“I need a drink,” a soft, quiet but not-at-all-sleepy voice filters into my dreams.
I ignore it.
“Mummy,” soft, quiet, unsleepy voice now moans, “I need a drink.”
“I need a drink! I need a drink! I need a drink!” voice roars.
I get out of bed, put drink in Noah’s hand, remind him we need to leave for the airport in 5 hours, put the covers back over him and get back into bed.
Bang! Bang! Beaker is whacked against the side of his bed.
Shuffle, shuffle shuffle. Covers are kicked off.
I get out of bed, remove beaker from hand, remind him we are getting up early, put covers back on, get into bed.
Repeat x 2 hours. (And this time I had not given him a giant chocolate Gruffalo).
Bleary eyed, pounding head, I need Noah to get up and get dressed. He is unconscious. I put all of the lights on and do my hair whilst having a loud conversation with my mother who is in the next room. Noah is still unconscious.
“Take your wellies off. Your wellies stay here at Nana and Papa’s house.”
“No, I’m wearing my wellies.”
“If you don’t leave your wellies here, you won’t be able to water the garden with Papa next time we come back.”
“We can bring them back with us. I want to take my wellies to my house!”
“You have different wellies at your house.”
“I want these.”
“The pilot won’t let you on the aeroplane with wellies on.”
“Because…wellies aren’t safe. If we crash, you won’t be able to run off the plane fast enough in wellies.”
He concedes to the removal of wellies. I put his shoes on, wondering vaguely if I have jinxed our flight.
We are in a restaurant having breakfast. At least, my husband and I are having breakfast; Noah is rolling around on the floor getting in everyone’s way.
Our gate is announced. It is a fifteen minute walk away. Noah refuses to go to the toilet, meaning he will 100% need to go while we are taking off beneath the fasten-your-seatbelt sign.
It is a necessary evil that we have to walk past the soft play area on the way to the gate. Noah passes it without comment and I think we are safe. But no.
“I need to go in that play area.” He stops walking ten steps past it.
“No. We need to catch our plane. We’ll miss it,” my husband tells him.
“For five minutes!” Noah insists.
Noah turns and runs off back to the play area with my husband in pursuit. Both return: my husband red faced and trying to seem nonchalant to passing gawpers; Noah kicking and screaming.
“Take this and I’ll take him,” my husband says. I am now carrying my rucksack, Noah’s trunki, my husband’s fleece, Noah’s gilet, Noah’s shoes, a bottle of water, my husband’s sunglasses and Noah’s Buzz Lightyear rucksack. I step unsteadily on to the escalator and promptly drop the Buzz Lightyear bag containing Noah’s Vtech tablet. I watch it bounce on every step down the escalator in front of me.
At the bottom of the escalator, I can hear Noah’s screams. I stand there for at least five minutes before I see my husband’s legs appear. His arms fixed tight around a very distressed Noah. We find a bench and attempt to calm Noah. Like a knight in shiny plastic, one of the airport staff arrives in a buggy. He asks us if we’d like a lift. I am so relieved, I hear angels singing the Halleluiah. But no, Noah will not get on the buggy. His screams escalate. I think they will tear his throat to pieces. My husband politely thanks the buggy driver and tells him we won’t take a lift. Above my husband’s head is a glaring yellow sign telling us our gate is a 13 minute walk from here. Thirteen minutes of hell.
“We need to sort his sleep out,” my husband informs me.
But how? How? How? How? We have tried everything.
Noah was actually good on the plane. He was good right up until 4.30 in the afternoon when I was cooking his dinner and he decided he wanted to go to the park. A tantrum ensued which culminated in Noah looking me in the eye as he deliberately weed all oved the floor.
But in between these major tantrums, there was one of those little moments where I look at my son and I thank God he is mine. We had just got home. Noah went through the house like a whirlwind, getting toys out and quickly discarding them. I made a cup of tea and went to see what he was doing. He was sitting at the table, intently cutting up one of his drawings with a confetti of paper on the floor around his chair. What gave my heart a tug was that he had taken it upon himself to put his Mickey Mouse slippers on (wrong feet of course). Such a small thing, but I felt so full of love for him, it could have split me open.
My Noah, you can be a nightmare but you are still perfect to me.