Things I Learned About Children on a Recent Flight Out of Orlando

1. They can suddenly smell like diapers whenever they want.

2. If they can’t pop their ears, they whine loudly, grab their heads, and flail their legs in circles, into the people they’re sitting beside. Older children, like six or seven. They also moan and pant, but keep on watching Hoarders, and complain if a parent suggests that they stop watching. When the parent tells them it also might help to swallow, they shriek that “it’s making it worse.” (Okay, and then right when you’re worried that there might actually be something wrong with the kid’s ears, and you’re thinking back sympathetically on a time you thought your own head would explode, a flight attendant comes down the aisle to collect final trash, and you wonder if the kid’s going to ratchet up the moan-panting when the attendant passes by, for dramatic effect, and they do.)

3. A snack is a four-sleeve container of Chips Ahoy.

4. They all have iPads.

5. They think that when you can see snow on the ground, because the sun is shining and visibility is good, that “it is snowing.”

6. They love stowing and then unstowing their tray tables. I mean, I hear them on this one.

7. They are so small (well…) and yet their elbows are so good at extending beyond their designated spaces.

8. They talk at such different volumes.

9. They have gorgeous skin. For now.

10. They are everywhere.

11. They can maintain long and seemingly unprompted screams even while looking unwaveringly into a stranger’s eyes.

12. “Rock, Paper, Scissors” is still popular.

13. They are gracious when you can’t seem to turn off your in-chair monitor despite pressing the armrest thing repeatedly, because it turns out you were turning theirs on and off the whole time.

14. When it’s finally time to leave, they’re so much smaller than they’d originally seemed, especially when they give you what appears to be a frightened parting look with huge, very beautiful eyes.