I am willing to place a sizable bet on the fact that I will somehow make a fool of myself every single day of 2012. I always wonder whether I am just a poor unfortunate soul who is fated to do a disproportionate number of silly things; or whether in fact everyone else is the same, but I am too busy hiding my blushes to notice their embarrassing mishaps.
Today started with a few tears – Sam’s rabbit nightlight had run out of batteries and I didn’t have replacements in stock. However, by promising that we would buy some in town later, he soon perked up; even more so when I handed him his ‘Doggie’ – a soft toy dog on a lead which he’s started taking everywhere. He loves it, but the lead makes it perfect for dragging it through puddles so I dearly regret purchasing a light-coloured one.
In the afternoon we went to gymnastics: Sam’s favourite of all the toddler groups. Mine too, actually – whilst there, my mind wanders to all the amazing feats of athleticism I could be performing…if only; as in my fantasy world; I was smaller, more supple and had the skills to take me on from a forward roll (which is surprisingly tricky – try it! I am convinced the adult body is too long to roll up in such a fashion. My attempts look similar to how I’d imagine a 30cm ruler would look…if it had the ability or inducement to try such a thing).
Luckily I have so far refrained from having a crack at the asymmetrical bars; limiting myself to a sneaky walk across the beam whenever people’s heads are turned. It seems that, for once, I am able to distinguish between dreams and reality (trouthe and illusione, if you will!). I learned my lesson back in 1998, when, having stayed up late watching the Winter Olympics, I decided to perform a skate-less triple Lutz in my bedroom. The following day of our holiday was spent in hospital…along with my concerned mum and five grumbling siblings.
So…lesson learned; this particular tale of humiliation does not involve failed back flips. It was just as painful though.
It began right at the start of the session.
This man kept catching my eye and smiling. My natural response was not to feel flattered – on another day, perhaps – but today I am wearing old jeans and a t-shirt, have two huge spots on my chin, and, due to the antibiotics I’m taking, my skin is so dry that I look like I have a beard.
So no; I was fairly sure flirtation couldn’t be the answer. But I couldn’t work out who he was – his face vaguely rung a bell, but I didn’t recognise his son, so couldn’t guess at whose husband he might be. I kept throwing covert glances at him in the hope that I would discover the reason for his friendliness…which, with my lack of subtlety, unfortunately meant I looked like I was staring at him.
Finally our sons chose to climb atop the horse at the same time, meaning I was forced into a brief exchange with the man about how our Christmases had been. He seemed to be expecting follow-up questions, but the best I could do was ‘I feel I know you in a different context…?’
…Ahh yes, of course; I worked with him in the weeks before Christmas. Nice one, memory: failed again. In an attempt to cover my confusion and embarrassment, I said, very loudly (other parents looked scornful): ‘OH! YES! …YOU’RE SANTA! I DIDN’T RECOGNISE YOU WITHOUT THE BEARD!’ Quite apart from the fact I may have spoiled Christmas for several small children, I now realise that, since he was actually a groundsman, and never donned the Santa outfit, my comment only served to draw attention to my own thriving beard.
I scuttled away as quick as I could and concentrated my attention on Sam for the rest of the session. All went fine.
Until right at the end when everyone was sitting together putting their shoes and coats on.
In the way that I do, I was chattering away to Sam about what we’d been doing in gymnastics and exclaiming over the sticker he’d received for being a good boy. He humoured me for a bit, but, no doubt because I was taking too long buttoning his coat, thus taking away from the time he could be playing with his toy dog, he started demanding that we go back home. This is an insight into the conversation from there:
Sam: Back home Mummy. BACK HOME MUMMY.
Me: No, sorry Sam, we need to do some shopping first.
Sam: Back HOME Mummy.
Me: Look; Sam; we will go back home, but Mummy needs to buy some new batteries for her rabbit.
Sam: BACK HOOOMMMMEE MUMMMMYYY!
Me: SAM! We will GO back home, but only after Mummy has bought some batteries for her rabbit.
[Realise that all conversations have ceased around me]
Me: Oh…um…err…YOUR rabbit, we need batteries for your rabbit; not my rabbit. Not that I even have a rabbit…
[Massively red, seeing EVERYONE staring at me in amusement/disgust]
Sam: MORE DOGGY. BACK HOME. MORE DOGGY.
Me: Um yes. We will play more doggy. But we need to get batteries for your rabbit. Your rabbit nightlight.
Sam: MORE DOGGY MORE DOGGY MORE DOGGY!
Me: More dogg…? Oh god…
At that point I grabbed his shoes and ran. Yet another toddler group where we have been blacklisted.