It’s finally here! The flights we booked, oh so long ago, are about to turn in to a reality. The bags are packed, and just about close, my hand luggage has been turned in to a Mary Poppins bag of toddler in-flight entertainment; it really is the bag that keeps on giving, and the potty is coming along for the ride. Oh yes folks, we’re at the airport, the Cuckoos are off to Cape Town!
Or “Cake Town” as Sam’s been calling it and, well, let’s be honest here, that sounds like a pretty amazing place to go too.
I’ve wanted to go to South Africa for such a long time but, after having a family, thought we’d probably not manage to get there for many a year to come. However, good friends of ours are, very excitingly, getting married amongst the vineyards and sunshine, thus creating the perfect excuse to take to the skies and do it – thanks guys! You’re one in a million!
We’ve just got to get there!
I’ve always loved flying long haul right from my first encounter, at the age of ten, when I successfully managed to faint on to the check-in travellator, to the bloody Mary, fizz swilling flights of our honeymoon, and everything in-between. Long haul flights are the couch potato’s dream; you get to sit there and watch films, whilst kindly folk bring you food and drinks. You don’t even need to move from your seat! I get so excited upon opening the viewing schedule and planning, down to the last minute, exactly what I’m going to watch and, am proud to say, have never had to switch off a film half way through, due to landing. Give that lady an award! Although I wouldn’t advise watching ‘Contagion’ on-board. I used a lot of antibac gel on that flight.
Oh how those days are long gone now though. I’m under no illusion it’s going to be even remotely similar. In fact, I quite wish we could teleport.
We first flew with Sam when he was four months old and he was a dream simply feeding, sleeping and gumming the in-flight magazine. We’ve since done plenty of short haul flights but, until today, have never flown for longer than five hours.
This could get interesting, especially as, loving a good bargain, we’re going via Istanbul…
What could possibly go wrong?
In all honesty, I’ve been feeling pretty anxious about it. I don’t want Sam to be unsettled, I don’t want to disturb our fellow passengers and I really don’t want to experience an epic, over-tired toddler tantrum whilst cooped up and flying at over thirty-five thousand feet. And so, I’ve tried to be as well prepared as possible with games and snacks, books and stickers and I even have a back up plan; Calpol. I’ve read top tips for travelling with toddlers and sought the advice of others as to what worked for them. Like many parents travelling with kids, I’ve really done my homework so, all being well, shouldn’t have anything to worry about.
However, I also know there’s a very real chance I’m going to end up overcompensating and channel my nerves in to manic, crazy blonde lady mode; smiling, terrifyingly, at all and sundry, with fear in my eyes, scaring adults and children alike, including my son. At this point in time my husband is really regretting booking three seats together, although as he did once refer to himself as my carer, on a landing card, then perhaps this is only the payback he deserves.
Anxiety aside, I’m also very aware my boy is only two and that we’re expecting a hell of lot from him. To some extent I just need to board that plane, take a deep breath, try not feel paranoid, or judged, and merely be me; accepting that what will be will be, whilst telling myself, that if it all does go wrong, I’m unlikely to see any of these peeps again. Well, at least not for fifteen days anyway.
Plus I need to feel excited, not apprehensive, and remember we’ve a great adventure at the end of it. Although not one with dinosaurs, as I’ve had to explain to Sam. They’re probably all in Cake Town.
And so, here we go, bon voyage to us, the land of wine, beautiful scenery and history awaits. Or, if you’re a toddler, the land of safari animal poo. I just really hope he doesn’t try to bring any back as that really could make for an interesting in-flight experience!