It's ironic really. A Slippery Nipple cocktail would've gone down nicely on our returning flight from Portugal.
Now, boarding a flight with an infant garners a number of things.
1) people who like babies and coo and point;
2) people who are scared of babies and look visibly relieved when you pass their seat; and in a mixture of horror and revulsion when you arrive at theirs because you're sitting right next to them.
3) the parent(s) walking on 8 million eggshells as they tentatively make sure their little bundle is going to not lose his shit.
We were the last to board the plane, now having mastered the art of colapsing and putting back together our 'tarvel system.' The Travel System is our buggy, which has been pimped especially for this trip. It consists of a basic buggy bracket, wheels and the car seat.
On the flight in, we kept an entire busload of passengers waiting while we tried to desperately put together the fucking Travel System on the runway. The car seat would not - so God help us - click onto the bracket. We pushed, we shoved, we sweated, we tried everything, only to throw everything, in pieces, one by one, onto the heaving, crowded bus because they were going to leave us there.
It was at that moment, I also remembered that I had forgotten to put on deodorant, perhaps as we had left at 4am, but by now, my odiferous pits were the last of my worries.
Anyway, where the fuck was I.
On the plane, leaving to fly back to the UK. Sebastian had been brilliant on the way here. Lying sprawled across our laps, sleeping with his doudou over his face like an Arab as usual (got more than a few raised eyebrows on the flight, let me tell you), I even managed to leaf through the Duty Free magazine with the Brit. No crying or loud baby noises to cause anyone any alarm.
We were particularly proud of the fact we managed to stick to basic airline standards as well. Via the channel between our seats, we cunningly (while he was asleep, mind), ran his seatbelt through and over. And there he lay, quite blissful and Syrian-like, for a good hour and a bit.
We tried the same tack for the return journey. Parents do this. If a method works once, you try it again and again - but most of the time you realise it just worked once, even though you keep banging away at the one method.
He was finicky and started wingeing and moaning. I was sitting, this time, next to a very hairy young woman. She had Amy Winehouse eye makeup and was sleeping sitting up. Which makes me believe she was just trying to sleep. I can sleep sitting up anywhere these days - seriously, try me - but that's because I am 8 years in lieu of real sleep and counting.
Planes make me tired too. It must be the cabin pressure or altitude or something, but all I deperately, desperately, wanted to do was get Sebastian to sleep so that I could sit back for even TEN MINUTES and catch some flies. My husband had already started, and was catching an assortment of flying objects with his wide open mouth rather nicely.
A ha! I put him on my boob. It wasn't feeding time, but the nipple worked as a lovely little plug and stopped his niggling and wingeing. And after about 3 minutes he was beautifully sound asleep. Latched onto my nipple.
Great. I was sleepy too. Ah look at the little bugger. All curled up against my bosom, just like when he was a newborn. Eyes closed, mouth on my nipple, snuggled into me.
I'm sure it's fine if I just leave him there.
A few minutes later, he slid off the nipple, just enough so that it now rested firmly in his eyeball hole.
The nipple fitted cosily and quite firmly in what was his eyeball socket, so I thought, the same.
I'm sure it's fine if I just leave him there.
Fast forward, I dunno, ten, twenty minutes?
Husband and wife, now both with heads thrown back, mouths agape, possibly with a trickle of drool descending down the jowls.
Hang on, what is this?
Mother has infant in her arms. Infant's head has appeared to have slipped off nipple entirely, meaning mother's bear breast is just sort of hanging there. In mid-air, at 33 000 feet, while mother and child and husband slumber.
Make note that we were positioned near the back of the plane near the toilets, so the foot traffic in that area consisted of frequent loo-goers and air hostesses. And my boob, was exposed to all, throughout that time.
Now. Here's the thing. I couldn't give more of a fuck.
When you become a mother, your boobs are no longer objects of sexual and private nature. Your boobs are public property. They're feeding machines. Milk outlets. Udders.
From the moment he was born, I've had midwives, nurses, doulas, doctors, neonatologists, hospital staff squeeze, touch and see my boobs. Helping me to breastfeed.
I've whipped them out in front of my father-in-law, brother-in-law, his wife, the Brit's entire family. My step-dad, the Brit;s best friend, my friends.
Everyone I care even slightly about, has seen my tits. Performing the rudimentary function of procuring milk.
I remember my 28th birthday - surprisingly, rather vividly. I was in Johannesburg, at a Greek restaurant, and we were all dancing around, absolutely steaming.
At one point, my boob fell out of my dress, right in sight of Poen's [now] husband.
I was mortified. As I didn't realise it had fallen out, so I was happily continuing my conversation with my boob poking everyone's eye out.
("You might want to pop that back in, Peas.")
Now? So a bunch of people I don't know saw my boob. My naked, nipply breast.
If my vagine was out, then I'd have something to be embarrassed about. But having my boob out on a plane where a throng of strangers could look really doesn't bother me at all.
Must've looked pretty funny though.