I don't understand why loads of toddler groups shut down during school holidays. OK, I do understand - the people that run them need to look after their school age children and lots of mums can't attend the groups because they are at home with their older children. However, it really annoys me. What am I supposed to do? So, today I found myself at a complete loose end. We have a rule whereby we must leave the house every day, otherwise I become thoroughly bored and despondent and a dreadful mother. So, I was in a panic trying to think up today's activity. Having not been clothes shopping for a hundred years I thought it could be a golden opportunity. I asked the boy if he wanted to go. He said no. I told him he could ride in a 'noddy car'. He said yes.
So, off to the shops we went. The boy was very well behaved indeed and happily sat in his pushchair while I perused the shelves. The girl was sound asleep in her little cubby in the back of the pushchair. All was good. The noddy car was successful. I dragged the boy away from the bouncy castles and play park fairly easily with minimal tears. I got his feet measured, bought him new shoes, bought loads of presents for other people and even a top for myself.
Now this shopping centre does have a carpark, however it charges a whole English pound for four measly hours parking (:P). Next door to the shopping centre is a large supermarket which charges the same for two hours parking, however, if you spend five pounds you get it back. Being completely stingy (and persuading myself that the saved pound would pay for the noddy car) I parked in the supermarket. This meant that the shopping trip (including play park) could only last about an hour and a half and would have to culminate in a supermarket sweep. It also meant that there was no time for a boob feed (although fortunately, one was not demanded).
We were doing well. There I was at the checkout of the supermarket with a fussy starving baby on my hip and a bored toddler in the trolley when I saw her. The parking lady. My heart stopped., She was approaching my car. I was five minutes late. I snatched my card from the PIN machine and ran. By some heavenly fortitude she took a circuitous route to my car and I bundled kids and shopping in and drove swiftly away.
I was now faced with a new problem. Baby girl had a wet nappy, was bored and had a huge hungry hole. I stopped at the nearest non paying carpark, which happened to be for a fast food restaurant. I found a space at the back of the carpark and bribed the boy with being allowed to play in the drivers seat while I fed the baby.
As I have previously said on here, I have become more of an exhibitionist. I don't really bother to cover up much. I also think that there is a weird phenomenon whereby my car seems to be a little pod in which nobody can really see me or hear me. I often do embarrassing things in my car (no not that....) and then remember that it is not a special protective bubble. Therefore, I don't particularly think about breastfeeing in my car in the same way as I do in other public spaces where I may make some vague attempt at modesty. Anyway, I was sat there in a state of undress trying to prevent toddler from using all of my washer fluid when a man got into the car next to me and started eating his takeaway. I looked up and smiled as he caught my eye. I then remembered that my boob was out. I rearranged so that I was breastfeeding from under my top rather than over it (and therefore a bit more decent). However, the man was clearly avoiding my gaze. About ten minutes on however, he was forced to look up as my toddler was winding the windows up and down and being especially cute (and probably spraying washer fluid into the man's window). We exchanged smiles. I felt better this time as I was slightly more covered up.
Baby finished her feed and I decided to commence the journey home. Boy was persuaded to clamber back into his own seat and I moved the girl's car seat into the front so that I could sing to her and keep her quiet (of course in no way diminishing my attention to the road - well less so than having her screaming in the back from boredom). As I reversed out of my space I waved goodbye to the man. He looked a little perplexed but smiled. I can just picture him telling his friends about this deranged woman who had one boob out and kept grinning at him and for some reason waved goodbye. What didn't help was that he was (I believe) a plater. For the uninitiated, this is a person who delivers cars and then often hitchhikes home by holding up their personal number plate so that you know they are a car deliverer and not a serial killer. The reason that this was poignant was that my dad used to do this, so I had a bit of a 'that could have been my dad' moment.
Anyhoo, it took eight verses of '10 little monkeys jumping on the bed' to get both children off to slumberland and I then had a wonderful twenty minutes of head space before the normal anarchy recommenced.