My husband and I agree that serenity, or at least the appearance of it, is the key to parenting. And an invaluable tool for just getting through an airport with two small children.
We left for Gibraltar last Thursday. Our planned departure time was 10am. Our actual departure time was 10.05am. Brilliant. (I had factored in an extra hour since my husband is famous for his lateness, a trait that stems way back to pre-fatherhood days and hasn't improved with age.) We had to turn around only once: for a forgotten 'Bunny My Honey', a current favoured soft toy, and played the What Else Do You Think We Have Forgotten? game all the way to the airport. Even with the false start, we still arrived at the airport TOO EARLY TO CHECK IN.
Gilby slept through a leisurely lunch; Gertie was immaculately behaved in the restaurant. Security was quick, and although we had to dismantle the pram into its component parts to satisfy the guards and the pot of bubbles I had bought to amuse Gertie was not deemed particularly appropriate, we progressed in a timely fashion, almost sauntering to the departure gate with Daddy and I shrugging at each other and smiling smugly at how easy everything seemed to be. Ha ha.
We took advantage of the airline's policy for priority boarding for those with children under 5, although this did involve minor fracas with barging passengers who thought it would be helpful to surge forward and block any potential gangways to the plane, snorting indignantly as we tried to get past them.
Once aboard, we settled into our seats with a puzzle and some books to amuse Gertie, and Gilby didn't seem to mind his seatbelt too much. All was well. Until it became apparent about four seconds before take-off that Gilbert had done something in his nappy that needed to be dealt with immediately. It would not wait until 15 minutes after take-off. You know the sort of nappy I mean. Daddy leapt out of his seat to scowls from the stewards and grabbed the necessary accoutrements from the overhead locker. He leaned over and we attempted the 'in-situ two-man-nappy-change' perfected in pitch-black darkness over many nights. However all that training evidently didn't pay off and a below-par nappy change began a chain of events that mostly involved Daddy being covered in various unsavoury liquids of one description or another.
Gilby filled his nappy again almost immediately, but this time the tell-tale yellow came straight through his clothes. Happily for me Daddy was now holding baby and therefore in possession of yellow-stained jeans (his only pair). This was a good thing as I would have been far crosser and less serene than he.
Gertie asked for her juice cup and Daddy was already up trying to clean his trousers so in charge of getting it for her. The pressure from the plane meant that removing the lid resulted in a powerful upwards gush of liquid to rival an eruption of Vesuvius. Once again this somehow went in the direction of Daddy's jeans.
Gertie found the lure of an aeroplane toilet strong and went at least ten times on the two-hour flight. Since I was back feeding Gilby for a lot of the flight, the responsibility fell to Daddy and whilst there were no real 'axe-didents', several pairs of knickers and tights were required due to inadequate bottom placement, and, you've guessed it, Daddy's jeans found themselves in the firing line again.
I found all this predictably hilarious, which didn't do much for Daddy's serenity levels but did a power of good to mine.