Flying around the world with two little kids proves to be an exhausting test for Nic Hamilton's sanity - and for his marriage.
The cabin lights are out because everyone is asleep. Everyone that is, except my 2-year-old daughter, who is standing on the armrest in the middle aisle of an A380, the world's largest passenger plane, singing Do-Re-Mi from The Sound of Music at the top of her lungs.
I pull her down, but with every attempt, she goes into a defiant squeal that jolts people awake. And she's mastered the ability to anchor herself by holding the seats in such a way that she becomes impossible to move.
When I finally wrestle her down, she knees me on my full bladder. I wonder, briefly, where you could hide a body on a passenger plane. Instead, I implore her in a pathetic, begging voice, to be quiet. It doesn't work because she's 2 and she's bored as all hell. Instead, she jumps on her sleeping 4-year-old sister, who starts wailing.
We're only five hours in and there's still eight-and-a-half hours to go. I stare at my wife with a crazed look, which could be interpreted as me blaming her for being halfway responsible for bringing these two demons into the world.
I mouth to her to pass me the iPad - the children's apps are our go-to placation strategy, deployed regularly to give everyone five minutes' peace. Because she's wearing earplugs to help her sleep, she talks louder than normal.
"What? I can't understand what you're saying," she says angrily, misinterpreting my look as an accusation.
"Where is the iPad?" I hiss louder, and this time with a hint of accusation for not having the thing ready and primed.
We turn reading lights on and rummage around in the garbage pile of child detritus that has accumulated under our seats.
She keeps talking loudly without realising it.
"It's gone flat, because you didn't charge it fully, you halfwit."
Travelling long-haul for 30 hours with two small children is about as traumatising as it gets.
It's the parenting equivalent of the Coast to Coast. People wish you good luck and a safe flight at the airport, not because they're worried the plane will be shot out of the sky by Russian separatists, but because they know you're walking into the ultimate test of your marriage and the love you have for your children.
Fellow passengers' expressions change from holiday face to horror face when they realise they'll be sitting near us.
Children instinctively know that a plane is the best place to make mum and dad look like the worst parents in the world.
Why, for example, does my 4-year-old reserve a loud American accent only for long-haul flights - is it to give the appearance we sit her in front of the TV all day? And why does she ask me profound questions now, like, "Daddy, are you going to die?" in a really loud voice, at this particular time? Then take the opportunity for random acts of violence? Although to be fair, the loud slap to her daddy's face was probably the only enjoyment the other passengers received for sitting near us.
As we stumble off the plane carrying sleeping children, there are no applauding crowds handing out bottles of electrolytes and medals.
Our endurance test hasn't ended.
Jet lag awaits.