So for Easter we flew to Toulouse in the South of France to see my little bro. Our World Family Trip is made up of 15 flights so we thought it would be prudent to do a test run. Let's just say we have our work cut out. Flying with a toddler, you hear about it, you read about it, you expect the worse but secretly hope for the best.
This was Grace's second flight but her first since hitting the terrible twos. I think Aidan was the only sane one left when we arrived at our destination. First hurdle was baggage drop off. Grace had a melt down when she could not drop off her Hello Kitty mini-wheeled suitcase at the baggage drop-off. It was her carry-on with toys for the flight. A full-on tantrum. David then darts outside for his last cigarette before security and I am literally stuck. Aidan is pretending he doesn't know us. I resort to leaving her rolling around on the floor while I continue to walk, hoping she will realise we are gone and snap out of it.
To be honest, I have tried that tactic before with Grace, so should have known it would not work. All good tantrums come to an end and we finally manage to get through security with only one incident, which involves Grace freaking out at the full body scan she is asked to comply to- I mean they actually ask her to spread arms and legs - as David had forgotten he was carrying loose change in his pocket when he went through the metal detector with Grace in his arms.
Next stop, the small miserable cafe where they sell bottles of water at £3.00 just near the boarding gate. Grace spills the contents of her snack box all over the floor to the waitress' despair, not on purpose mind you. Last pit stop before we board, the ladies, which involves me weeing at 100 miles and hour while Grace waits outside the cubicle (couldn't keep her inside with me as she kept opening the door as I was pulling my trousers down). I keep a close eye on her little red shoes from under the door. I rush out and am trying to wash my hands when she runs out of the exit. Next thing I hear is a security alarm going off. She made the wrong turn out of the toilets and attempted to enter an Authorised Personnel Only area.
As we make our way back to the waiting area she spots an assistance buggy. I should have read the signs. We walk past it, hand in hand, and she acts casual but her gaze lingers. She loves getting into the driving seat in our car. It takes ages to get her out as she re-enacts the journey home from the nursery, hands on the wheel, indicators and windscreen wipers blazing.
Back at the airport, her grip loosens and she makes a bee-line for the empty buggy. Next thing she is in the driving seat pressing all sorts of buttons with one hand firmly on the steering wheel. I have to literally sprint to reach her in time before she starts the buggy.
Oh and this is all before we even get on the plane. I am a wreck by the time the seat-belt signs come on. David and I, who have spent the whole journey staring at each other aggressively mumbling under our breath "how will we survive a whole year???!!" and "whose bloody idea was this all anyway???!!" have a debrief that evening: we are buying reins... basically a lead for turbulent toddlers.