‘There you go darling,’ said Mother as she zipped my coat up with a flourish. She hesitated for a second and then popped a hat on my head as the pièce de resistance. I fixed her with a glare before pulling it off and throwing it on to the floor disdainfully. ‘We’ve talked about this,’ I yelled, in annoyance. It has recently come to my attention that I am not a ‘hat’ person. I stumbled upon this realisation when I caught sight of myself in the mirror in my new woolly hat. I looked like one of those gnome ornaments that sit in next door’s garden. I looked even more ridiculous than Father did that time when he wore a new hat in an ill-advised attempt at youthful fashion (he looked like he was sporting a cat upon his bonce). Still, Mother’s a determined sort and tried to persuade me into the head gear a couple more times before finally giving up.
‘Bank card. Debit card. Credit card. Emergency credit card. Absolute emergency credit card. Total and utter end of the world emergency credit card,’ she muttered to herself as she flicked through her purse in concentration. She pulled on her own coat and gloves with great determination, her face set as if she was donning armour ready to go into battle.
Which, perhaps we were. ‘Good luck,’ offered Father grimly. ‘Rather you than me. It will be manic,’ he added, with a shudder.
But Mother was stoic. ‘Don’t worry about me,’ she began, dismissive. ‘I’m a pro at this. Done more shopping than you’ve…..you’ve….had hot dinners,’ she finished, weakly and nonsensically. ‘C’mon darling,’ she said, and began to wheel me out.
And into the cold air. Not that I felt it mind, layered, as I was in my many, many clothes. It was quite pleasant for a while, Mother and I meandering along together. Even her absolute mauling of ‘Ten Green Bottles’ (the most painful countdown ever heard) didn’t bother me as much as usual. I started to fall into a pleasant and welcoming slumber..
….which was rudely interrupted by lots of noise. Which appeared to be emanating from the many, many people surrounding me. What the..?! I don’t think I’d ever seen so many people in one place – men, women, and little ones like me, many of whom were looking equally bemused. And annoyed. Some were even crying, loudly. I didn’t blame them. The lights. The noise. The lack of personal space. Where was I? It was…horrible.
‘Right then. Ow!’ snapped Mother as a lady caught her in the face with her handbag. ‘Watch where you’re going!’ she retorted. But quietly. I didn’t blame her. The lady in question was pushing her way through the crowd, using her bulging carrier bags to move people out of the way.
‘Now then,’ Mother began, pulling a list out of her pocket. ‘I need to get Grandad a new scarf. Grandma, perfume. I’ll just find out where that is. Excuse me,’ she began, trying to get an assistant’s attention. ‘EXCUSE ME,’ she tried, louder. I was impressed, and saw the family trait, her volume reflecting my own when exasperated. ‘EXCUSE ME,’ she shrieked again but was duly ignored, the assistant turning her attention to another lady who had pushed ahead of Mother.
And then, to make matter worse: ‘Ow! That was my foot!’ Mother snapped, as a rather heavy set gent collided with her.
‘Right, that’s it,’ she spat, and steered me grumpily towards the exit.
Stepping outside for a moment, Mother looked lost, as if she wasn’t sure where to go next. She was muttering darkly about having a ‘broken foot.’ ‘I can hardly move it,’ she suggested, which seemed at odds with the fact that she was now starting to march us forward determinedly in the opposite direction to where we had come from. ‘Let’s just go home darling,’ she said, self-pityingly. ‘You can have a nap and then we can have a sing-song to one of your CDs.’ Neither suggestion was tempting; I wasn’t the least bit tired and I wasn’t sure I could endure much more of Mother’s caterwauling.
But it seemed that Mother’s legs were operating independently of her because they appeared to be carrying her – and me – towards a little side street. And into a small shop, tucked away, far from the crowds. Stepping inside: ‘Oh, that’s gorgeous,’ offered Mother as she fingered a sweater in the window excitedly. ‘Would you like to try it on?’ asked a lady who appeared at Mother’s side immediately. ‘Oh, yes please,’ said Mother, animated. ‘And that dress. And ooh – that skirt. And can I have that blouse? Are those….’
<img class="alignnone wp-image-967" src="https://i1.wp.com/thesecretlifeofthebaby.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/20161125_070000.jpg?resize=244%2C325" alt="20161125_070000" srcset="https://i1 ordonnance de viagra.wp.com/thesecretlifeofthebaby.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/20161125_070000.jpg?zoom=2&resize=244%2C325 488w, https://i1.wp.com/thesecretlifeofthebaby.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/20161125_070000.jpg?zoom=3&resize=244%2C325 732w” sizes=”(max-width: 244px) 100vw, 244px” data-recalc-dims=”1″ />
‘What do you think darling?’
I was pleased to be asked my opinion. Unlike Father though, I wasn’t sugar-coating my responses, like he so often does. ‘How do I look?’ Mother had asked him recently when showing off her new shirt. ‘Hideous,’ would have been the correct answer. Instead, Father had said, lamely: ‘You wouldn’t think to put those two colours, together would you?’ I noticed he was squinting, the full horror of the disgusting ‘style’ being almost too much to take in.
‘I think it’s awful,’ I offered, honestly and helpfully now. ‘Whoever designed that clearly hates you,’ I added.
‘I know, I love it too,’ Mother nodded, deliberately misinterpreting my words. The woman is deluded.
‘I’ll have that too please,’ she said to the smiling assistant who added the hateful dress to a pile on the counter.
Mother paled a bit when the lady announced the total cost but rallied when she reminded herself that: ‘It’s good to treat yourself, every now and then.’
It was a mantra that she kept repeating to herself. ‘…and perhaps I’ve overspent a little but y’know, I could make Christmas presents this year. Yes. That’s what I’ll do,’ Mother’s spirits seemed to soar at this idea. ‘Why didn’t I think of that before! Everyone loves a thoughtful, homemade gift. So much more than a nice aftershave or pretty necklace,’ she added, to herself. I peered at her, appalled and wondered how long it would take her to realise that this was a terrible idea. For two very good reasons.
One: Mother is not in the slightest bit crafty. She once tried to knit a cardigan for me but all that happened was that she accidentally poked Father in the arm with a knitting needle and the result was an item of clothing that was peppered with holes. ‘It’s meant to be like that,’ she lied brazenly when teased by Grandma. ‘It’s the fashion,’ she added.
And two: if Mother’s doling out home-made gifts, then she’s going to have to accept such presents too. Like from Father. Who mistakenly believes he has an artistic streak; yet the last painting he did (of yours truly) was so disastrous Mother had to go and have a lie down from laughing too much. ‘I can’t believe you don’t recognise your own child,’ Father had snorted, indignant as he proffered the painting to Mother. Yes, I am sure that a badly sketched piece of art would be far less welcome than the new designer handbag Mother was actually coveting.
Fortunately, Mother came to her senses, reversing my pushchair in haste. I must say, the shop assistant was far less friendly as Mother returned her bulging bag of clothes. Mother wasn’t best pleased either. I couldn’t help but notice that her eyes had filled with tears as sweater, blouse, dress and skirt were reluctantly taken away from her still-holding-on-tightly clutches….