Thursday, September 15, 2011

East to West

We are definitely not strangers to flying.  Our travels and life’s transitions has taken us to Europe and beyond over the last 15 months.  My 3 year old daughter confidently wheels her pink floral carry-on bag thru the airport; my 2 year old son climbs atop of his ‘trunki’ wheeled luggage and is happily pulled through the crowds giving the royal wave like a gold medallist returning from the Olympics; and my husband has habitually removed his belt, loose coins and watch about 5km before reaching the security check.  I guess you could say we are seasoned travellers, which is just another polite way of saying we lead a life similar to that of a gypsy.

Anyhow… a move from Brisbane to Perth, East Coast to West Coast of Australia.  It is only a six hour flight, easy.  Right?  After all, I did just refer to my family as ‘seasoned travellers’.  I was wrong.  Very wrong.  Our easy 6 hour flight involved about 3 hours of sheer agony, (mainly emotional) for the entire fleet of passenger and crew.  Usually, when my spawn has a tantrum at home, I am able to ignore it.  I have a knack of switching off and to be totally honest, I do not hear a thing, I go into a special place of flowered meadows and lolly pops, (mentally that is).  Even when my toddler has a tantrum in a shopping centre, I merely step over him and place a post-it-note on his back, “please return to sender”.  So what do you do when the tantrum occurs on an enclosed aeroplane?  Firstly panic, then get anxious, then get angry, then get sad, then just plain exhausted, it makes you feel as though it is the 12 steps for a recovering alcoholic.  It is difficult to ignore the banshee screams when I can feel the burning eyes of fellow passengers attacking my soul/ parenting skills.  The pleasant grandma hippy in front of us requested that the gentle tapping on the back of her seat cease within the first 5 minutes of the flight, "so how are you liking my son now Nana, he was better as a gentle tapper wasn’t he?"  I am sure I have seen her grab for her high blood pressure medication.  Twice.
My brave husband takes the offender to the back of the plane in hope that a change of scenery may calm the pterodactyl screech, or at least muffle it if hidden behind the toilets.  Happy anniversary babe.”  Unfortunately for all, the volume of protest did not mellow, and was only heightened when the seat belt sign binged on and we had to return to our seats.  With my son in a WWF wrestling hold, he was restrained on my lap, until he informed me “pee pee”.  So I informed the air hostess and the entire travelling fleet, “He is going to wet his pants.”  (In reflection, pretty sure this was screamed in a voice that was a mixture between pure panic and a lady possessed.)  I agreed that I was leaving my seat at my own risk, blah blah blah, the airline would not be held responsible for incident, blah blah blah.  Well now isn’t this calming? “Happy anniversary babe.” As I reach the bathroom, my son arches his back, refuses to sit or stand at the toilet and practices his best ‘woe is me’ face in the mirror as though in contention for an Oscar.  I on the other hand, utilise this time out of the public eye to take a deep breath, and to see whether I could possibly sneak out via the toilet hole.  The toilet option is obviously not an option for either of us, so I reapply my WWF hold and return to my seat.  Yay is me, it appears the excitement was all too much, so my son wets his pants and my jeans. (Come on hippy grandma, you just complain about the noise now; I dare you!)  My son screams as he is changed and then decides all the screaming is not enough pressure on our relationship, so he vomits on my lap, in my hand and then when my hand is full, on my shoe.  Yay is me, I am living the dream.  Happy anniversary babe.”
Just as the airhostess offers my surrounding travellers head sets and alerts them to the loudest music station they have on offer, my son decides to give up.  Exhausted he falls to sleep in my arms, about one hour before landing.  Did I mention today is our anniversary? Five years. “Happy anniversary babe.”  This was whispered between my husband for the entire flight.  I am pretty sure that this is the only thing that got me through the ordeal that was from East to West.

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