A Day Out With The Baby: Fantasy vs Reality


Sure, it’s all smiles when you first leave the house.


The Toddler is at nursery and I need to return a few clothes, so why not make a day of it? I’ll pack the baby a simple sandwich and we’ll get into town at 9am so it’ll be nice and quiet. I’ll return the clothes and, while I’m there, I’ll just have a little mooch and see if there’s anything else I like. The baby will really enjoy looking at all the different colours and will bob around enthusiastically to the overly loud House music.  When we go into the changing room, she’ll giggle at her reflection in the mirror and we’ll make funny faces at each other! Ooh! And I can pop in to Boots as see if they have that in-shower moisturiser I read about in the Sunday Times! Debenhams is on the way actually – I’ll nip in there and have a look at some dresses for a super smart wedding in August, maybe try a few different styles on. The baby will clap her hands in glee to see her mummy swishing around in long flouncy gowns, movie montage style. We’ll head to a cafe afterwards, somewhere cool and individual where I can choose a nutritious, nourishing lunch. Then we’ll maybe go for a stroll along the seafront – how she’ll smile at the seagulls! Wonder at the sights and sounds of the pier! She’ll be getting sleepy around then with all that fresh air so will gently nod off as I look upon her with tender, motherly love.


Drop off Toddler at nursery. Have forgotten his backpack. Drive home again, pick it up and drop it off. Head into town at precisely the worst time of day for traffic. Sit in said traffic for half an hour while baby has morning nap – all fine. Park the car and she is all smiles as we head to the Post Office for the first task. She beams at old ladies in the queue and they coo over her accordingly. I allow myself an indulgent little smile and think how she seems quite chirpy today, considering she’s teething. Off to H&M and the baby begins the low level whinging she’s been perfecting for the last few months. Whilst returning the clothes, the wailing steps up a notch and I silently will the cashier to go faster. I give the baby her dummy, which she immediately pulls out and throws to the floor. Dummy is now redundant. Heart rate begins to creep up.  Onwards to Boots – now where is that shower stuff? I can’t find it and the baby is starting to throw in a few back arches for good measure, accompanied by some “uh uh uhhhhh” noises. She pulls off a sock and throws it to the floor. I notice the other sock is already missing, no doubt currently being trampled over by a thousand feet on a nearby pavement. Sod the shower gel, I can’t be bothered. What’s the time? Nearly 11. Just going to head somewhere for a really early lunch. But I AM going to have something fresh and delicious. End up in Debenhams cafe, because it is closest to the car park and I just want to go home now. Baby is becoming more disgruntled at her pushchair imprisonment, so I grab the closest thing to hand – a cheese scone with a lump of butter. Sit baby in highchair and pass her bits of sandwich. These too are thrown straight to floor (although she does make a small show of putting them near her mouth first, just to keep me on my toes). I inhale my “lunch” and a latte then hastily leave the cafe, carrying the baby because she screamed when I attempted to put her back into buggy. Wheel falls off buggy as I put it into car. Shopping bag gets whipped up into the air and across the car park. In all the commotion, I don’t know what I’ve done with the ticket I need to exit the car park. But I think it’s OK because last time I came, I’m certain they’d installed a numberplate recognition system and I didn’t even need my ticket. Approach the barrier and it becomes clear that, no, they have not installed a numberplate recognition system. Am forced to reverse, as are the two cars behind me, to whom I apologise but daren’t even look at, and call on the intercom for help.

As you probably guessed, we didn’t make it to the seafront.





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