Starting a new school is daunting for anyone, no matter their age, but starting as a new mum at the gate can be even more so. For weeks now, having transferred Angel (5) not her real name, to a new school I have been playing the safe card politely smiling at everyone, not arriving at the gate looking immaculate nor arriving looking like a dog. I have laughed and nodded appropriately, quietly watching to see who rules to gate, who to avoid and who to run away at speed from.
My youngest daughter, Delight (3) not her real name, seems to have picked up on my confidence slowly gaining momentum and with immaculate timing just as I had been invited for coffee by one of the lovely mums (and was actually thinking about going) she delivered, at volume, the following;
"Mummy that lady has a baby in her tummy too"
Cue audible gasp from other mums and overzealous nervous laughter from my mouth!
Ordinarily this sort of comment by a three year old could be shrugged off or even ignored had I not a) over laughed, or b) tried to hush her (I could see Delights logic after all) But my pleas through gritted teeth only served to annoy Delight and cause her to reiterate her point again, this time louder! The not pregnant lady (NPL) simply looked at me in what I can only describe as 'I am smiling on the outside but I am going to socially crush you'. As she did so time slowed down and the little group I was standing in all stopped what they were saying to see how I was possibly going to squirm out of this charming predicament.
NPL would not have been my first choice for a playground misunderstanding. Then oh joy of joys, Delight says it for a third time, this time pointing a chubby little finger at NPL’s belly. "She's obsessed with babies" I gush, "She doesn't really understand anything, she thinks everyone is pregnant". Inwardly furious with myself for publicly implying that my child is an idiot and feeling waves of guilt rush over me as imagined pictures of Delights hurt little face appear in my mind I feel myself going red and wishing that the ground would open up.
Not amused NPL nods her head as if to say 'you just about saved it, you should leave now'. Grateful for being let off lightly and assuming my offer of coffee has been retracted (because I have now officially caused a scene) I rush off and retreat to my former hiding in the shadows for the foreseeable future, Delight blissfully unaware in tow.