Pop go the eardrums

I just booked our family vacation (which we are taking in October because we are so weird and love driving the school crazy) and it reminded me of this episode.

Come Fly With Me… Or Not…

Along with two thirds of North America, we took our last trip of the summer two years ago in an airplane.

I enjoy travel, love planes, and am a big fan of vacation. However, traveling for 2.5 hours in a plane with precisely 1.5 hours worth of entertainment for a five year old is excruciating.

I’ve been thrown from a horse, fallen from a cliff, and been hit by a car. All of which I would gladly go through again as long as you promise not to put me back on a plane with that girl again.

It always starts out great. There’s the excitement about being in the airport. The fascination with the disappearance of the luggage. Mireya was even pretty impressed with the security measures, especially the removal of shoes.

Lift off was uneventful, and she dutifully chewed her gum as we rose into the sky. Then I made the big mistake. I talked about how ears “pop” when we go higher in the sky and when we go lower.

Like so many things you tell your children, you don’t realize how they translate your words in their brain. Often times it can take weeks before you realize your child thinks you are literally struggling against ropes at the office because you’ve said you didn’t call back right away because you were all tied up.

So, as our collective nerves frayed and we’d worked through all available puzzle books and reading material, it was time to descend. I handed out the gum.

She looked at me with horror. “I don’t want my ears to pop!”

“But they’ll feel better…”

“I like them the way they are!”


“I don’t want them to pop out!”

“No, no, honey, they don’t pop out, they just sort of stretch…”


I just have a way with words. It’s a gift. Sure enough, her ears took a good long time to “pop” (which always hurts worse) and the minute we landed Mireya was on the phone with Daddy.

“I’m never going on an airplane again,” she said into the phone, scowling at me, the woman who just tried to deform her cute little ears.

All I could say to that was a hearty “amen.”