Charlotte Philby's Parental Leave: "IT'S THE WRONG AIRPORT," my husband notes on the eve of our trip

A mother's weekly dispatch from the pre-school frontline

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The Independent Online

We've been to Spain for the weekend. I know, aren't we the lucky ones? Indeed we are, although marginally less lucky than we might have been had I not booked the flights so that we land at the wrong airport.

"IT'S THE WRONG AIRPORT," my husband notes at midnight on the eve of our trip, while clutching his forehead with two palms like a very cross baboon.

"What does that even mean?" I retort with a casual shrug indicating, a) I am much more emotionally liberated than he is – less a captive to rigid concepts such as time and distance to which he is misguidedly shackled and, b) I'm a bit confused about where we're going.

While desperately concentrating on not accidentally booking Grenada, the Caribbean, rather than Granada, southern Spain (although now I'm obviously thinking, bloody hell, I wish we were going to Grenada) it turns out this was not the right potential pitfall to be watching out for.

For Granada, the one in Spain, is not always Granada; sometimes it's also Malaga. And when it's supposed to be Malaga-Granada but you book Granada-Granada, the difference in actual terms means very little apart from the journey being three times more expensive and involving four cars, two trains and four airplanes – a total of nine hours' travel in each direction, for two days' holiday. And still you're nowhere near the Caribbean.

But at least we've got two very small, loud children to keep us company. "In Despicable Me, the lady falls out of the airplane window and she doesn't get any lunch," the three-year-old announces three hours into our journey, while lobbing herself repeatedly against the chair in front.

"That's nice dear, if you're quiet for the next 20 minutes I'll buy you something," I reply before being swept by a wave of guilt. It's not her fault I'm an idiot, I concede. "I'm sorry," I say. "I love you, please talk as much as you like. I love it when you talk."

Without tearing her eyes away from her pencil sharpener, she says: "Mummy, why do sometimes on planes the wings fall off and then they crash together and then you die?"