There is nothing I like more than when some random stranger decides to stop in the street and comment on my parenting skills, it makes me feel all warm and fluffy inside!
I thought a spot of bank holiday window shopping for a change of scene might be nice today. Angel was not massively impressed with being dragged around the shops (she gets that from daddy) so I deal with her the same way I do him. Start with a good breakfast, make it very clear where I want to go and in which order, stop after one hour for a coffee (low sugar fruit shoot) and snack and make a decision then as to whether any more shopping can be endured. Make sure food is regularly mentioned, the lure of an early lunch and possibly pudding always works with both hubby and daughter, and NEVER deviate from the agenda. No flinging myself into an extra shop in the hope that they won’t notice, they always do and I should have realised that it wouldn’t be any different for my little Delight.
Angel was coping relatively well; I only had to contend with the dragging of feet and a hint of whinge. I gently reminded her that she is growing out of her shoes fast enough without speeding up the process by leaving half of them on the pavement. She looks at me as if I am a moron and then sighs...she’s five. We carry on wandering and in an act of sheer stupidity I break protocol “Let’s just nip into Next” I say casually. My girls are not silly, it’s not on the list and they know it. Angel flings her arms in the air but it is Delight who steals the show.
My studious little companion realising that this will add at least another twenty minutes to her begrudgingly approved schedule decides she has had enough. In her adopted Chinese accent she assumes in moments of intense frustration she announces “I no go in dare, we go home now” I try to reason with her, pointless. She sits on the floor. I try the one armed lift and drag but she goes floppy and like a dead weight. She is now lying on the floor “Fine” I say, I will not be held to ransom by a 3year old “you can stay there until you are ready to walk properly” with a firmness and calm that Jo nanny super amazingness would be proud of I stand my ground.
I am aware that I have gained a few onlookers, the requisite grandmother nodding her support uttering something about her day and six of the best. The other mother who smiles encouragingly whilst doing her own negotiating, but then I am aware of a new entity, a couple of women who have actually stopped and are staring right at me. Slightly unnerved I wince briefly at them but getting no supportive response I turn back to Delight. Angel, who has seen this whole manoeuvre a dozen times, is standing dutifully by my side being very quiet and well behaved.
Then the unthinkable happens, one half of the couple, let’s call her Most Unhelpful (MU), speaks;
“Your daughter is lying on the floor” she announces. I know this, she knows I know this because I am looking at her, so in what possible way can she think this is helping me. Stunned, I glare at her, a dozen responses fly through my mind simultaneously, but my finely honed motherly intuition tells me that this is not the sort of lady who would take kindly to sarcasm. MU folds her arms, tuts to her friend and they make a stand. This woman would not be out of place on Jeremy Kyle and I start to fear for my safety but not one to be intimidated I also stand my ground, albeit with quivery knees, but it’s too late. Aware that she is no longer centre of attention and sensing her mother’s mounting unease Delight does a 180. She leaps up and with ferocious determination strides toward the woman, her little brows tightly knitted across her forehead to form a little bushy caterpillar on her cherub like face, and with venom in her little Chinese appropriated accent goes to push MU and says “you no speak to mummy lady” badly timed nervous laugh does nothing to help matters and again with comical timing escapes from my lips. It’s like an out of body experience.
I grab Delights arm just before she makes contact, MU has not moved, I’m sure she is almost willing Delight to hit her just to make a point or so she can sue me. She looks to her friend and they both roll their eyes as if to say “no wonder” and with that they walk off shaking their heads.
Well at least the tantrum has been resolved but I am left feeling inadequate as my parenting skills have been brought into question by some random woman and her mate (who was wearing a scrunchie). On our way home I stop to buy some educational books and spend the rest of the afternoon trying to ‘better educate’ my daughters in a futile attempt to make me feel better about myself as a mummy. Angel is bored and wanders off to give Barbie a haircut and Delight, between picking her nose and doing roly polys on the sofa announces “I like you mummy”. All feelings of inadequacy dissolve and I pick up my messy little bundle of curls and say “I like you too”.