Saturday, 24 March 2012


Today I was going to post about the virtues of NCT nearly new sales, about the vast amounts of money you can save, and the piles of jigsaws, books and clothes you can come away with.
Instead I am just going to rant.  Again.

So I thought it would be a good idea to go to a local NCT sale with both children in tow.  This is despite having done this once before and swearing never to do it again.  It started relatively well.  It was a small sale and Thomas was persuaded to sit against the wall with a book while I ran round the stalls, speed-buying 3-6 month baby clothes, Thomas-sized t-shirts and an old-style Fisher Price camper van that I remember playing with 30 years ago.
Having promised him cake and squash if he behaved himself, we decamped to the cafĂ© area and I sat down feeling rather smug about a successful trip.  Thomas clearly sensed this and decided it was time to bring me back down to earth with a bump.

His previous record for bad behaviour is generally known as Healthvisitor-gate.  NCTsale- gate was much, much worse.  At least while rampaging and running amok at the baby clinic, there were relatively few witnesses – although a health visitor is obviously one of the people you would prefer not to be there when your two year-old decides to throw himself on the ground and scream “please don’t put me in the boot, mummy!”
At an NCT sale, however, you are surrounded by brand, spanking new parents, who cannot possibly imagine that their angelically slumbering bundle of joy will one day turn into the kind of kicking, screaming, biting ball of fury that Thomas became this morning.  I am not entirely sure what triggered the deterioration.  There was a minor dispute about the correct way to eat a cupcake, but this was resolved with intense diplomatic negotiation.  And then Thomas decided to do his Spawn of Satan impression.  Unfortunately we were sitting right next to an NCT group, having a mini-meetup with their tiny, new babies who were all stunned into judgemental silence as Thomas rolled on the floor, screaming and attempting to bite me in my ankle.  When this was unsuccessful (I was wearing boots which led to wails that he had hurt his teeth) he resorted to emptying my bag over the floor.  I was reduced to hanging onto him by the ankle as he tried to escape commando-style across the floor, while Ben dangled backwards out of the sling, wailing about his interrupted feed.

One of the new dads decided this would be a particularly good time to start holding forth, loudly and at length, about the fact that his personal choice of carrier, the Baby Bjorn, was the only safe one.  Other slings, he explained, nodding in my direction were extremely dangerous and had been withdrawn from sale, and while he could quite understand why some people might find it easier to use on, he didn’t personally feel it was a risk worth taking.  The rest of his group nodded vigorously while gazing disapprovingly at the woman with the dangerous carrier and the delinquent toddler.
I could, I suppose have explained politely that he was mistaken.  However, I was slightly distracted by the screaming child who was at that point firmly wrapped around my leg, occasionally reaching up to flail and swipe at me, and I was fairly sure that I was incapable of coming out with anything that did not end in “you utter arse of a man”.  So I contented myself with giving him that tight, insincere smile that I very much hope clearly conveyed “I look forward to seeing you here in two years when your precious firstborn is grinding purple-iced cupcakes into the carpet and kicking you in the shins, but in the meantime, please feel free to shove your Baby Bjorn where the sun doesn’t shine.”

As Thomas rampaged through the carpark with me in slightly lukewarm pursuit, a nice, elderly lady came over and gave me a glimmer of hope.  “It gets better,” she said.  “One day they grow up and leave home.”

Only 18 years to go then……

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