So last night I stepped off a plane with my 18 month old in tow… This is our first trip abroad since he’s started toddling about and I must have aged a good year or 2 during that 4 hour flight. Stress doesn’t cover it, even with both my parents joining us I was on the verge of tearing what little hair I have out of my scalp.
Our flight was at 3pm, Eliyah had had his daily 2 hour nap and we were planning to have lunch at the airport. I had packed a small but good selection of his favourite toys with OPTIONAL sound and light functions (this is very important when you have a son obsessed with sirens and engines), books, snacks and my parents whom he loves. I thought, naively, we were good to go.
I WAS READY!!!
You’re never ready and never prepared enough when you have kids (must be the baby brain that made me forget).
Trouble started in the car. Eliyah didn’t want to sit in his car seat, he wanted to sit on his Dede (my dad) and watch all the cars, vans and lorries drive past. At the airport he wanted to run around, watch the automatic doors slide open and closed, play peek-a-boo behind the line dividers, climb on to other travellers suitcases and put his head on the floor and look inbetween his legs for some reason. All of that comes with toddler territory I guess but being so heavily pregnant and slightly overwhelmed from the last minute packing and getting shit together I started to feel like I couldn’t hack it.
Eliyah wouldn’t really eat any lunch. No surprise but still slightly annoying. However with that cute little face and lots of hugs, I was over it.
THEN it all popped off on the plane. He wasn’t assigned his own seat even though we’d paid for it (damn Pegasus Airlines) so from the jump he was climbing into the lap of the man sitting next to us to look out of the window. Fair enough. He wouldn’t sit on my lap, he wouldn’t sit on my dads lap, he wouldn’t sit on my mums lap… we had run out of laps! He wanted his shoes off and had a fit over the fact that he couldn’t have the rest of his clothes off. Snot and tears were EVERYWHERE. I looked half decent when I left the house but now the full contents of his nose had been smeared all over me and the plane hadn’t even moved!!!
When it was finally time to take off there were 2 spare seats next to my mum so Eliyah could sit next to the window with his lollipop in hand (packed to relieve the pressure in his ears), what a relief. I took a book out, gave him his v-tech ambulance to play with and settled into my chair. The babbling started along with the pointing at everything and grunting which I’m more than happy to engage in. I love the way he smiles and looks at me with wonderment as I explain to him what things are or reply to his prattle as if I understand.
However, within a split second he went from 0 to 100 REAL QUICK throwing his ambulance on the floor, screaming at the top his lungs and trying to unbuckle his seat belt. I picked up his toy, let him know we could take the belt off soon, remind him he had a lovely vanilla lollipop in his hand but he didn’t stop. I took out a book and tried to read to him, offered some water, maybe a big hug from mummy would help??? Nothing. The food arrived at this point making everything a little more awkward with the trays coming down and open drinks. Obviously I’m hungry (I’m always hungry) and wanted to eat but of course sorting out Eliyah comes first so I offered him some… he took the bread roll. After 2 bites he’d had enough and wanted to cry and protest again which resulted in my food on the seat and my mums drink on the floor. Nice one Eliyah. I took out his bottle and gave that to him but he only drank half and then knocked that on the floor too. Now he didn’t want to sit on the seat he wanted to climb onto my lap wrapping his arms around me, nuzzling his streaming snotty nose into my neck and kneeling on my large pregnant belly.
Through all of that I had kind of forgotten that I was pregnant but Eliyah’s knee on my stomach had reminded me that I was and that my back ached AND that I hadn’t put my flight stockings on!!!! Looking down at my feet I could see that my ankles were starting to disappear but that would have to wait because I had a screaming toddler on my hands. Nothing would soothe him and I was becoming more and more aware of how the people around us must be feeling. I could feel myself starting to go into this weird place where I zone out because it’s all too much and nothing I said or did would stop his cries.
What did it eventually was my dad just prying him off of me, resisting his loud protests and holding him firmly to his chest whilst he rocked him. I had to pretend I was asleep so it would encourage him to sleep too. Thank Fuck it worked. We lay him down on the two free seats, I went to the toilet, put on my stockings, ate what was left of my food and had a nap of my own too. So did mum. So did dad. So did every bloody person on that flight now that they didn’t have to listen to all that commotion.
We all woke up when the plane was about to descend giving the other passengers 2 hours respite from his cries. He was in great spirits from then on, particularly enjoying watching the suitcases get spat out onto the reel at baggage claim and riding in the car we’d hired to drive to our hotel. We arrived at our destination just before midnight my mum, dad and I all shattered and Eliyah as happy as Larry.
At 2am he fell asleep in my bed after endless shuffling around and tired chatter. My back ached, my head was bangin and the twins seemed to be having a boxing match in my womb. I really hope this week in the Turkish sunshine will recharge my batteries in preparation for the flight home.
Pray for me people. Pray.