I’d pre­fer snakes on a plane

So­phie White The do­mes­tic

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Life - - LIFE -

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.

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