Did you catch the story about the couple with 14-week-old twins who took their first family flight recently? They handed out sweets to everyone on the plane to apologise in advance for any havoc their children might create. I read it amused, and nodding – but also wondering whether, by the time their little babies have turned into Terrible Twos, they might be dishing out Louis Vuitton shirts and boxes of Manolo Blahniks.
I say this because we have just arrived back from a few days in Edinburgh, where we met Ruby and Ava's very gorgeous new baby cousin (who I am, of course, completely in love with).
This trip was made all the more exciting by a plane ride at either end of it. Ah yes (are you cringing already?!)! A flight with a Terrible Two – the stuff nightmares are made of!
Ruby has flown before, a few times actually – but she takes more and more from each new experience. This time round, it was very exciting indeed and the journey began well. Ru enjoyed sitting there, all grown up, putting her seatbelt on. When we were about to take off, I explained that it might feel a bit funny, and suggested we held hands. Her face was a picture when she felt the ground disappear beneath us, and 10 minutes later, arriving on top of the clouds gave rise to all sorts of jubilations.
An hour after that though, as we were making our descent and were told to put our belts back on again, things started to go awry.
We'd had three seats between the two of us (Dan and Ava were on the other side of the plane) and Ru had been having lots of fun, crawling from my lap to the window, repeatedly releasing the tables and putting them back up again. So when I told her it was time to sit back down, put the tables away and strap up, she took umbrage.
"Yes Ruby, do as you're told."
"You can't go to Daddy now, we are landing. Sit down. NOW Ruby."
I could write the rest if the dialogue, but you get the picture. Needless to say, I won the battle – but she was getting Noisy. Yes, with a capital N.
Then she felt that awful ear sensation, and squealed. Oh crumbs... I'd bought her a drink in the hope she'd neck it all the way down, and the swallowing would help her ears pop. But because she was already cross with me, she kept pushing my hand away.
The pain got worse. The screaming got louder. She rubbed at the side of her head, and threw me looks which seemed to say: 'Why are you doing this to me?!'
The very, VERY lovely man sitting in front of us with his daughter gave us a lolly, thinking Ruby might be temped to chomp on that. But when I showed it to her, she shouted at me.
When I went to put it away, she yelled: "MMMYYY LOLLY!"
So I gave it to her.
And she threw it at me.
I tried distraction, I tried tenderness, I tried reasoning, I tried the drink again, and the lolly again. I tried everything.
The second we touched down, Ruby stopped crying, stuck the lolly in her mouth and leaned on me, hot and red, soggy-cheeked and salty, snuffling and quivering.
I mouthed my apologies to the people sitting closest to us – and I'm so pleased to say, they were all very kind. If they hadn't been kind, I might have cried myself.
The flight back (thank you, thank you!) was considerably less stressful. The plane was busier than before and Ru and I were sharing our row of three with an elderly Irish gentleman.
As the plane picked up speed on the runway, she said to him: "Hand? Hold hand?"
He looked at Ruby, and at me – and held her hand.
It was very sweet. He thought he was comforting her, she thought she was comforting him. No one was holding my flippin' hand, but I could live with that in exchange for a peaceful, tantrum-free journey.
Ruby did call the air hostess over twice though (with that button). She did blow a raspberry on the head in front of us (thankfully, Dan's head, but Ruby might not have even known that). She did almost get stuck under the seat. She did tell me she needed a wee twice (when, in fact, she did not). And she did point to a bottle of vodka in the magazine when I asked her what she'd like to drink.
Resisting her requests for inebriation, I gave her the iPad and got her a juice... which she necked all the way down.
PS. How long does it take to drive from London to Edinburgh?!