Ladies and gentlemen, I have been well and truly JUDGED.
And I say to thee, Ye Olde Judgey McJudgeys of Wembley, if you are thinking that someone has made a terrible parenting faux pas, unless it is quite clear that the parenting in question constitutes actual child abuse, please keep your thoughts to yourself.
Yesterday Piglet had his latest settling in session with the childminder, and we had to get up at the ungodly hour of 7.30am to ensure that we had two hours to get out of bed and present ourselves in some sort of reasonable condition at the station in time for the 9.34 train. Gone are the days when I could roll out of bed and spend twenty minutes slowly waking myself up with a cup of tea in front of BBC Breakfast. Nowadays, those precious twenty minutes are spent watching Piglet fling a spoon around, sending gloopy porridge spurting over the cowhide rug, and furiously pumping milk like a frustrated dairy cow after realising that I failed to defrost today’s expressed milk from the freezer the previous night and it is still rock solid. The knock-on effect of having to spend breakfast pumping milk is that unnecessary activities like having a shower and putting on make up go out of the window, meaning I basically had to go out looking like this.
It was a good look.
Piglet, for his part, was in the sling following the Stair Based Pram Disaster which led to my beloved Bugaboo being bent to one side after being lugged up some steps in a tube station which shall not be named (thank you, South Ruislip).
It should probably also be mentioned that there was an eclipse happening at the time, although it was impossible to see as the sky was completely overcast. It did, however, mean that it was slightly chillier than I had assumed, it not having occurred to me that with 80-odd per cent of the sun being blocked out, it might get a bit cold. As I had been expecting a balmy spring day, I had dressed Piglet in his (very warm) jacket, instead of his snowsuit. He also had a felted cardigan underneath, and a woolly hat on, and he was snuggled close to me in his sling, so he would have been perfectly warm. I was a bit worried about his feet as he just had trousers and socks on his bottom half, so I was rubbing them periodically to make sure he was warm. He was perfectly content however, so I assumed-not unreasonably-that he was fine.
And then some random woman approached me and asked if Piglet was “OK in there, or do you need to pull your coat round him a bit?”
Like I was actually Jimmy Savile or something. This woman, in her infinite wisdom, thought I was some sort of monstrous neglectful child abuser. In years to come, Piglet will probably end up writing a harrowing book called A Child Called Piglet, where he describes how his neglectful mother used to parade him around the train station during eclipses in just his socks. Well, and his nappy. And his trousers. And garters to keep his socks on. And a vest. And a felted cardigan. And a frigging COAT. And a very cosy sling.
Wembley Stadium Station: the scene of the crime
Of course, with some people you just can’t win. I spent the rest of the day in abject fear of what people might be thinking about my parenting skills, especially when I picked Piglet up from the childminder and he CRIED. Like he was thinking, “please don’t let me go back to that horrible, mean Mummy who took me out this morning without a snowsuit like I was Tiny Tim from A Christmas Carol.”
And then the weather changed. The weather changed so dramatically that on the way home, as we basked in the spring sunshine on the sun-baked train platform where we waited for AN HOUR for the train, I actually thought Piglet was going to get sunburnt. The poor mite had to wear his woolly hat and coat to protect against the sun’s blistering rays. I debated taking him into the shelter of the concrete steps leading up to the train platform, but WHAT IF HE FELL DOWN THE STEPS? The same steps, I might add, which had the audacity to bend a pram out of shape. Goodness knows what horrors they could inflict on a baby. And am I allowed to put the baby on the seat next to me, even if I hold him there? He might bang his head, for God’s sake, and the seat is made of metal!
Parenting. A minefield, eh?
No, not an actual minefield. I didn’t take Piglet to Cambodia to look at landmines! Put your phones down, people!