Have you ever seen those mums out and about who look exactly as you had always planned to when you became the buggy-pusher? Dressed perfectly, subtle make up, hair not scraped up into a greasy ponytail….you know the type.
Well for just a moment when Tom was a baby, I was That Woman.
I had managed to get a shedload of work that had been piling up done in the morning, all the washing done, and somehow still had time to make myself look half decent for a lunch arranged by a friend.
For one day only I was doing it all. The lunch was in an uber-chic London brasserie. The sort of restaurant patronised by people with expense accounts rather than nappy bags. But it didn’t matter, because they would all look at me in my (not-too-high) heels with my perfect baby and assume I was one of those successful career women who still managed to make time to have a baby.
We kicked off with a cocktail. A cocktail at lunchtime. Oh yes, this would be the day when I would strut back to the step-free accessible tube station (four miles away) slightly squiffy thinking I’ve finally got this life balance lark sorted.
And then it happened.
My little angel began to grumble. To be fair, he had been the perfect baby for the previous two hours so I cut him a bit of slack. Anyway, I was Supermum and knew the sound for “I’ve soiled myself”. I excused myself, grabbed my fold-out baby mat and general baby butt accoutrements and headed for the loos. The maître’d politely told me there was no baby changing but that each individual toilet had a long counter and wash basin which should be more than adequate. I smiled and thanked her slightly sanctimoniously — I had this.
And then it all changed.
I got to the loo, placed baby on precarious marble counter top and in a split second, everything changed. The poop was everywhere. Lining the inside of his trousers, up his back, over his vest. It was only a week into solid food and his little bowels were rebelling. He grabbed at his trousers and I snatched them back quickly, only to have the sh*te splatter everywhere. On the walls, on my dress, on both our faces.
It was like that scene in Trainspotting (you know the one).
I threw the poop-splattered clothes into the sink and reached into the pocket of the fold out mat where I keep a spare baby gro. Was it there? Was it feck. It was the one thing I hadn’t checked. With one hand to stop baby falling, I used the other to rinse the clothes. I could dry them with the hand dryer and at least go back to the table with him half dressed. It was then I saw the neat little pile of linen hand towels. No dryer.
Ten minutes later I emerged and did my best to walk calmly back to our table; my make up smudged where I’d wiped off poop, blotches on my dress and the sodden clothes rolled up into a nappy bag. And baby Tom wearing nothing but a nappy.
I had to nip out to H&M to buy him fresh clothes. But when I got back the stares had stopped and there was another cocktail waiting. Aren’t good friends great.
I still walked home that day