I spent time with a small child today.
Before elaborating I should tell you that generally, people don’t leave their small offspring with me. This may have something to do with a) the story I related here the other day which exposed me as a child-abandoner, or b) the fact that I speak to small children the way Barbara Woodhouse used to speak to her dogs (Remember her?). I might add in my defence that this method works very well.
But today I had volunteered to babysit for a colleague while she attended a training course and as she’d had very little notice she was forced to accept my kind offer. Stop sniggering at the back, there.
The course was in Taunton and so we all travelled there together and then the two-year-old Small Child (hereafter referred to as SC) and I headed into the town to kill a couple of hours. The first issue of course was transferring SC from car seat to pushchair. I had forgotten the First Rule of Childcare – ‘Don’t let go of ’em’. I extracted the SC from the car seat and stood it upon its unfeasibly small feet next to the car. By the time I had manhandled the pushchair out of the boot it was ten yards away and travelling at some speed. I retrieved it and stood it next to the car again whilst I tried to work out where the release catch to unfold the wretched contraption was located. SC legged it again. Twice.
After I had finished muttering ‘botheration and poop’ under my breath (for some reason none of my usual expletives seemed appropriate with a small blonde sprog gawping at me) we proceeded in an ungainly fashion along the high street. Why on earth are pushchairs designed to pushed by persons no taller than 3’2″? With every step I stood on one of the wheels. The SC lurched along looking greener by the second.
Every so often I peered down into the pushchair and asked hopefully ‘Alright?’. Each time it gazed solemnly back at me and said calmly ‘No.’
It would not be led further on the subject, however and so I developed a habit of saying ‘That’s good’ in response to every ‘No’. It didn’t seem bothered.
All went well until we’d been out about an hour and it piped up ‘Wee-wee’. The only public convenience I could find was in a pub so in we went, brazenly stalking past the curious eyes of the barman and into the loo.
I had been sadly mistaken in thinking that the phrase ‘wee-wee’ meant ‘ I would like to pay a visit to the lavatory’, however. Unfortunately it meant ‘I have urinated within my clothing, please deal with this at once’. Did it have spare clothing? No.
Thirteen pounds later, the SC is now the proud possessor of a small pair of pink combat trousers. Thirteen quid!!! My clothes don’t cost that much!