I’d prefer snakes on a plane
Sophie White The domestic
Too many times, I have witnessed the unfortunate ‘on a plane with a baby’ people and had thought nothing would ever induce me to endure that torture. I was adamant that we would not get on a plane with Yer Man until he was old enough to hate us and want to sit several rows away, avoiding all eye contact.
Predictably, I was then seduced by cheap flights, cheap booze and guaranteed sun, so we boarded a plane to Croatia. I was terrified. And rightly so. The journey made childbirth seem like a relaxing spa retreat.
I was equipped with the usual array of distractions used to appease the baby. In the event of tantrum or extreme rage, these are to be administered in order of effectiveness, from least effective to most, at intervals.
Plan A is the red car he likes, Plan B is my mobile phone, Plan C is apple slices, and so on until we get to Plan F, which is a double vodka tonic for me and Plan G, which is a Chupa Chups lollipop for him.
The point of the plans is not to “cure” the upset outright, as that is simply not possible, he’s a toddler. The aim is simply to buy time. The red car will get you maybe 15 seconds of calm, while Plan G, the lollipop, could get you a half an hour or more.
The Chupa Chups, however, is a bit like making a pact with Satan. The flip side of Plan G is that you have just given sugar — aka kiddie crack — to an infant in a confined space with 200 innocent bystanders.
Another thing about introducing Plan G is there’s no coming back from it; no red car will suffice after a taste of the good stuff. This is why Plan G was never really an option in my head. It was there in the bag for use in the event of an emergency. Like a cyanide capsule.
About 10 minutes into the return flight, Yer Man started to lose his s**t. He was in the grip of over-tiredness and was screaming so much that I couldn’t hear my own screaming over his. We tried singing, rocking, a bottle, Plan A, Plan B. I admit we were getting so desperate that at one point I noticed that if I rocked him a certain way, my body was muffling his cries somewhat. Apparently I was leaning towards smothering my son rather than dare annoy a few hundred strangers.
It was at this point that Himself skipped all the rest of the steps and produced the Chupa Chups. I tried to fling myself in the path of the lollipop being offered grossly prematurely. “Noooooo,” I screamed, “you can’t skip straight to the Chupa Chups, he’ ll never accept an apple slice again.” But it was too late. Yer Man was curiously licking the fluorescent orb with a look that unmistakably said, “You’re f ****d now, bitches.” Even worse than the fact that we had broken the sugar seal on the baby was the insane stickiness.
Never again. I’ve been trying to bring Yer Man back around to vegetables in soups like this ever since.