Melissa Doyle writes about that longed-for moment when you hit the parenting sweet spot.
There is a great book by Paul Reiser, the actor from the nineties TV show Mad About You, called Babyhood. It starts with Paul and his wife on a plane watching a couple with their two small children. The little ones are screaming, vomiting and generally running amok, and Paul and his wife look on in horror, vowing to never go down that path.
Spoiler alert if you plan on reading it: the book ends with a similar scene on a plane, but this time Paul and his wife are the parents and another childless couple is looking on.
I laughed and could relate so much when I read it.
Nick has inherited the carsick gene from me. And with the pride of a boy who still laughs at fart jokes, he can name every location he’s called for an emergency stop to chuck, or, worse still, the places where he hasn’t managed to call out in time.
He’s chucked on planes, just as we were coming in to land, leaving me on my hands and knees mopping up noodles. I wonder if we are the only family who pinches the sick bags from planes and stashes them in a handbag. Forget the mags and biscuits.
He’s chucked on long car trips. He’s chucked on rides. He’s chucked into his dad’s baseball cap when that was the only container available.
Travelling with kids can be a challenge. There’s the sheer amount of stuff you need, especially when they’re babies. There are the boredom levels that kick in no matter how many fun car games you can make up. And there are the things you can’t control, like weather delays.
Sitting in an airport late on a Sunday night, ears cocked for updates on whether our plane will even arrive, let alone fly us home to Sydney, is frustrating enough when you’re an adult. For kids it’s an eternity. As is watching the fog roll in and registering that each minute we are delayed is going to produce two very tired children and a fallout that I’ll have to deal with 24 hours later.
Some airlines have now introduced child-free zones on board—a direct response to consumer demand.
Before having children we all vow there will be minimal impact on our lives. We will continue to frequent restaurants and simply slip the baby capsule under the table. We’ll still go to friends’ houses because our child will be the cutest and most socially gracious toddler around. We will simply bring them up that way, to mix in an adult world and behave.