My salad dressing days

Competitive parenting
April 18, 2006, 8:22 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

TH and I take TS and TD on a flight.

All the books suggest factoring in the possibility of long delays, unscheduled stopovers in Abu Dhabi and failed provision of hot inflight meals. So, although we are only taking a one hour internal flight, we decide to cater for all eventualities and duly pack two rucksacks containing everything barring the proverbial kitchen sink.

We have countless Tupperware boxes containing foodstuffs of varying levels of excitement.

We have books. Books with holes in them (including a classic of its genre: Eric Carle’s ‘The Very Hungry Catepillar’), lift-the-flap books and books with pictures to talk about.

But most importantly, says TH, we have our imagination.

Before we get to the departure gate, following heavy resistance to being strapped into their buggies, we very quickly play what I regard as our trump card: chocolate buttons.

Not only that, but biscuits are promised “later”.

Finally, we board the aircraft. It has been decided that I will sit with TS and TH with TD.

Things do not start well.

TS is not overly keen on wearing his seatbelt.

After some extended riffling, I produce a small packet of raisins.


I rummage around some more for a Tupperware containing a favourite dry cereal.

This is marginally more appealing. TS’s attention is diverted for about ninety seconds before he begins tugging at his seatbelt again.

Next a box of apple juice is produced. This seems popular.


So we revert to the remaining chocolate buttons. Whilst these are being smothered over the lower parts of TS’s face, I stick my nose between the two seats in front which contain TH and TD.

‘So, how’s it going?’ I inquire.

‘Fine,’ replies TH, as he casually flicks through his magazine. ‘How ’bout you?’

‘Not too bad, although I’ve pretty much used up three quarters of our bribery implements.’

‘Oh dear,’ he laughs. ‘We’ve just been chatting and she’s had a few sips of water from her beaker.’

I lean back in my seat, somewhat despondent.

The plane begins to taxi down the runway. Just as we leave terra firma, I experience a brief surge of pride as I manage to convince TS of the entertainment value of shaking some raisins in an unused sick bag.


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