A loud, repetitive sound, not unlike rapid machine gun fire, echoes around the almost empty plane, which is basking in the late afternoon sunlight on the tarmac of Leeds Bradford airport.
I hope to goodness that Tadpole won’t choose this precise moment to fill her nappy, as I won’t be able to remedy the situation until the plane is airborne, and the fasten seatbelt signs have been switched off. I am relieved that no-one seems to have noticed this little outburst, however.
Until, that is, Tadpole yells “Mummy! Did a prout!” at the top of her lungs, collapsing into a mirthful little mass of giggles.
Unfortunately, I fear I am the only person on the plane who heard that all important punctuation. Tadpole doesn’t do personal pronouns yet, which can give rise to a certain ambiguity.
Cheeks blazing, I reach for my magazine. Tadpole promptly grabs it, giving me her reading material in exchange. I sigh, and leaf through her brand new colouring book, while Tadpole pores over photos of British C-list celebs in Heat, seemingly fascinated. As she hasn’t had a nap today, and is therefore a volatile little element, I decide against challenging her.
Instead, I unveil my secret weapon. A little unwise, at this early stage in the journey, but needs must.
I pull a pair of gingerbread men out of my bag.
She may be old enough to have her own seat, wear her own seatbelt, and have her own drink and snacks from the air hostesses’ trolley, but she’s not yet old enough to eat a gingerbread man and read a magazine simultaneously.
Mummy: 1, Tadpole 0.
Only one and a half hours to go…