YESTERDAY, we met up with our mother and baby friends for our usual Wednesday lunch and soft play – I look forward to it every week.
After two days in work – Tuesday being our deadline day – a day with Santi and friends is just what I need.
Unfortunately, this week’s catchup was a disaster.
Santi hadn’t slept well (at all) the night before. He woke up far too early for my liking on my day off, and was in a mega grump.
We were due at Sing and Sign at 11.15am, but Santi was well into a three hour nap when we should have been leaving the house. There was no way I was waking the sleeping beast and taking him if he hadn’t slept off his bad mood, so I left him until we were meeting the girls and babies.
He woke full of smiles, let me dress him with no complaints, and got into the car seat with just the tiniest of moans. It was going to be a good afternoon.
We were meeting in Harvester, and after 10 minutes in the high chair, he wanted out. I took him for a quick walk around to let off some steam, and that was it. There was no way he was going back in the chair. There were tears and screaming, he arched his back, refused to bend his legs, and had a meltdown in front of everyone.
I was mortified.
I tried walking him around again (several times) while we waited for food, but every time we got back to the table he kicked off. To be fair, he had slept for three hours then been put straight in the car, so to expect him to sit contentedly in a high chair was asking a lot. I didn’t see that at the time – I was too busy trying to wrestle a small child away from other people’s tables and debating whether to just leave without eating. It was that bad.
But, as easy as it is to complain about the fact that I paid £8 for a burger and chips I ate in two minutes flat and left with barbecue sauce smeared over my shoulder, I’ve decided instead to look at the positive side of having a child that is strong-willed, spirited, or whatever other polite term you might have for a stubborn mule.
If Santi sat happily while I ate, I wouldn’t burn off my meals before even eating them. I’d consume twice as many calories from actually finishing a plate of food, and I’d not only get to look at a dessert menu but I’d actually order from it too. Thanks to Santi there’s no chance of putting on weight.
While I’m being dragged away from the table by Santi clinging onto my index finger like his life depended on it, I’m now able to finish my drink, get my debit card out to pay and grab the last remaining chips before they’re whisked away by the waitress – all with one hand. If that doesn’t get me on Britain’s Got Talent nothing will.
Did you know that the plants outside the Harvester are actually fake? No? That’s because you’ve been sat at your table the whole time. Yesterday, we discovered a chicken inside a toy machine, felt a fascinating brick wall, found a stash of free crayons, and nabbed a balloon. Much better than eating the food you ordered, no?
This is what meeting the mothers and babies is all about – getting out of the house and catching up. It’s a shame then that I rarely get to follow one whole conversation. On this occasion I did, however, learn about an elderly couple’s grandson who was also a busy baby, chat with the kitchen and bar staff, and Santi made friends with a little girl who he was pretty insistant had to sit on the floor with him. Winning.
A curious baby leads to all sorts of new lessons being learned. Not only did we make the incredible discovery about the fake plants, we learned that 40 minutes is a VERY long time to wait for food, and through a little bit of eavesdropping I was informed that St John’s Wort renders the contraceptive pill useless. Who knew?!
Life certainly isn’t dull when you have a baby as headstrong as Santi! As physically (and mentally in yesterday’s case) draining as it is looking after someone determined to do their own thing, it can also be a lot of fun. When we finally got to the soft play place Santi was in his element, fearlessly trying to throw himself headfirst down the slide, clambering up stairs and generally being a wild child.