Flying solo with a baby
Well, I survived the first solo flight with Minnie. Even better, so did she and the rest of the passengers. And that’s despite the plane from Lanzarote taking off late – I think around 75% of my flights with a baby have been delayed, way higher than my usual rate. The universe has a twisted sense of humour.
Admittedly, I had a few helping hands – my brother and Dad dropped us off at the airport, so were able to help manoeuvre the buggy, car seat and trolley with suitcase, as well as saving a place in the queue while I gave Minnie her tea. Check-in opened exactly two hours before departure, so there was no way to get through early to feed her, and waiting until afterwards would have meant a stressful scuttle to the gate.
But then I was on my own. Or, as it turns out, not completely. People are nice.
When you get morons like Jeremy Clarkson saying babies should go in the hold (yes, I know he only does it to get a reaction), it’s easy to forget that not everyone is sending out waves of hatred when they see a baby preparing to board (big blue eyes and a cute smile do go a long way as well).
So I want to thank the lady behind me in the security queue who helped hoist the buggy up onto the belt, and then held ‘la nina preciosa’ while I unfolded it on the other side. To be honest, I think I could have done the Maclaren Volo one-handed with Minnie on my hip, but given the way the two of them were enjoying their impromptu cuddle, who was I to break it up?
Then the security employee manning (womanning?) the X-ray who realised I was on my own and let me sort out all my belongings at the end of the belt rather than trying to transport everything to the tables at the side like everyone else.
Also the guy in front of me in the boarding queue, who helped me get the buggy into its bag while Minnie was strapped to my front and determined to grab the grubby wheels. And the five people in the queue around me who helped entertain her as we all stood boredly as the boarding queue failed to actually move – special mention to the man with the crutches who spent at least five minutes playing peekaboo from behind a passport.
Lastly, the couple returning from the Ironman super-killer-triathlon that had taken place in Lanzarote, sitting next to us on the flight (and, worryingly, looking less knackered than me) who joined in the entertaining, helped stop her nose-diving off the seat as I tried to get the infant belt fitted, carried on with their game of Uno without any pitying/cross sideways looks when Minnie melted down out of sheer tiredness and got my bag down from the overhead locker when we landed.
And as my reward for finally managing to calm her to sleep in my arms? She snoozed for most of the flight, enabling me several uninterrupted hours to read my book for the first time in the holiday.
Image: Rainier N/Flickr