So I think amidst my blogging breakdown (and slight pom pom obsession) I may have forgotten to mention that it's Renée's fifth birthday party tomorrow (which could trigger a real breakdown rather than a mere virtual one...we shall see). She won't actually be five until the end of next week, but what with husband being away on a surf road trip (thinly disguised as a week's work), we've had to bring the party forward. Call me naive, but I decided to invite her whole class of 30, not wanting to exclude anyone and also, hoping that as it's the Summer holidays, most people will be away and only half of those invited will be around.
Trust me to have picked the one weekend when everyone is at home. Well, 25 out of the 30 anyway.
So this morning, in a mild state of panic at the prospect of having to entertain 25 five-year-olds inside my own home, I decided to stock up on party paraphenalia from an out-of-town Supermarket which I've never actually been to, but which I've heard sells not only food and drink but all manner of bits and pieces needed for party games too - sacks for sack races, plastic eggs and spoons, bean bags, bunting. You name it.
The thing is, there's nothing worse than visiting a Supermarket you've never been to, when (a) you're in a hurry, (b) you have an unbelievably enormous amount of items to buy and (c) you have a small child with you who's favourite words are 'I want', followed by everything in the store.
It really isn't all that pleasant.
Add to that the fact that it was a very warm Saturday morning and every other Mother and their screaming child had decided to shop at that precise moment and you can just about imagine the tranquility of the scene.
And this is where I revert to the present tense, just to get you in the mood.
The whining cries of 'I want' are emanating from all four corners of the shop. Everywhere I turn there is a red-faced toddler in the middle of the worst tantrum of their life, and an equally red-faced parent wishing they were anywhere but here, and I CAN NOT, for the life of me, locate one item that I have come in for.
My urge, of course, is to turn around and drive straight back to the comfort of my home, but I am a Mother and I have a Mother's responsibility to throw a fantastic birthday party and I can't succeed in doing that without my sacks and plastic eggs.
So instead, I walk from aisle to aisle, scanning every shelf for at least one item that I can cross off my rather lengthy list, swearing to myself never to set foot inside this hideous place again and soldier on. A toddler in the sweetie aisle has just thrown themselves on the floor in front of me, so I hastily back away, narrowly missing the teetering jelly beans with the edge of my trolley.
And that's when I hear a child being told off by a voice full of hatred and malice. I wonder what this poor little monkey has done to warrant such a verbal battering.
'Get out of my way. Pesky child'.
I turn round expecting to see a small toddler cowering under the onslaught, but instead there's a rather elderly-looking woman in some sort of motorised transport and she's looking straight at me, almost frothing at the mouth with distaste.
'You're in my way, you menace. Move. Can't you walk in a straight line?'
I look around and around and then I realise that it must be me she's talking to.
'Erm, obviously no I can't you bloody old woman', I want to shout. 'I have no idea where I am, what I'm doing here and I wish I'd never come, but thanks for making me feel even better about myself. Now toddle off and leave me alone before I really give you something to moan about.'
Of course I don't actually say that. She does look rather old. And she's probably infirm.
So I just stare incredulously at her, take a deep breath in and continue on my way. As does she, muttering under her breath as she goes.
Should I have been flattered that she had referred to me as a child? Stupidly I felt quite shaken by the whole affair. Violated even. But if that's what I have to go through for my children, then so be it.
Wish me luck for the party. I think I may need it...
hayley balozi posted a blog post
1 day ago