Saturday, 10 March 2012

Checkout Chatter


I woke up this morning, still replaying the frankly mortifying experience of yesterday in my head. In a bid to distract myself, I took myself off to Waitrose as this week's (doomed) interview preparation (I did actually do some), had left no time for the online shop.

It was still relatively early when I got there. Brighton is usually pretty sleepy on weekend mornings, but I can think of fewer more middle-class places than Waitrose in Brighton (well, Hove actually), so I was expecting quite a civilised experience.

After I had dodged the very-well behaved local residents stocking up on organic goat's cheese, antipasti and micro-biotic muesli, all packed into jute 'Free Tibet', reusable bags, I accidentally became embroiled in conversation at the checkout with a well-spoken, middle-aged, Boden-wearing lady.

I had clocked her expression as I piled onto the conveyor belt the 'Little Dish' toddler ready-meals  that I send Dexter to nursery with everyday. As I mentioned in yesterday's post, when under pressure, comedy is my default mode, so I simply shrugged my shoulders and said, "I know: slack mum."

She tried to be kind and suggest that it would probably be easier (and cheaper), to stick our food in the food processor. I dutifully explained that I had done this for several months, but now the boy is sort of between baby food and our food, plus working full-time means that the meal in a box is simply more convenient. I thought she was on my side when she acknowledged how hard it must be juggling everything, and the difficulties of working and parenting in isolation, as it should be a community activity. I agreed wholeheartedly, but was a little bit stung by her off-the-cuff comment that if we all did it 'properly', that is, stayed at home, we'd probably have fewer problems in society and prisons wouldn't be so full!

Still feeling a bit bruised and rubbish from yesterday's experience and doubting my professional competence, I was suddenly forced to question my parenting 'choices'. For the second time in two days, I sat in the car and cried. I honestly don't think the lady was trying to make a direct connection between Dexter going to nursery and rising crime rates, and I know when I am being over-tired, over-sensitive and hormonal. However, I felt a little wounded.

The husband was quite understanding about it all when I returned home all blotchy-eyed. A scoot into town and some tea-time sushi soon make me feel better.

Today's (badly-lit) #366 photo is of Dexter and me in the toilets of Moshi-Moshi. He had just had a toxic nappy changed and we were dancing in the mirror of the baby-change, as the speakers in there pump the restaurant's music through. If I didn't work, we simply wouldn't have the money for such spontaneous fun, and anyway, I have been known when peckish, to stick a 'Little Dish' pie in the microwave. They're jolly tasty.

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