When Sophia was 6 months old my baby sister turned 30. Now there’s something to make a girl feel old. There was no way that we were missing the celebrations so we jumped on a flight to Belfast for a few days. I may have slightly underestimated the ‘flying solo’ aspect of the trip and had convinced myself and my darling husband that us girls would be absolutely fine….which we were, just with a few hilarious moments. All worth it though.
Some lessons learned:
#1 Onesies all the way
In hindsight I have found that packing onesies and baby grows (sadly, just for Sophia) rather than cute little outfits would have made full-body-changes at altitude less traumatic. You know those nappy changes that are a two-person job, but then you remember you’re on your own? Whilst crammed into the tiny airplane W.C. the last thing you need is trying to get cute little wriggly toes into tiny socks, tights and outfits with a million buttons or poppers, just as the seatbelt sign becomes illuminated.
#2 Pole-vault the trolley cart if need be
On both flights to and from Belfast I was allocated a window seat half way down the plane. Why an adult with an infant on their lap would be given this seat is beyond me. It is the furthest point from all the toilets on budget airlines and we were hemmed in on all sides. It was about 5 minutes into the trolley service when I felt rising damp on Sophia’s back…Something about the pressure up there causes rumbles and leakages that can be a serious health hazard. I should have remembered this from our previous flight but I was too busy contemplating pole-vaulting the drinks trolley as I knew there were only minutes to spare. Too many people were ordering drinks and snacks for this to end well. What I wanted to avoid was a full-body-change involving a naked baby almost rolling off the tiny changing table and into the toilet as I attempted to wash my forearms all whilst propping her up with one elbow. What do you know, that is exactly how it turned out, all as the flight attendant was knocking onthe door and politely telling me that I needed to return to my seat as the fasten seatbelt sign had been illuminated. Brilliant.
#3 Pray for a free seat beside you
Thankfully there was a really pleasant guy sitting next to us on one flight and a young kid on the other. If they hadn’t been so helpful it could have been a nightmare. He entertained Sophia by pulling funny faces and she picked up Sophia’s toys. Neither of them seemed to mind when Sophia patted them or kicked them whilst she was feeding. I, however, spent the majority of the flight saying sorry and thank you. The little girl was really sweet and particularly helpful when the lid to the Nurofen bottle disappeared under the seat in front and she recovered it. Life saver. Got me out of rather a sticky situation- ha!
#4 Keep calm; the journey will end
For us it was a one-hour flight which arrived in London at rush hour. I couldn’t find the lift at Clapham junction station so braved the stairs and was getting in everyone’s way when a very kind gentleman offered to carry my case. As I had Sophia strapped to me like a kangaroo with a Joey and needed to catch my train, I gladly accepted his help. Sophia then blew bubbles at all the commuters the whole way home as they tried to worked on their laptops. One of them laughed out loud; at least she brought a little joy to someone’s commute.
#5 Ask for help if you need it and try not to stress even if everything seems to be going pear-shaped. As Sophia and I were proceeding through security I was practically strip searched and her clothing was swabbed for I don’t know what, then my entire suitcase was emptied and swabbed and rescanned. Clearly I have dodgy look about me, as this has happened before and it keeps happening at Belfast International! This time it may have had something to do with the fact that my mother very kindly gave me a Kenwood mixer which I was taking back to England in my cabin baggage….in hindsight not the best time to bring it over!
Try to keep your sense of humour and think of the tales you will have to tell when it’s all over!