I wrote a while ago about being ‘that parent’. I’m sure you know what I mean. Think back to the days when you didn’t have snot on your top, crayons in your handbag and a small child welded to your shin. The heady days when you used to go out to restaurants on the spur of the moment, when you used to be able to take handluggage for a week’s beach holiday and you got to go to the loo on your own (and lock the door!)
I have clear memories of sitting in airport Departure Lounges sipping a cocktail, reading Hello! and praying to God that the bloody awful kids screaming children running wild across the concourse weren’t on my plane. And feeling utterly robbed when I found out that, not only were they on my flight, they were in the row in front of me. I used to think that I had offended the Travel Gods in some way.
Now I wonder if God was just trying to give me training ahead-of-schedule so that I would be able to cope. I have to say that I failed. I’m not entirely sure how: I packed plenty of snacks, nappies, spare outfits and surprise toys. But holding an 18 month old on your lap with two inches of leg room is not conducive to a stress-free flight. Especially if your small-but-determined toddler fell ill with some unknown but incredibly painful virus the night before your flight so that she:
1. didn’t sleep when I wanted her to
2. didn’t want to eat
3. didn’t want any of the drinks available onboard (thanks to no longer being allowed on board with pre-purchased/made beverages)
4. didn’t want to sit welded to my lap for three hours (not really a shock)
5. didn’t want to stop crying
6. threw her teddies, dummy and blankie on the floor. Repeatedly.
7. then immediately begged to have them back.
8. refused to go to her father across the aisle
9. so that I had to attempt to eat my food one-handed without a tray and with no-where to put it.
10. and then had to apologise to the people sitting next to me who ended up wearing most of my food.
11. who I had spent most of the flight apologising to already because
12. Dimples screamed almost without cessation until she fell asleep
13. two minutes before we landed
14. and I then had to carry her all the way through the airport until I found the pushchairs
15. which weren’t where I wanted them to be.
Am I that parent? Yes. Sorry if I ruined your flight. Think of it as pre-parenthood training.