Claudia Winkleman: Don't forget the kids

Take It From Me: 'The camera is in the bag, which is now in the boot of the taxi, and Mummy is going to pull her hair out'
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The Independent Online

"Are you off on holiday with the kids this summer?" asked Sarah, innocently.

"Don't be bloody insane," I replied.

This sort of conversation can be heard all across the UK at this time of year. As my sun-loving single or just-married girlfriends think nothing of jumping on a plane and going off to lie on a beach, they are in total wonderment as to why the rest of us with children would opt to stay at home and crack open the Play-Doh.

"Have you ever flown with children?" I countered. "Nope," she replied, "but it's not, like, THAT hard, is it? People seem to be able to cope. It's not like getting a first degree in archaeology. I mean, you really do exaggerate, Claud."

And this Sunday, a couple of parents and their children boarded a flight heading to Paris from Tel Aviv. They're a normal family with five kids, they wandered around Duty Free, picked up a Toblerone and got on the flight. And 40 minutes later, they realised they'd left their four-year-old at the airport. Seriously. 40 minutes in and they thought, "Hold on a sec, something's missing here."

Well, the papers are full of rage, the police have been called in and talk shows on the radio are crammed with angry people saying they should have their kids taken away from them.

For anyone who doesn't know – travelling with children goes something like this. And for this illustration, I'll name the five kids A, B, C, D and E.

At Home

Mum: Has anyone seen the rice cakes I left out for A?

Dad: D, will you stop playing on the Nintendo. We said you could only play with that on special occasions. Now is not the time...

C: Can I take Nibbles the rabbit? You promised I could take one toy. PLEASE can I take rabbit?

Mum: The taxi is outside. You grab B. I know I put those rice cakes somewhere...

E: I don't even want to go away. L and M are going to summer camp and I wish I could go with them. This is just SO unfair. I hate going away with all you lot.

Mum: C, we said you could take a toy. You cannot take Nibbles. The airliner won't let us take a rabbit. And rabbits don't even like the sun. I already explained that to you. Lucy will come in and feed him and we'll be back in a week.


Taxi driver: Excuse me, ma'am. Are these bags to go in the boot?


Dad: What's he crying about?

D: This is shit.

Mum: He just needs his rice cakes. D, watch your tongue.

D: If he cries, I'm bringing Nintendo.

Mum: Where is E?

Dad: E, get down those stairs NOW.

C: Can I bring a photo of Nibbles?

Mum: There isn't time to take a photo.


Dad: Children, come on – we HAVE to go, otherwise we'll miss the flight.

D: Good. I don't want to catch the flight. You're all round the bend anyway.

Mum: E, darling, come on. We all need a nice, relaxing holiday and it's cost Mummy and Daddy a lot of money. I'll buy you all an ice cream at the airport.

E: I'm not a baby. Stop trying to win me over with sugar. You're embarrassing.

C: I'm serious – I am not getting in that car without a photo of Nibbles.

Mum: The camera is in the bottom bag, which is now in the boot of the taxi, and Mummy is going to pull her hair out. Be a good girl and get in the car. We'll call Nibbles when we're away – how's that?

D: You can't speak to a rabbit. Are you crazy?


Dad: You should try to shut him up.

Mum: You should find his snacks.

E: I'm not talking to anyone on the holiday. Nobody. This sucks.

D: It sure does.

E: Shut up, limpet.

Mum: Passports.

Dad: Check.

Mum: Tickets.

Dad: Shit. I'll be down in a minute.

In The Taxi

Mum and Dad: Isn't this fun?

A, B, C, D and E: NO!

At The Airport

Mum: Now, stay with me.

E: I'm going to look at DVDs.

Mum: No, stay with me.

C: I already miss Nibbles so much I want to die.

B: Can I really get an ice cream?

Mum: In a minute, baby. I just need to get in this queue.

B: But you PROMISED. I want an ice cream and I want sprinkles.

D: I want to sit at the window. Can you ask if I can sit by the window?


Dad: OK, I'll just get another trolley. Are you OK with them?

Mum: Where's E?

C: Will they have rabbits where we're going?

B: You SAID I could have an ice cream.

Check-in girl: So, is everyone here? Can I have your passports, please?

So, that's what it's like. That's on a good day. So the moral of the story is: stay at home, go to the park, buy a sticker book and go see WALL-E. Am I shocked that this family left their child at the airport? I'm surprised they only left one.