Yesterday was fun. Oh. Sorry. No. That’s not right. Yesterday was NOT fun. Yes, that’s more accurate. Yesterday I had the pleasure of….oh, no, that’s not right either. Oh yes, yesterday I had ENDURED three hours on a plane sat next to my youngest son Henry, the wiggliest, least patient, noisiest, most fidgety, most easily frustrated, chattiest and most inquisitive 4 year old you could ever hope to meet. Actually I had, very early on in the day harboured a rather faint hope that he would sleep on the plane. This was because he had in fact told me that he was going to sleep on the plane because he was so tired. I can see now that that was a foolish hope, a ridiculous hope and a hope that was quickly dashed when Henry spent the first 15 minutes on board repeatedly asking me “Are we flying yet? Are we in the sky? Are we flying yet? Are we in the sky?……….” when in actual fact we hadn’t even taxied to the runway. As we finally did taxi to the runway the questions became more varied, including “Why aren’t we going fast? Are we going the wrong way? Can I go on that orange plane instead? Can I play Angry Birds? I want my lunch/can I have my lunch?/when is it time for lunch?/is that my lunch?/where is my lunch?”
Rather positively we had, I think, made a good first impression with our fellow passengers. You see, it is a difficult time for all concerned when you board a plane with a young child in tow, especially when that young child is Henry, as you are very aware of people already seated looking from you to the vacant seats next to them, no doubt thinking ‘please don’t sit next time me’. But once we had located our lucky victim and she had even managed to smile while she moved out of her seat to let us into ours, Henry had stood in front of his seat, fastened his seat belt and loudly proclaimed “I did it mummy!”, to which I replied “That’s great Henry, but you’re not actually in it”, to which those sat within earshot chuckled quite heartily and vocally. Encouraging first steps I’m sure you will agree. However, as his bombardment of questions began the favourable impression Henry had created began to falter, helped speedily along on its way by the removal and launching of his socks, the noisy clashing of toy cars in an impromptu and violent game of ‘car wars’, several gratuitous uses of the words ‘poo poo’ and ‘bottom’ and, of course, a couple of potent, laughter inducing trumps.
Luckily attention was promptly diverted away from us by the discovery that David Dickinson was on board! Yes, David Dickinson! Daytime TV hero! Word of the celebrity in our midst quickly spread like wildfire among the star struck pensioners in the nearby seats. Combine this with the collective excitement as the buffet service commenced, which caused people to hurriedly consult the menu, and with the resulting musical jingle as people starting to count out their change, drop their change and scramble about trying to find their change once more in the confined space, and before we knew it we were soon forgotten in the ensuing melee. In fact Henry became so engrossed in playing Angry Birds that I even dared to get out my book and I actually managed to read some of it. Admittedly our almost harmonious state was regularly punctuated by Henry whining/moaning/throwing the iPad/crying/throwing socks due to frustration at not being able to complete some particularly challenging stage of the game, but each time I was able to temporarily calm the storm by administering some sort of sweet. And so we continued for the remainder of the flight, with me rather tensely braced for another outburst at any time, armed with a diminishing supply of sweets until, a seeming eternity later we arrived at our destination where we were once again free to roam, and to embark on numerous, new chapters of travel based fun en route to our final destination, such as waiting to get off the plane, waiting at passport control, waiting at baggage reclaim, waiting at the car rental place and eventually waiting in traffic jams, and for me, the never ending wait for the distant light at the end of the tunnel, bedtime.
The joy of travelling with children.