It was at about 30,000 feet above Germany that the screaming started. Having managed an hour of relative calm, enjoying his crisps and carefully cleaning the plane windows with a wipe, Raffie erupted in a perfect storm of tears, screaming and rage.
The combined force of me, his Daddy, his Granma, a very forgiving cabin crew and the collective hatred of our fellow passengers could not make him sit in his seat for the descent. Maybe it was the 5am start, maybe it was because he couldn’t wipe the window any more, or maybe it was the sight of an empty crisp packet. Whatever it was which set him off, I began to wonder whether a few days at the park might have been a bit easier than a break to Berlin.
But in the end, we landed in one piece on a cold, grey day.
I suspect that Raffie is not alone in being a homebody toddler, and a creature of habit. He loves nothing more than bimbling around the house, doing what he wants when he wants and watching his new favourite film, Brave, seemingly not bothered by Mor’du, the vicious magical bear who strikes fear into the heart of the locals.
So I wasn’t sure how Raffie would enjoy Berlin but he took it all in his stride, from meeting Mickey Mouse at the Brandenberg Gate, to making friends with the soldiers at Checkpoint Charlie.
He loved the aquarium, enjoyed nosing at the view from the Bundestag dome, and jumped around a freezing cold fountain in hysterics before scoffing some Japanese dumplings.
Work, college and a fear of never being able to find a decent toilet meant I never went backpacking when I was younger. So as I walked into a melee of keen young travellers to check in at the PLUS Hotel Berlin I felt even more out of place with a toddler in hand. But I needn’t have worried. A hotel blessed with space to run around in is perfect for a small boy.
Raffie is pretty pragmatic when it comes to contemporary art (‘looks like Lego Mummy’) but enjoyed poking around in the artists’ studio in the garden, and looking at all of the pictures in the restaurant. He particularly enjoyed exploring the cavernous games room, flopping about on the bean bags and watching people playing table tennis.
The staff made a fuss of him, not least making him toast at dinner time when he refused to eat anything else, and giving him lots of attention while he tried to sit still during meal times.
The highlight of the hotel for Raffie however, was the gigantic bear in the hallway on the way to the restaurant, which instantly reminded him of a familiar face. The bear is a symbol of Berlin and Raffie loved it, cuddling his leg and blowing him kisses.
‘It’s Mor’du! I love Mor’du’ he said, as we finally went in search of food after 10 minutes of keeping the giant bear company. Although he can be very sweet, Raffie is also keen on putting boundaries in place, adding: ‘I don’t want those boys to look at him Mummy’ as a group of teenagers ambled awkwardly past.
As I put Raffie to bed, he whispered, ‘Mor’du didn’t say anything.’ ‘What do you mean?’ ‘He’s only plastic Mummy. Like a toy.’ ‘But you still like him, don’t you?’ I asked. ‘Yes, but he’s not real. I like Brave.’ Which I suppose goes to show that even though Raffie might lose his head 30,000 feet above sea level, his feet remain firmly on the ground, wherever in the world they take him.
Now we are home I am having to think of lots of indoor things to do with Raffie when the park gets rained off. Thankfully Hodge Podge Craft has lots of ideas which I will be putting to good use in the bleak midwinter. You can find out more here http://hodgepodgecraft.com/
I’ve added this blog post to this week’s Magic Moments, and you can read lots of smashing blogs here http://theoliversmadhouse.co.uk/magic-moments-111113/