After nearly missing our flight from Dunedin, Andrew decided we should be better prepared for our respective flights to Dubai/Dublin.
“Right, Niamhie,” he said. “Since the grandparents aren’t coming for lunch on Sunday morning, we can go to the airport early. Let’s see . . . flight is at– when was it again? Six o’clock, right. So let’s leave the house at . . . four thirty. Five latest.”
Lovingly I replied, “Well, I don’t fucking know about you, but your child and I are leaving at two.” And flicked my hair in a manner that swept aside further discussion.
We arrived at the airport in plenty of time, were purely coincidentally in possession of all travel documents, managed to check onto the correct flight, and didn’t get lost on the way to the boarding gate. It would have counted as one of our more successful experiences if Finn hadn’t yarfed down Andrew’s top and shorts and himself in the airport cafe. His projectile range included my groin, making it look as if I was either mildly incontinent or had been laughing indecently.
I’d brought one change of clothes for Finn, which I applied before we’d even left Auckland Airport. I ended up washing both sets three times during the full 28 hour journey, draping his all-in-ones over the video monitors to dry them.
Everyone said babies sleep well on flights, something about the noise of the engines, very soothing they reported; Finn would spend the entire flight asleep.
Well, did he bugger bum shit bollox. (Ah, that would be: no.) It didn’t help that the bassinet had to be stowed for takeoff, landing and turbulence. I would say Finn slept a total of 8 hours and spent the remainder climbing up my face or roaming wild and free around my lap like a fucking jaguar exploring the Serengeti.
Although it was great having Andrew’s company to Dubai, there was a limit to how much he could assist. The change facilities on board were so cramped I had to unclip the change table from the passage outside the toilet, then pass in the nappy bag, then the baby, then wedge myself in before closing and locking the door.
On the leg from Sydney we sat beside a woman travelling alone with her two and four year old daughters. She didn’t look like she was enjoying motherhood much, possibly because her progeny were devil spawn. If Finn ever behaves like that, I’m going to give him away. (Andrew: “We’ll see.”) However, she did advise me to grab as much sleep as I could, and I was glad I took her advice even though she was plainly barking (she crawled under Finn’s bassinet to finger Andrew’s iPad).
I had an altercation with one of the baggage checkers in Dubai, who attempted to communicate with me via a series of grunts and hand-signals. Gosh, how I miss Dubai’s level of service, except you know, the exact opposite.
Another baggage checker asked me to remove my laptop from the case but backed down when I tried to hand him the baby who was drooling all over the floor. Instead, he directed us towards the body-check booth where a group of Arab women waited. They descended on Finn like a bunch of extremely well-groomed crows: “What’s his name? Feen! Feen! Feen!” When I came out, he was sitting on one’s knee eating her chador and beaming away at the rest of them who were patting his head, pinching his cheeks, pulling his feet. In 10 seconds he did more for cross-continental relations than I achieved in 10 years in the UAE.
A flight attendant told me off for not securing Finn in the bassinet with the velcro tabs. I didn’t say, “Honey, I don’t care if the little fucker my precious child bounces out of the bassinet, crowd-surfs to the back of the airplane and falls out a window carelessly left open by one of the crew, probably the flight attendant who can never find her ‘presentation tray’ when she starts handing out the drinks and always forgets to come back and offer me coffee THE BITCH”, but I think she saw it in my eyes because she didn’t press the point.
A woman behind me who must have REALLY missed her grandchildren in Melbourne took him for half an hour just before we landed in Dublin – bliss.
The parents were obviously overjoyed to see Finn again – I don’t think they actually greeted me 😀