This monologue is brought to you by Mouse, Moo & Me Too and myself. If you would like a monologue, let me know!
Let me set the scene. I decide that taking both Baby and Child to the local Sure Start Stay and Play is brilliant idea. Child can charge around between the various play areas, a dolly in a pram here, an assortment of Velcro-jointed grocery items there. I, meanwhile, can get Baby weighed in a relaxed setting with all the time in the world afforded to me. Oh, how I look back in retrospect and pity my own ambitions, my misguided dreams of a calm yet functional, enriching hour provided by the NHS. In reality, my two children and myself join forces to descend into social mortification and shame, leading me to seek out an alternative Sure Start venue with a different fleet of staff.
Hurrah! Am out of house before 10.30am! Both children are alive and fed and we are on our way!
*Attempt to enter building through poorly designed teeny, tiny doorway. Child opts for buggy board dismount during tricky manoeuvre to negotiate the ramp/step/ramp sequence.*
Am raising a free spirited bloody idiot. Never alight from a moving vehicle.
“Good morning, have you come to see the Health…you can’t leave your buggy there, you’re blocking the fire escape.”
I haven’t actually stopped moving, jobsworth. I’m still actively coming to a standstill and navigating through the 800 other buggies here, which means that 1. We’re going to be here sodding ages, and 2. I’m going to get blocked in. But yes, heaven forbid I pause to breathe and acclimatise for a nanosecond in front of the fire escape.
“You need to sign in yourself and BOTH of your children. Not just the one seeing the health visitor. BOTH names of your children please in that box, yes that’s right, the column where it asks you to list the children you have in attendance here today.”
Jesus Christ, do I look like a cretin? Has she observed my ill-advised pause by the fire escape and immediately decided that I’m incapable of following instructions? Does she think I’m a habitual deviant? Alright, both children. I really, really need to practise my handwriting while I’m on maternity leave because even I can’t read that scrawl. Ah, and I ought to get re-fitted properly for some nursing bras because my funbags are the last to the party and I was a fool to believe I could ever fill a C-cup.
*Scribble out surname and re-write it painstakingly neatly, hunched over. Realise I can see all of my breasts through bra gape*
“Red book please.”
*Smugly whip the red book from buggy next to Baby and thrust it into Jobsworth’s outstretched hand. Have saved self a good 30 seconds of rummaging around in an overstuffed changing bag for the childhood equivalent of the Bible. Baby shrieks – a stray scratchy bit of plastic from the cover has caught her on the ankle. Bustle about a bit in hope no one will notice. *
“Mummy, I think you just really hurt her leg, with that book! I think she really doesn’t like it.”
Yes, thank you for your keen observations.
“Mmm, she’ll be alright in a minute. Shall we go and have a look at these lovely toys?”
“I’m going on the slide. The outside slide.”
No, no you’re fucking not, because I need to be in here for when we are summoned and I can’t come and rescue you from the top of the climbing frame when you decide you’ve got vertigo.
“Well, how about we go and have a look over here, I can see some nice books – maybe I can read to you while…”
*Child legs it outside. Jobsworth appears.*
“I’m afraid we’re not able to supervise your child outside so we will need to ask you to either help her with inside play, or stand out there with her.”
Time to use well practised ‘in public menacing’ voice. Is coming on quite nicely. Earwiggers will think I have full control over my brood while Child knows I’m about three notches down from ‘apeshit’.
*Clears throat, and using said voice respectfully advise Child that she may have four turns down the slide, then we must go inside and wait to be called by the Health Visitor, because I might not be able to hear her from my rescue base at the bottom of the climbing frame*
“Sorry to be a pain, but can you either stand inside or outside please? You’re blocking the doorway.”
Oh, piss off and shuffle some bloody leaflets or something.
“I need a wee.”
Ah, that’s your favourite trick. You don’t, you absolutely do not need a wee. You had two before we left and you’re only saying it because you know it’s a logistical nightmare taking you in public when I’m carrying Baby as well, and you think it’s funny. You know who does need a wee? Me. My bladder is totally up the kibosh thanks to your sister but I’ve learned to hold it and you could do with learning a bit of control and willpower too. God, what a horrible mum I am, I forget you’re only three. Urgh. Chocolate buttons later.
“Okie doke, we’ll have to be really really quick quick then my angel because I don’t want to miss our turn.”
*Make a strange, beckon-wave motion in the direction of Jobsworth to indicate have been called away on urgent business but please please don’t skip over us and put our red book to the bottom of the now teetering pile*
Initial scepticism was correct – Child doesn’t really need a wee, and she strains as she squeezes out a tinkle that could be measured in drops rather than millilitres.
*Return to the battle field. Jobsworth pounces*
“You almost missed your turn, you’re next.”
This person is full of shit because if I’ve not been called yet then I can’t have almost missed my turn can I?
We’re up. Of course it’s her. The Health Visitor who can’t pronounce baby’s name and has something terribly wrong with her teeth. Jolly good. Bloody Janet.
*Undresses Baby whilst trying to maintain small talk. Worry that method of vest removal looks a bit brutal because she’s suddenly outgrown it*
Probably time to phase out the tiny baby stuff now that she’s knocking on the door of 9lb land.
Should I be wiping her lady parts back to front, or front to back? I can never remember I’ll just make some very animated gestures while I swoosh about with a wet wipe. I think I’m sweating.
*Child wanders over*
“Hi there gorgeous! Don’t you look like an absolute doll! I can see some birdies on your top. Can you tell me what colour they are?”
*Child looks at Janet. Janet looks at Child. I look at Child. Child looks at me. *
“What’s in your mouth?”
“Why can’t you talk properly? What is that bad thing on your teeth?”
“Why is it there, in your mouth?”
“Well, my dentist makes me wear this thing in my mouth to stop me rubbing my teeth together. I’ve had it a long time and I’m hoping he lets me take it out soon.”
*Child absorbs this.*
“So then you won’t sound all funny when you talk? How will it come out?”
Aaaargh, she’s warming to her theme. Time to nip this in the bud. “Hey, silly banana, that’ll do. Why don’t you go and choose a book to read and we’ll look at it together once I’ve finished weighing….” Bollocks, I can’t say Baby’s name because then Janet will know that she’s been pronouncing it wrong for months and that’ll be a double kick in her grindy teeth. “….your sister.”
*Child escapes. Janet babbles about honesty of children. Hear small parp and watch slow mass of korma sauce ooze from Baby’s bottom*
Oh god it’s too late to catch it with anything! Shit quite literally just got real. It’s endless! If we were at home, this would be an instantaneous decamp into the bath, but I have no option but use an entire pack of wet wipes. I don’t know what you are smiling at, Baby.
*Fills nappy sack after nappy sack with wipes and sheets of blue couch roll that Janet has kindly proffered*
*Baby finally clean. Runs away*
Now I have to un-brake 60 other buggies and move them, like those grid puzzles with one empty square and a pattern to arrange, and beat a clear path to the door. Child can have the entire bag of chocolate buttons later if she just helps me to execute a swift getaway, and find a bin where I can deposit all of the crap-filled nappy sacks.
“Excuse me, mum, have you signed out for you and both children? You must sign out when you leave.”
Nope, dickhead mum didn’t sign out.
“Have you got our up to date list of Stay and Play locations? There’s one held most days so you can try all of them out, if you want to!”
Hmm. Absolutely no sodding way.