for coffee and delighted in learning more about the woman behind the blog. Truth be told, she is even lovelier than I expected. I hope this is the beginning of many more kaffepauses.

Wednesday At 5:30 am on this day, my parents arrived with their 6-year old “daughter” Skyler. Skyler has been part of our family since she was born. Initially, my mother watched the infant girl as a favor to her mother. Before too long, the baby was spending weeks with my parents without so much as a phone call. Eventually, the mother stopped coming around altogether and gave my parents joint custodianship. Even though her mother would be welcomed and still has legal standing, Skyler hasn’t seen her in years.

Maybe because of their age (late 60s and early 70s) or because they’ve felt sorry for her, my parents have always given in to Skyler’s every whim and have not provided much in the way of discipline. The result is a bright and beautiful girl, with particularly bad manners and a complete lack of respect for authority.

Or, maybe she’s just a typical 6-year old.

Either way, it’s been a bit of a strain. I support my parents decision in taking Skyler in to our family and feel that the little girl is as much my sibling as my other brother and sisters. But sometimes the temper tantrums and the disregard for even the simplest house rules, drives me insane. …And I’ve got three full weeks to go.

So I am wondering if any of you have advice or words of wisdom on how I can deal with this better?

Thursday – My dad’s faulty grasp of English tickles me. Today’s slaughtered expression? Fringe benefits. My father calls it “French benefits.” I’m not sure what those types of benefits would entail, and I’m not sure I want to find out!


stepping over the junk said...

I SO am not interested in flying anywhere, anytime soon. Kudos to you to be traveling! It is so stressful and when i take my two girls, even moreso. So now we just drive to the movies. Heh heh.

Josie said...

All my travel of late is between Canada and the US for work and the endless security drives me nuts.
After reading your experience, I welcome it. Better to be over checked than not at all.
Enjoy your visit with your parents...somewhat unruly 6 yr old included.

Simple Answer said...

hmmm. Little freaked out by the lack of security. But, since I'm taking Royal Jordanian from Chicago, I'll be interested to see if there is a Muslim prayer. I'll let you know.

6-year-olds should be at the very least tolerable. I hope in the 3 weeks she comes around a bit. For your sanity!

meno said...

French benefits sounds like a sex toy!

Good luck with the 6 year old. She's not likely to chage unless she has to.

Caffienated Cowgirl said...

Hmmm...she sounds like a six-year-old that has a lot of attention. The best thing to do is lay down the house rules (it's your place, not hers) and ignore the tantrums...hard, but probably the best approach.

Am still laughing at your dad's English :)

Jill said...

A 6 year old who throws tantrums and doesn't listen? Shocker!

Seriously - here's what I do when we have guests over at our house - usually they're 5 year olds...

When one of them has a meltdown or doesn't listen I bend down and look them straight in the eye. I take their arm, just above the elbow, in my hand and I talk in a calm, but firm voice. I usually say something like, "Skyler, in this house we don't act that way. I am so sorry that you (hurt yourself, are having trouble...discuss whatever happened here). In my house we have rules. There is no screaming in the kitchen, there are no rude comments made, you will follow my rules. Do you understand? My house, my rules." (I say this with a serious tone, but with a twinkle in my eye... usually they get a sheepish grin here - or tear up and nod their head). I then tell them that if they're going to continue their behaviour they can do it in a room by themselves, and when they wish to come out and behave in a manner that's befitting to them, they're welcome at any time to come join us.

This is all said in a calm, soothing, yet firm voice. I've used that a few times... with good results.

Charlotte said...

Hm. A prayer, huh? I'm flying Air India soon. Perhaps there'll be a Hindu ceremony first ... And yes, that security thing is pretty shocking.

As to the 6-year-old, Jill's comment sounds like it could come from Supernanny. I'd definitely try that. The important thing is, I think, to remain calm and firm and confident. Best of luck, hon! And lots of kudos to your parents for being Good People.

ms chica said...

At least Germany takes security more seriously. THe last time I got felt up, I was going through security in Munich. I thought the security officer might buy me something from duty-free when she was finished, but she didn't offer.

ms chica said...

Yeah, when you find out how to handle the Six-year-old, please share with the childless. I have a pair of precocious young neighbors I need politely keep in check.

Rositta said...

Yes I have two of those types of kids in my life, one who visits at the cottage a lot and I'd like to throw in the lake at times and the other in Athens who is even worse. When he doesn't get what he wants he throws himself on the floor and screeches. I don't know how you will survive other than just simply walk away from the situation.
Regarding airline security, that's scary actually, your right in this day they ought to be a more thorough. I have to figure out how to smuggle little wooden knitting needles on the flight to Greece from here, that's how strict they are...ciao

Cheryl said...

That's awesome of your parents. I got to say.

AmyD said...

Hmm...maybe you would benefit from ignoring Skyler during her tantrums the way I do with Lucy (the new pup) when she is doing something I don't want her to do (jumping up on me, for example). I just simply turn my head and pretend she doesn't exist, and she IMMEDIATELY stops what she is doing, sits down politely, and waits for me to give into her whim, which I do when I decide to do so. Kids are the same. Whether it's negative or positive attention, they will do whatever they can to get it. It's so easy for parents to give into the tantrums because they want them to stop, but in the process, they are only giving the child the attention they seek, thus the vicious circle. My sister used to use reverse psychology with her eldest son when he was out in public and behaving badly. She would say, "Wow, I don't care that you are kicking and screaming right now, but you wouldn't BELIEVE all the people who are staring at you right now, thinking about how naughty of a boy you must be!" and he would stop what he was doing, look around, and say, "Nuh uh! I'm a good boy!" and then act accordingly. Kids are smart, but adults (at times...) are smarter. ;o) Good luck and enjoy the visit with your parents and sister!!

Dianne said...

jill's advice was great. the only thing I could add is - when my son had tantrums I would whisper to him - he had to stop to hear me. then I would try to talk to him, much as Jill suggested

all else fails - keep your iPod on at all times

bless your parents for taking care of her!!

karey m. said...

not a fan of naughty children. it sounds like your parents have giant hearts...

i leave tomorrow for vacation in the states...i'm so scared! you know my deal. but i'll miss the prayers and all that.

i love these posts.