Oi! Where’s your baby?!

so today is another fabulous #effitfriday for the parent bloggers where we may opt to rant like toddlers.

Now I am a creature of habit. Even without work, Twiglet and I have our set days, and Monday is food shop day. I love food shop day. I know, that’s a bit sad, but I really do. The joy of looking at the baby clothes. The homeware section. The DVDs! Then of course, meals and treats for the week. 

Now one big upside of the food shop is the parking. Parent child bays are the parking spaces for the Sheldon Coopers in the world. They are close to the entrance so you won’t get wet in the rain, but not so close that you are right in the main door at risk of trolley bashes. Because of their location, you are often sheltered from the wind and direct sun, but not to the point of being chilly. They have a generous amount of space either side of your car, enough so you are safe trying to get baby in the car with your door wide open and yet not obstruct other shoppers paths. They are also directly opposite all the amazing baby-friendly trolleys. Twiglet and I always favour the car seat friendly ones for easy transfer from car to shop and back, plus no cold plastic seats. Bliss.

Now, there is one day in our recent past that sticks in my head. I had parked up, and was double checking I hadnt forgotten to pack my purse (a continued fear). I half noticed a woman had pulled up in the space next to me, a slightly rusted red car, the back seat piled high with a random assortment of objects. 

Now it suddenly dawned on me that with all the junk in the back, there was no room for a baby seat, let alone a baby. No child in the front either. 

Was she…? Did she dare to…? Surely not!

But yes. This woman, without a child to be seen, intended to park in that specifically assigned space. And I was furious! On the rare occasions I hadn’t been fortunate enough to get a Parent Child space, I had often wondered if the soft top convertible on the end actually transported a child about the place, or if the people carrier parked across two spaces actually had young children or a bunch of teens who could cope in a normal space. But this was different somehow. Perhaps because it was so empty in the car park generally, or the simple fact I was witnessing the ‘crime’ unfold. 

Now in the 30 seconds for all of this to skip through my brain, Twiglet got impatient so I went about sorting us out, grabbing the trolley and so on. The woman remained in her car, and it became obvious she was waiting for me to leave before leaving her car.

I gave her a pointed look at I passed but she avoided my gaze.

Going around the shop, I wondered if I should tell someone. But who? The car park police? Is it as bad as someone using a disabled spot without being disabled? Probably not. But as a new mum, I can tell you something as simple as a Parent Child bay can sometimes be the difference between a good day and a bad day.

My confusion continued when I spotted the woman pushing a trolley intended for a young child to sit in. She had no child. She clearly wasn’t waiting for one to join her. Then I felt bad. I didn’t know this woman. Maybe she had lost a child and parking there gave her comfort. Maybe she just wasn’t all there. The bigger likelihood to me was that she was just a bit odd. Still, she continued to ignore me as we often crossed paths, which gave me satisfaction she knew she’d done wrong. 

When I left, her car remained and my disbelief surged up again. There were very few spaces left now, and some poor parent may end up Parent Child bay-less.

Essentially, my point is, if you are out and think ‘oh no harm parking there’, somewhere in the shop there is likely a righteous mum like myself quietly judging you. So just don’t risk it ok?

The truth about…

so I saw tomorrow’s theme for blog posts is #thetruthabout and immediately thought back to earlier today.

This post is the truth about that screaming baby. 

A close friend of mine is visiting from Yorkshire, so we decided to stick to our old tradition of meeting in the centre of our fine city (Norwich, just FYI) and go to our favourite restaurant where we used to work together, and order our usual starter of garlic bread with cheese. The only difference in this plan to countless before was that this time I would have my baby with me. 

All started well, we’d been for coffee, Twiglet was an angel, smiling, cuddling and eating her rusk biscuit. 

The First Screams occurred not long after arrival, she didn’t want to be in her high chair and so made it known. A couple behind my friend were polite and didn’t look our way, but I was immediately anxious we were ruining someone’s romantic lunch. So I guess the first #truthabout is that a baby may seem spoiled wanting to be up and out of the high chair, when in fact they’ve already put up with many inane grown up situations so far that day! 

The Second Screams occurred as the clock struck 12:24, 24 minutes past Twiglets lunch. She was hungry, and so  made it known. This is easily rectified with an organic purée or whatever floats your boat for baby meals, so please bear with the parent desperately trying to find said meal from within the Mary Poppins bag of nappies! The second #truthabout here being…nappy bags have a lot of equipment hidden within them, so bear with mum/dad/carer! 

The Third Screams, and by far the worst, came midway through our main course. She did not like her high chair. She did not want food. She did not need a nappy change. She did not want cuddles. She was teething. 

I always feel awful for Twiglet when showing signs of teething, because other than calpol and hugs I can do little else. When I think to times when my teeth have ached or been sensitive, I feel doubly sorry for teething babies, having whole sets of teeth cutting their way through the gums! 😬

The worst part was a couple who had just been seated opposite us. They heard Twiglet, exchanged a look, and moved tables. They actually moved. Because of me and my baby. I was mortified, even minutes later when I spotted the gentleman giving me dirty looks as I tried to comfort my tired teething baby. At that point I should have gotten grouchy. It was a family friendly restaurant, early afternoon, you expect children to be about. I should have been really grouchy, I was hugging, rocking, soothing as best I could. I should have given dirty looks back. Because #thetruthabout a crying baby is, you can do everything right, have all the right toys, all the right foods, stick as close to their routine as you like; the truth is if a baby is teething, it can strike at any time, anywhere, and the baby will cry. A lot. 

So the truth about that screaming baby you see is, sometimes the baby’s just got to scream. And odds are the parent/carer is doing all they can to fix it, so no dirty looks please, we really are trying.