Something really irritating is going on in our country. Apparently we can’t handle it when a baby cries.

We were flying out of town for a family wedding when an announcement came over the loud speaker on the plane. A couple, who had brought their two-month-old baby girl, were at the front of the aircraft with a box of earplugs. They were concerned that their precious angel was going to bother people so they brought a case of earplugs to hand out to everyone on the plane.

I get it. It was a thoughtful gesture. But people, we need to get a grip on ourselves. How did we do this? Somehow, we have become so intolerant of some minor discomfort that we have guilted an entire generation of parents into being mortified when their baby does something perfectly normal on an airplane.

Cry.

I get it. No one wants to hear another tiny person’s misery. It’s hard because we have that instinctive drive to help a crying baby, just like we have the instinctive drive to help one another. But lately it’s not just baby fussing that we’ve gotten ridiculous about. I bet you can identify five people right now who have the tolerance of an orchid. People who can’t handle other people’s opinions about anything, folks who can’t handle someone’s outfit choices, and someone who becomes apoplectic when someone doesn’t like the same kind of television show.

Frankly it has me wondering — who do we really need the earplugs for? Should we all just go deaf to one another? Of course these days we can do that — to a degree. We can remove those people from our social media, from our social circles, from our surroundings. We can pretend they don’t exist, stick our fingers in our ears and hum the Battle Hymn of the Republic until we don’t hear anything but our own voices.

Who’s the cry baby now?

We turned down the ear plugs and cooed and fussed over the little angel. And she didn’t make a peep. In fact, she was better than most adults on the flight. Because as of now she is putting up with all of us and our silliness, all our attempts at filtering out the world she worked so hard to join.

 Winter Prosapio is a writer, a wife, and a working mom of two girls, two cats, and one ridiculously enthusiastic terrier mix.

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