My worst nightmare on a flight has happened. We were THOSE people on a plane: The people with the out-of-control toddler kicking and screaming, all red and soaked in sweat, busting out of the seatbelt and generally having the worst meltdown anyone has ever seen on a plane, ever.
My expectations for this event began earlier, not long after we arrived at Tauranga Airport. As my two children ran excitedly through the terminal, an immaculately-dressed woman with three beautiful, immaculately-dressed daughters and a baby boy emerged from the Koru Lounge door. The children wandered in front of her like ducklings in quiet perfection.
I knew then that my children were going to make me look even worse than my tired, scruffy, mildly hungover-self.
The first flight to Auckland wasn't too bad. The next flight, to Nelson, was horrific.
Why did it have to be on a plane that we experienced the longest, loudest and worst tantrum we have ever seen from our son?
The air hostess came in the middle of our 20 minutes of hell to ask if his ears were causing him pain.
Bless you, lady, but no one can help us now.
As my husband sat across the aisle battling to restrain our boy - who was by now a professional wrestler screaming "NO, NO, NO!" - The hostess knelt down between us for an awkward chat.
Here my son seized the opportunity to pull his signature move. He arched his back and threw himself backwards, smashing his head into the hostess' ear.
He's a solid unit, our boy, with a rock for a head, so it hurt and she let us know. If I wasn't feeling so sorry for myself, I would have felt worse for her. At least it was going to end for her when the plane landed.
"Haaaap, haaaaap," (help, help), he continued. "Daaaaap, Daaaaaap" (stop, stop).
Right back at you, buddy!
Then the hostess noticed he had slipped out of his seatbelt. "I wonder if there is something you can do because the pilots won't land while he is like this."
Can they not just crash the plane and put everyone out of the misery we are inflicting on them?
The problem, really, is that he is almost two. He does not like being restrained. So 20 minutes stuck in one place resulted in a scene from The Exorcist.
The plane landed and he calmed down as soon as he was out of the seatbelt. We walked into the terminal with a quiet little boy who greeted his Nana with the biggest grin around.
At least one of us was smiling.