When Five Is The New Three
“Sadly for her, little Callum decided to push the boat out
and go head-to-head with
a public showdown”.
My husband and I recently placed our lives into the hands of barely out-of-nappies pilots and crew, when we flew from London to the South-West of France on a let’s say, a very budget airline.
We were seated over the wing and I somehow managed to cram my long, 6ft frame into their tiny, lego-sized seats. Just.
What I didn’t quite manage, was to successfully peel my eyes away from the seemingly flimsy wing-flaps, from my window seat vantage.
I mean those wings, to my untrained engineering eyes, seemed very thin and bendy. Surely they weren’t equipped to actually propel us above the clouds and manage to stay there?
I nervously asked my husband how often did he think the engineers checked the plane?
His answer, which didn’t help my anxious state in the slightest was “well as often as is needed – but of course there are things that just happen without them knowing. You know like when we are up in the air”.
Seriously? That was my point exactly.
How was this tiny, yellow tin-can actually going to make it all the way across the pond to France (and back hopefully)?
Fortunately, alcoholic beverages were available, at a wallet crushing £7 for a thimble sized sip. But nonetheless, it passed the time and eased the vice-like grip on my chest.
I am not a nervous flyer, at all. Having worked for two major international airline companies for nearly ten years, my husband, kids and I have racked up many, many air miles over the years. But this no-frills aircraft – they are in a class of their own, on the scale of “are-we-going-to-die-today”?
One of the great blessings of being crammed into a tiny area, with reconstructed air-flow, the stale smell of urine and the noxious farts from the old men in the back of the plane, snoring with their mouths wide open, is the different styles of parenting that one can observe. Parenting being one of my most favourite subjects, this was in a fashion, a silver-lining.
And as I had nothing else to do besides try and find clean air pockets around the various foul intestinal smells, I learnt something new in the parenting world.
Did you know that the popular and well-used parental strategy for discipline, of counting-to-three-until-your-children-make-the-wise-decision-that-you- are-actually-the-boss-and-anything-over-three-means-you-will-lose-your-shit, – is indeed out-dated?
It’s not three anymore. Get this.
Five is the new three.
I surely didn’t and not one, but two families on that dreaded flight, counted to five. I felt out-of-the-loop. Did I miss the memo? Why had nobody told me?
I mean, when snotty nosed Callum, (sorry if you have a Callum. I am sure he doesn’t have a snotty nose. This one did, unfortunately) kept standing on his seat and using it as a trampoline, his mum told him she would count to five, thus giving him much needed seconds to assess the naughty to nice scale.
At first I thought, “oh she means three, everyone says three”.
But no, she counted to five!
Sadly for her, little Callum decided to push the boat out and go head-to-head with a public showdown. Wiping his snot on his already green sleeve and occasionally on the back of the chair. Five didn’t cut the mustard with Callum. Possibly, mum should have stuck to three….
But then – and maybe these two families were related, now I come to think of it, as across the aisle, Maisy decided to have a lash at 101 ways to wind your parent up in a tin-can. She did remarkably well for a tiny human. Kudos for her manipulative negotiation skills, I was well impressed.
Maisy wanted Nutella dippers and Coke and any sane parent will know that this sugar-sugar combo on a good day, at a park with a tonne of space to go wild, is a gamble.
In a plane, it’s deadly.
But it’s not an easy call.
Either give the kid the sugar and be thankful for those few quiet, stolen moments of peace, before her little body goes into overdrive.
Or say no.
Mum, wisely (but in the short-term unwisely for us – the rest of the passengers) said no.
Maisy predictably sobbed her little heart out and mum started the count – to five.
Let’s be honest, five was never going to work for Maisy, or her mum, or us.
That mother could have counted to five hundred and Maisy would still be screaming. So she did the next best thing. She bought her the Nutella and Coke and for the rest of the flight we watched her whizz up and down the little plane, her insulin-fuelled legs working overtime, ducking and diving under and around the flight attendants, with frightening speed and accuracy.
However, in all honesty, I think it was Maisy’s constant distribution of weight in the middle of the plane, that balanced us perfectly and enabled us to land with our lives still intact.
And for that reason alone, I am so very grateful for the new three to five rule. Even if it didn’t work.