Charlotte Philby's Parental Leave: The smiles of strangers felt like being blown kisses

A mother's weekly dispatch from the pre-school frontline

Share

Today did not start well. It started several times in fact, none of them ideal. First at midnight: "Woody weed in my bed!" (Woody is three inches tall with button eyes and synthetic wool for a bladder.)

Then at 2.20am with a text from the young joiner who recently came to hang some doors: 'What you saying, mate?'. Implying either he was short of friends and deeply touched by our 20-second chat about the merits of hinges. Or that he was about to cry out: "OMFG, I'm off my bloody face and I just texted my client!!!!".

All this before being alerted to the new dawn by the dulcet shriek of the five-month-old foghorn. So it was heartening when, at 7.45am, I stepped on to the street and people smiled. Confusing, too, because as a buggy-user it's customary to receive hisses from fellow pavement-users as you selfishly deliver your children to nursery so that you can go to work – and rightly so, if you are so feckless as to give birth to babies who cannot walk.

So this morning, the smiles of strangers felt like being blown kisses and strewn in puppy-scented confetti. Everyone was at it; a group of boys at the bus stop even managed a light chuckle.

And it was infectious – by the time I reached the supermarket mid- morning I was positively beaming. "Look at me!" I wanted to shout: "I may feel like I've been battered with a cast-iron bath but here I am, just me and an empty double-buggy, and I'm grinning from ear to ear!"

Then a hand tapped me on the shoulder: "Sorry love, your cardigan is inside out".

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior BI Engineer (BI/MI, Data Mining)

£60000 - £65000 per annum + Bonus & Benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior BI Enginee...

Retail Promotions Manager – TV and Film Catalogue

Up to £171 PAYE per day (equal to 40 – 45K ) : Sauce Recruitment: This is a te...

Nursery Nurse

£7 - £8 per hour: Randstad Education Leeds: Nursery Nurse Level 3 or above Ear...

Special Needs teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Special Need teachers required t...

Day In a Page

 

Naturism criminalised: Why not being able to bare all is a bummer

Simon Usborne
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on