The incessant screaming woke me. A number of nearby passengers were looking over their shoulders at the source of the noise. Three rows behind me, a child was absolutely losing her shit. Being high enough in the air to see the curvature of the Earth meant options for escaping the noise were limited. I stood up and headed to the bathroom. A quick glance towards the rear of the aeroplane allowed me to see the little girl; golden-haired, blue-eyed, pink lips, with her mouth yawning wide, emitting ear-rupturing screams.

I recognised the little girl as being my daughter. Beside her, a slightly older little boy was belting her with balled up fists. Meet my son. On the other side was their dad, trying to stop the fists of fury and the screams of outrage. AS I pulled the bathroom door closed, slid the lock into place and listened to the muffled roar of engines drown out all other sounds, I felt a bit sorry for that man. He’s a nice guy. He could probably have used a hand. Pity.

I’m not averse to hiding from those kids. The eldest has a tendency to talk all the time and the youngest enjoys high-pitched indignation. There is a third but I don’t pay much attention to him. Whichever one is in the process of being bothersome, I waste no time in high-tailing it out of there. Why stick around when there’s someone else to sort it out? Why stick around when there isn’t?

This has been a winning tactic for me until now. With my three offspring entering adolescence and the tween years, apparently, my strategy of avoidance has been misinterpreted as non-interference and approachability. Suddenly, I’m persona grata. I’m the cool one with the chill attitude. I’m the one to talk to about all their tedious, angsty problems because I “listen”.

“Hey mum, can we talk?”

No. No, we cannot. “Sure, sweetie, what’s up?”

See? I used the words, “What’s up”. That’s a part of my problem. I’m naturally down with their lingua franca. After appearing so welcoming AND cool, I am pinioned to a wall while one them yabbers on about a little piece of nothingness so mind-shatteringly tedious that I begin to understand, nay, feel the truly awesome endlessness of eternity.

By the time I start staring vacant-eyed and drooling into a cup, they’re feeling all dandy and move on with their day.

My husband thinks this is great. His years of patience and dad jokes have finally paid off. They don’t want a bar of him. He doesn’t even have to hide in the bathroom. He can sit on a couch just emitting his dadness. If that doesn’t work a single pun will send the little darlings scurrying in my direction.

And there I was, for years, thinking he was a sucker.

“Hey mum, can we talk?”

Argh. Go and watch some porn.

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