The Summer holiday season is here, a time to relax, unwind and forget about everyday life for a minuscule amount of time. And then you realise you are taking your toddler daughter on a plane for the first time....and you are required to wake her up at 3:30am in order to board the early morning flight. That in itself is probably the worst idea you will have ever made as a parent. Waking a sleeping baby is horrific enough, but waking a toddler...mmm.
We woke her. She appeared to be in a state of shock -- didn't have a clue what was happening, "Am I dreaming"? "Is it dinner time", were probable thoughts ringing around her head. No. It's taxi time.
The airport bag-drop queues offered us a tiny insight as to our daughter's potential on board a plane -- she became whingey.
We all walk together, with a Trunki in tow to hunt down some breakfast. We are experts at 19-minute-meal turnarounds so the fact that we didn't have much time was not an issue. There were little protests about the highchair but nothing we hadn't seen before -- generally it was a breeze.
Trees then began to sway in the wind.
Daughter rejected to go into her buggy. No. No. And more no's.
She went in to mummy's arms -- I pushed the buggy, the Trunki and accompanying accessories.
We boarded the plane.
Hell was entered.
Wait for it.
After sitting nicely (we both had aisle seats with daughter on mummy's lap), the first of our complex tactics as recommended by the United States Marines to give her focus on sitting on mummy's lap, were introduced. Or enforced if you like. A sticker book to be precise.
The Captain informs us that there will be a 45-minute delay as we were in a queue for a take-off slot. Can't explain that to a toddler. We both come to terms that this was going to be a potentially end-of-world event.
She became bored of sticker book annoyingly fast. First snack administered. Next book offered. Chucked on the floor after 76 seconds.
Next snack downed. First scream echoes around the Boeing 737 aircraft and the international airport terminal buildings. This was to be the beginning of the end.
She has now had more snacks than she would normally have in a year. And the plane's engines were not even on!
Drink? 1 sip. 2 seconds pass. First use of technology offered -- Peppa Pig to the rescue...for 97 seconds. Biscuit. Youtube. Biscuit. Etcha sketch. Dried fruit snack. Scream. Drink. No. Peppa? 7 seconds. Drink. No. No. Peppa Pig books. 3 seconds. Scream.
Engines still not on. Still at gate 49.
Scream. Peppa? Nooooo. Carrot chewy bar. 1 mouthful. Rest of it falls on floor. Scream. Scream. Scream. Peppa? Noooooooo. Nooooo. Scream. Biscuit. 1 bite. On floor. Headphones? Noooo. Scream. Nooo. Cuddle? Scream.
Engines finally turned on.
Full blown category 5 meltdown commences. Captain informs us that there will be a further 25-minute wait on the tarmac.
Peppa? Scream. Some passengers hide under seats; others adopt the brace position. Wife and I seriously contemplate using the emergency escape slides to get the hell out of there.
Peppa? Scream. Scream. Shuffle. Shuffle. "Down". Not yet. Soon. Biscuit. Noooo. Cuddle? Scream.
Plane begins taxiing, daughter is halfway in the aisle.
Peppa? Scream. Nooo. Other passenger kindly passes us a carton of milk. Straw? Scream. Scream. Scream. Shuffle. No. Nooo. No. Tactics severely depleted. Stickers? Noooooo. Scream.
Until she finally falls asleep in mummy's arms one minute prior to takeoff.
My Wife and I looked at each other battered and bruised and joyfully accepted the offer of free on board counselling and additional assistance via way of wheelchairs at our destination airport.
The holiday was amazing, though.