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Marisa Mackle: I can't escape the only child on the plane

I used to think travelling was a hassle; having a strange security woman getting more familiar with you than you'd allow on a first date, and handing over tweezers, lighters and expensive anti-cellulite cream (I tried to explain once that this was medication but they were having none of it).

But the nice thing was, once through security, you could wander off to the bar for a drink, or spray on perfumes, and browse the shops buying suntan lotion and getting excited about seeing the sun. Now there's four of us (myself, baby Gary, the nanny and Bob the Builder), it's a lot more stressful.

First there's the trauma of trying to pack everything into my case (maximum weight 20kg). Isn't it unfair that infants don't get to have their own suitcases? It's totally illogical because they need more stuff then anybody. When we were going to Morocco last week, I made many personal sacrifices. For example, there wasn't room for my travel hairdryer because the nappies took up so much room. My high heels had to come out of the case to make space for Gary's favourite teddy. I could only bring one novel instead of three. Then when I was almost done I realised I hadn't any swimming nappies.

Somebody told me recently about this great website where mums can log in and give each other tips.

"Only mums? Are no dads on it?" I asked. She shook her head. No surprise there then. I logged on and somebody told me where I could buy them. So I put on my snow boots and battled the harsh elements into town. When I say 'battle' I exaggerate a bit here. I used to live in Austria where the temperatures would often fall to minus 20 and everyone just got on with it and dressed appropriately.

Finally we were at the airport. When I checked in I was about to make my usual request to be seated as far away from any babies as possible. There's nothing worse than being stuck beside a very little but very loud person. But then I realised that there was actually only one baby listed as a passenger on the flight. And by law he was required to sit on my knee.

Marisa hosts a writing course in Dublin on Saturday 30th January. See www.bigsmokewritingfactory.com


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