This witty mummy blogger breaks down the stress of traveling solo with small child in toe, and somehow makes us LOL!
Ah yes, here I am again, making my way back to the Motherland, small Monkey in toe.
I should feel happy to be heading home to my family but this is the stuff of nightmares. I mean just getting myself home was a hassle but, ya know, it was just me and my suitcase...doable! Now...now though, it pains me to even think of. Let me tell you how it went down...
Firstly, you book the ticket that used to cost, say £60. This now costs £150!!! That's £50 return for a suitcase and £40 return for the Monkey. I have to check my suitcase in now, as I can't manage carrying it, the buggy and the Monkey down the stairs and onto the plane. £50 for a suitcase, that technically should only hold my stuff! £40 for a child that will break my heart sitting on my knee for the longest hour & fifteen minutes of my life and of course he's NOT allowed his own suitcase!
Now the journey itself...why?...why? aren't all train stations wheelchair accessible? For the love a God...help a mother out!! My closest station is NOT wheel friendly, and so I gotta get myself, baby and baggage on the bus to Blackfriars. Aaaagh...the nightmare begins, but so far small Monkey is behaving and I'm not too stressed.
At the station, the train arrives, I always panic. Omg, can I get the buggy on without falling down the gap? getting caught in the doors? What if the doors close when I jump back out to grab my suitcase? We do, however, survive all these things...sometimes with a little help from a kind passer by. On the train, I've tried to make us take up as little space as possible. I feel guilty, some of the looks I get are "how inconsiderate of me to dare travel with a baby, a buggy ANNNND a suitcase". Monkey starts getting restless, Peppa is called for...bye bye phone battery. Ah but this time Peppa just doesn't do it, he wants out! Feck sake! Now the battle to keep him in the seat beside me begins. He's ok for a while, ya know...there's a tree...look at the houses...ooh a red car...another train. "Down", he says. "No baby, you've gotta stay here, here stand up and look out the window properly"....baaaaad move. Why, in the name of God does he want to lick it? Finally we get to the airport, small Monkey is normally fairly co-operative at this point and gets into the buggy without too much hassle...I try to remember to come off the train my butt first...buggy first is frowned upon by railstaff you know.
Bag checked in, small Monkey is now writhing in the buggy trying to get out, "down Mammy, down, Mammy, Mammy, down" is on repeat, "just one minute sweetheart, good boy" is my reply for the next 20mins until I take him out for what I believe to be the pinnacle of my stress! Customs! Fanfeckingtastic! Thank God I checked the case in! So now I've gotta try not lose my child but load all my bits up onto the belt, empty my pockets, take out his bottles, his creams, his yogurts! Jayzus!! Fold the buggy and put that up...or not...whichever the attendant seems to prefer on the day. Of course small Monkey seizes the opportunity to flee...back in the bloody direction we just came! All our stuff is gone through the screening causing a build up as I'm trying to catch my child, who of course finds this hilarious.
I'm sweating with frustration and embarrassment at holding up the place. The family friendly queue is meant to be an understanding place, right? We're through, bits are collected, wrestling begins! Small Monkey does NOT want to get back in the buggy, he cries, screams no, tries various moves...the worm...the ironing board...the slip-n-slide...the roll - but I win!! Yes Mammy wins!! Mammy's fecking sweating buckets now...why is this bloody place so hot?
We're queuing at the gates, my child is still venting his anger and frustration. I'm trying to be the calm, cool mother. I actually want to murder somebody. Through the gates, boarding begins, joy! I release my disgruntled child from his restraints and collapse the buggy. I've been told there's a lift. Thank God, a small ray of sunshine on my day. HAH! I get through the doors to be told by another attendant, the lift is out of service, I may use the stairs. Great!! Shur I'm a fecking superhero...I pick up Monkey and tuck buggy under me arm to manoeuvre the stairs. Buggy is catching on steps, I'm gonna fall, I'm gonna fall...phew another passenger has offered to help. Now of course it's raining but it's ok one of the luggage loaders runs to take the buggy from me...nice one, thanks!
Finally we're on board! My coat gets caught on the arm of a seat, I chance putting Monkey down, he's cool...shur where can he go? He can keep walking past our seat and manage to wriggle a person (putting a suitcase up) ahead of me. He looks back at me smiling! Dammit! The stewardess stops him and gives me the look...ya know the look that says "why is there this much distance between you and your child? Careless!" Wooo we've got a window seat...that we need to pass two very businesslike people to get too. Why God? Why? Excuse me, sorry, God, sorry, sorry...I'm in!
In that tiny moment I've lost a pint of sweat, but wait, yes...I smell a poo! Mother of God! Monkey hates me! Excuse me, sorry, sorry, God, I'm so sorry....to looks of annoyance being fired at me. We squeeeeeze into the loo with the baby change! Monkey just about fits it, I hop his head of the wall in the process of lying him down and getting him changed before take off. *sigh*
Hi, sorry, I'm back, excuse me, sorry...more rolling of eyes. Jeezus...could they at least have the decency to not let me see them do it! Thankfully I'm pretty lucky, after going through all the colours on the information leaflet on the back of the seat, Monkey sleeps. I drift in and out of that annoying, head snapping, was I snoring/dribbling snooze? Sheesh!
We've landed! Yesss! It's raining! Typical! I wait patiently to get out of my seat....I have a toddler you see so heaven forbid I put anybody else out by trying to get out first. Well what a bunch of helpful geniuses! Seriously! Every worker on the ground is wearing a hooded, heavy raincoat as it's BUCKETING down, but yeah it makes perfect sense to LEAVE people's buggies lying on the tarmac in the rain! I could go ape right now! I drag the buggy into the arrival building and pop it up...seat is drowned. Lord give me strength! (Surely I am half a stone lighter now with the stress induced sweating I've done?) So I have to use the rain cover as a wet sheet, this does not go down well with groggy child. He does the ironing board and I feel like I'm a monster when I have to try and force the belts around him...he's wiggling that much he nearly slides out over the top of the buggy. It's done though, he's in...not happy but in, God love him. Right we're nearly there, I'm about to wake up from my nightmare but there's one last blip to face. We're queuing at passport control, ya know, where you queue because obviously you want to get into Ireland. The queues are really long today, we're almost at our turn, standing patiently on the line...patience wearing thin mind, and some guy taps me on the shoulder and says are you going or what? I snap my head around, " what the hell do you want me to do jump on your one's back? Of course I'm going! Do you think I'm standing here for the craic!!!!
Ah yes, the joys of travelling with a small person, a tedious and trying operation, and from the treatment/ looks you get, I'm sure people think parents with small kids should not be allowed to travel!
Donna Eldridge, mummy blogger and occasional writer at www.familyfriendlyhq.ie
Donna tells us she's from the greatest footballing village of all time, Rhode in Co. Offaly. She moved to south London on holiday after her Leaving cert, 15yrs ago. She's married with a little boy. She's worked in various pubs, ran one and currently work for a bedroom furniture retail company.