When I was a young and innocent mother with a toddler son, I thought a good way to keep him quiet on an aeroplane was to feed him chocolate. Lots and lots of chocolate.
As a result, my son did such an enormous vomit that the flight attendants had to remove his entire aeroplane seat. For the remaining several hours of the flight, he sat on my lap next to the bare metal structure that was once his seat.
That was my horror story. And, as Christmas approaches, I asked my Facebook friends for their own horror stories about taking kids on holidays.
There were endless tales of vomiting kids in planes. Explosive poos on planes. Sick kids in strange countries. Losing kids in busy airports. Losing kids in big cities.
There was poor Linda, who could only calm her baby by walking him in a Baby Bjorn up and down the aeroplane aisle – a mere two-minute walk - for the duration of flight.
"The worst thing was that I passed all those little blue screens that tell you how far it is to your destination. So it was seven hours 48 minutes to go. Seven hours 46 minutes to go. Seven hours 44 minutes to go. It was the longest 8 hours of my life."
Shae shared a brilliant story about breastfeeding her four month old on a flight. "She pulled off and a jet of milk shot straight from my nipple INTO THE FACE OF THE BUSINESS MAN NEXT TO ME. I almost died."
The most unique holiday tale of woe came from Alison, who took her kids to an Airbnb in Copenhagen. The owners left their hamster behind, and after her kids 'loved' the pet to death, Alison and her husband found themselves running around Copenhagen looking for a replacement.
"I think the highlight," Alison wrote, "was my husband signing up to a Danish rodent forum and asking people where one might buy a small white hamster on a Sunday in Copenhagen."
The worst tale belongs to Ivana, who was vomited on by her baby just before she boarded a flight. "It was in my hair and on my clothes and in the fur of my jacket," she reported. Mid-flight, he had a bout of such "explosive and watery diarrhoea that it went through his nappy, through his thermal underwear, through his one-piece, through his jeans and straight onto my lap." Her son then turned pale and began to pass out, so she revived him with a cold can of coke against the back of his neck.
But in the process, she cut her finger on the opening of the can. "The blood just wouldn't stop. Of course I didn't have a Band-Aid with me so I simply used my white tee shirt to soak up the blood." Covered in vomit, poo and blood, she exited the plane.
But the award for the funniest story belongs to my friend Emma, not for a story about her own child, but about a stranger on a flight.
"An Irish father approached me at one point with a wild-eyed look of panic and said 'You've obviously drugged your children. Do you have any left for my twins?'
"I explained that, by some freakish bit of luck, I hadn't had to drug them but DID have the drugs with me, so we stood up in the aisle and did the deal with Phenergan.
"'Thank you so much,' he said. 'I left our Phenergan in the seat pocket of the flight before this and my wife is about to divorce me. I've been wandering the aisles approaching random parents…'"
Note: Not that I am advocating the use of antihistamines without medical advice. I'm sure your own holiday with kids won't be anything like the above ...