x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Travelling with Kids: first solo flight with the kids

With five and a half years of parenting experience under my belt, I may no longer be a nervous new mum but there is always this niggling doubt.

I've known this moment would come for some time, but with only days to go until the maiden flight I am experiencing a little trepidation. My husband assures me it will all go smoothly and I will actually enjoy myself but I am yet to be convinced.

For those unsure what I am referring to, I am about to embark on my first solo flight with my two children. Yes, I've had two children for a while - my youngest, a boy, is now two years and eight months; yes, I am perfectly capable of looking after my own offspring and, yes, they know how to behave in public. It's just that I've never flown on my own with both of them before as I've always had a relative on hand to help.

My husband on the other hand is a pro, happily jetting back and forth from the UK to the UAE with our two little tearaways in tow. He tells me they are angelic and love to play games, watch cartoons, peer at the people in the row behind and get overexcited about their airline meal. And while I don't doubt this for a second - because my children are, on the whole, pretty chilled-out travellers - there's always the "what if?".

I have never forgotten a flight several years ago when my daughter, now five, was 16 months old. A late walker, she delighted in being able to parade up and down the aisles of the plane grinning at all the passengers while clutching onto my hand for the entire seven-hour journey. Despite my best efforts she was unwilling to sit in her seat and refused point blank to have a nap.

She finally fell asleep as we came into land at Heathrow, which meant carrying her slumbering body all the way through passport control until I could deposit her in a pushchair at the baggage area. I then had to use one hand to wheel the trolley and another to wheel the pushchair. By the time I reached the arrivals hall I was slightly hysterical with exhaustion.

Now, with five and a half years of parenting experience under my belt, I may no longer be a nervous new mum but there is always this niggling doubt that I may not be able to cope if one of them has a tantrum, throws up everywhere or screams blue murder as we take off.

All of these scenarios are highly unlikely, so perhaps my apprehension about the impending flight home has more to do with my lack of confidence as a parent and less about my kids' ability to behave. It would appear, I just need to have a little more faith in myself and stop fretting about something that hasn't even happened yet.

arayer@thenational.ae