The Second Noble Truth- Life (with kids) is suffering.
It has been said that parenting is the actual Seventh Series of Ashtanga Yoga, but whoever came up with that phrase obviously hasn’t met my kids. My kids bypassed the seventh series – the eighth and the ninth too for that matter – parenting my kids is a double figures type of practice, or to quote Morrissey ‘November spawned a monster’!
For those who didn’t have the pleasure of reading about my last single parenting journey to the apocalypse, please fill your boots and check that out here. Oh Joy.
So when I said I’d quit single parenting travel after the above Armageddon shit show what I actually meant to say was I’d quit travelling alone with Easy -my mind body and soul could not be dragged through that particular experience ever again. But travelling alone with Boo my bright and bubbly 6 year old – well that’d be a breeze surely? Well surely not as it happens …
Yet another school holiday provided me with an opportunity of nipping back to Blighty (with Boo) to catch up with friends and family and remind myself of the incredible climate that Manchester can boast of (incredible in that it can rain, snow, sleet, rain more, be colder than the antartic, sideways rain, have a glimpse of sun before yes more rain and all in just one day). The air fare for 1 adult and 1 child was actually cheaper than the racket of winter camp LA – go figure.
We arrived at LAX with probably too much time to spare but I thought this would be a great opportunity to read my book whilst Boo harassed other kids into playing with her at the play area at the airport. Big fat fail – either the Child Catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang had been doing overtime or all the parents had spotted Boo arriving and hid in the toilets with their kids. She has a reputation you know. So I had two choices – get involved in Boo’s psychotic hide n seek / tag games or the usual parenting ‘go to ‘ in these circumstances .. buy her off. Yes of course I chose the latter, and Boo’s buying off tipple of choice is candy (or sweets for my UK brothers and sisters). After spending what seemed like a ‘trouser pulling down’ amount of money on 3 separate items of candy (what is it with airports and prices – do they have ANY idea of what the price of candy is anywhere else in the world, or do they feel they have their own little country so they can charge what they want?*) we headed for the flight.
Yes I know what you’re thinking here … ‘ooh Matt you’ve given your daughter a bunch of candy right before an eleven hour flight , that’s gonna come back to bite you on the ass’ . In just under an hour of being air born, buying my daughter 3 bags of candy came back to bite me on the ass. It had all be going so well. In fact there are distinct similarities between the start of this flight with Boo and the other one with Easy – perhaps they were in collusion with each other, I wouldn’t put it past them. So the candy had the opposite effect of what it normally does to Boo i.e. normally she’d be bouncing off the seats and around the aisles whilst I’d be pretending to be asleep pretending she wasn’t my daughter, but after scoffing down the LOT on take-off she promptly fell asleep. Ah happy days I could finally settle down to my book. Was it page 4 or page 5 I had gotten to when Boo’s deep aero slumber came to a rather ass biting end when she stirred with the murmur of ‘daddy I feel sick’ – I pretended not to hear – she must be talking in her sleep I prayed to any particular God who might be listening – given I was in their neighbourhood you would have thought they might have helped me out here?
And then it happened.
In the time one could say get the sick bag out of the seat pocket in front of you , Boo had gone from Daddy I feel sick to Daddy I’m going to be sick to actually sitting bolt upright and puking her little guts out into the cupping of my hands. I was actually quite proud of myself that I had managed to drop my book and cup my hands underneath her mouth in no less than 3 nano seconds – maybe I was a cowboy in a previous life. We both looked down into the marinated candy infused barf that was swilling around my hand bowl, well things could be worse I thought. And then things actually did get worse. Boo coughed and then heaved a second honk helping on top of the first taking the total portion to the very edge of both my nerves and the rim of the bowl. Boo blinked looked at me then looked at my hands then lay down and fell fast asleep. We were sat in two of three seats, Boo next to the window, me in the middle and Mr Smelly Fart who was sat slumped snoring like a beached whale in the seat next to the aisle. So WTF am I going to do now I considered my options – I was hardly gonna try step over Mr.SF and make my way to the bathroom – even figuring that out in my mind gave me a headache as that was a plan destined to end in tears with me tripping and spilling. I know I’ll call a flight attendant who can bring me a XL sick bag and help clean this mess up. But Matt again I hear you say how on earth can you press the button to call said flight attendant with your hands full of kiddie stinking vomit (which was now mixing it up with the aroma from Mr.Smelly Fart’s backside and making me feel like I was gonna gip myself any minute) well my friends this is where my 20 years plus of yoga practice was finally going to pay off as I precariously balanced the contents of Boo’s chunder (does this blog hold the record for sick euphemisms?) above my head and whilst sticking my cranium between my arms proceeded to press the smallest on screen ‘call flight attendant’ button WITH MY NOSE! Yes folks I kid you not, just picture that if you can – Matt Ryan advanced yoga teacher using his yogic dexterity to press a button on a small aeroplane seat screen with his nose. And yes of course that didn’t work – it seems these buttons are touch sensitive with fingers only – how noseist can you get! It was now obvious to me that ‘someone up there’ well ‘up here‘ didn’t like me very much, and considering the emotional and mental scars created by Easy’s shit show on the last flight one could safely assume that I wasn’t going to heaven.
Thinking on my feet well with my feet , I kicked all the contents of the foot well underneath the seat in front of me and threw Boo’s business ( eye rolling emoji) on the floor – what else could I do. I covered the mess with a couple of sick bags (whatever) wiped my hands clean and proceeded to update my wonderful wife on how the journey was going so far with a ‘what’s app’ message (caps lock on) There’s nothing that says you are royally pissed off more than a caps lock on what’s app message.
Me: I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS IS FXXKING HAPPENING AGAIN
Wife: What’s happened now?
Me: YOUR* FXXKING DAUGHTER HAS JUST PUKED EVERYWHERE
(why is it parents always refer to their children as ‘your’ to their spouse when the child has done something wrong)
Wife: Oh No, is she sick, does she have a fever?
Me: NO SHE ATE A BUNCH OF CANDY BEFORE THE FLIGHT
Wife: Right, I think there’s a little moral to this story Matt.
So a word of advice to all you budding yoga enthusiasts – Yoga will help make you become more flexible and strong, it might even help you to press an on flight monitor screen with your nose. It probably won’t help you from losing your shit when you fly solo with your kids.
* ok ok so I stole that line from a Seinfeld ‘bit’.