And the winner is......ME! I am Olympic gold medallist mum. I stand proudly on my winner’s podium, wipe a small tear from my eye and watch the People's Republic of Motherhood flag flutter softly in the late summer breeze.
To some, spending five days and five (very sleepless) nights as a single parent visiting relatives in Northumberland, while ‘himself’ did the honourable thing and attended a family wedding in Colorado, may not seem like much of an achievement. Well, let me tell you – it is! To win this medal, I had to compete in several tasks - a sort of Mummy Pentathlon if you will.
First up, the very tricky ‘Check-In and Security Screening Hurdles’. Here, I did extremely well, managing to retrieve both of the children, several pairs of shoes, three jackets, a buggy, three teddies and my bags from the security screening area without swearing once.
Next, the notoriously tough ‘Departure Lounge Marathon’. This involves keeping two small children occupied and within three feet of the carry on bags and buggy for a seemingly endless amount of time. I did quite well here, procuring a prime plane viewing spot near the front of the queue and producing raisins when things looked like getting out of hand. I even scored bonus points for enlisting the help of a Very Kind Man who carried the buggy to the steps of the plane.
Disappointingly, I only took third place in the ‘In-Flight Entertainment Relay’ as I lost a couple of crayons, didn’t have any raisins left and incurred several penalty points for forgetting to take milk on board which resulted in having to open fifteen tiny cartons from the trolley service to get a meagre 3oz for an insistent small boy sitting on my lap.
For the duration of the stay with my relatives, I did well in the ‘Night time Gymnastics’ which consisted of trying to go quietly up and down two flights of creaky stairs eighteen times to re-settle people, provide more milk, stumble around in the dark to retrieve lost teddies and not make any sound whatsoever as I crept into bed.
For the final event, I completed the nerve-wracking ‘Boarding Card Error 1,000 Metre Sprint’. This was a mad dash with buggy, bags and two children from the security screening area back down to the check-in desks (to get a proper infant boarding card from the airline incompetents), back to security, a huge queue jump, rushing straight through Duty Free without buying the Beauty Flash Balm I had been promising myself all week, and to the steps of the plane with just seconds to spare before take off.
As we landed back in Dublin (vomit free I hasten to add), I was actually greeted with a fanfare and public announcement to the entire plane, acknowledging my wondrous achievement. Fantastic. I will bask in the glory of my success for a very long time.