Thud refused to sleep for the first 14 months of his life and it was torture. But getting on a plane for five hours was the very first time I considered drugging my child.
It was our first time flying with a toddler. We were off to Fiji with our extended family and we were so excited. Until we got on the plane…
He wasn’t even that bad. I’ve seen worse. It’s just that we were so…. trapped. And in public. And there were eyes everywhere, looking at us. Disapproving faces judging our inferior parenting skills.
It started as we were walking on to the plane. The looks. The terrified side-eye from young couples as we walked towards them, followed by the epic sigh of relief as we kept walking. It turns out that having a toddler sit next to you on a plane is about as appealing as sharing a row with a morbidly obese man with offensive body odour.
They needn’t have worried. Whether by coincidence or some unspoken airline policy, all the families with young children just happened to be seated right up the back of the plane. I would’ve made allegations of segregation if I didn’t kind of see their point.
We were stuck in toddler ghetto, ready to harass all the other parents. Ah well, it’s not like they were about to enjoy their flight either.
We had all the tricks in our bag. Books, toys, snacks, pencils, iPad, sleeping bag, bottles of milk. We thought we’d planned it perfectly.
We were wrong.
As soon as the plane started to taxi down the runway, Thud was up in his chair and squealing with pure joy and excitement. It was just about the most life-altering thing to have ever happened to him. We laughed at his mini-conniption fit (we naïvely assumed it would end) and managed to get him to sit on my lap with an extension belt for him as we took off. I think the whole plane heard how much he enjoyed that.
Once we were in the air we pulled out the bottle and took off his shoes and let him know he could have a little sleep now (hahaha… these parents are STUPID). We’d all been awake since four am and figured he’d have to be a bit sleepy by now.
Optimistic! And incorrect.
Thud smashed his bottle in record time and sprang to his feet to start his flight. And by flight, I mean his campaign of terror.
It was five straight hours of negotiation and compromise with some old-fashioned pleading in between. We had occasional moments of calm when he decided to sit and watch exactly one episode of Peppa Pig at a time (I need to have serious words with the creators of Peppa Pig. WHY are the episodes so short? WHHYY???) but on the whole he refused to be still or quiet.
He was mostly excited and loud. But there were pockets of time we lost to insanity, with wild screaming, kicking and that really fun thing where they arch their back and buck right out of your arms and collapse on the floor like they’re having a fit.
Sarge and I kept looking at each other with eyes that said “I am not equipped to deal with the demon that has overtaken my child.”
The Power of Christ compels you!
This was not our child. Our child is a hurricane in human form but he’s not evil. He doesn’t have tantrums and he doesn’t lash out. THIS child on the plane? I don’t know who he was. He was like an animal. Trapped in a very small box. On LSD.
Although he wasn’t even all that trapped.
I’d like to know what airlines think those lap sashes are protecting us from. Seriously. I mean, firstly, my two-year-old managed to undo his within about four seconds of being strapped in. Secondly, he could get out of it even when it was done up. We spent 90 percent of our time trying to strap him back in which enraged the beast even more. HE WILL NOT BE CONTAINED.
He spent most of his time trying to escape us. He’d perform neat little circus tricks to flip himself over the seats in front so he could
terrorise visit his grandparents. They thought they were so lucky to score a free seat between them. They were wrong.
In the end there was no nap. He was delirious with exhaustion but pushed through it to rage on in protest against his confinement. My dreams of reading a book while my child slept peacefully on my lap were dashed. Probably karma for being so goddamned naïve and idiotic.
The best thing about the flight was that it ended.
And that’s all I have to say about that.
Oh… and we are doing it again in two weeks. For TEN hours.
Have you had an easy flight with a toddler? HOW?? Give me all your secrets.
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