Wednesday, 14 February 2007

Sent to Coventry

Oh dear. There’s trouble afoot in my world as I know it. This morning I went, with Mackenzie, to one of the usual nursery “outside activity” days. This means, instead of the kids running round destroying the nursery, they get the chance to destroy further afield – on this occasion, the local swimming pool. The pre-requisite for these outings is that as many mums as possible come along too. Fair enough.

So, there I was, draped in my towel to cover my swimming cossie for as long as possible – if I could get into the water with it wrapped round me, I would. There are too many size 8 au-pairs wandering around in bikinis for my liking. Mac was splashing around quite happily in the shallow end (no longer does he cling to me in the baby pool) along with his friend Tom and his mum Alison and Alex and his mum Joy. Naturally enough, conversation eventually turned to Mackenzie’s birthday treat. Friend Tom has been invited along with Jamie, Luke and Nike – Friend Alex hasn’t. Friend Alex and the rest of the alienated bunch of teeny pals will have to make do with a McDonalds Happy Meal. I mean, on the day itself! With the usual 3 year old lack of malice, Tom, holding onto his float with one hand casually came out with something along the lines of “my daddy’s giving me ten pounds to spend at the farm”. Naturally, Alex wanted to know what, when and how.

“I’m going to a farm with Mackenzie for his birthday” Tom continued, ignoring the anxious looks both myself and his mother were throwing at him. “And Luke and Jamie and Nike” Tom continued before effortlessly pushing himself into the centre of the shallow end. Alex’s lip wobbled alarmingly, his mum Joy looked less than joyful. “When was this arranged?” she demanded. It’s strange how someone wearing a flowery swim cap could look so ferocious. “Erm, last week” I squeaked. “I trust Alex’s invitation got lost in the post” she all but bellowed. Alex’s face was screwing up.

Mackenzie came to my rescue “Don’t shout at my mummy, daddy said he’s not paying for ALL of my friends to come because it wasn’t finally veeable”, he said, fixing her with steely blue eyes. Joy squinted down at him. “He means financially viable” I said but am sure I made it worse. “I see” Joy sniffed, scooping Alex away from the little gathering and heading for her cronies over by the water slide.

Alison was actually wincing when I finally looked at her. “Dear me, that’s torn it” she said quite cheerfully. Indeed it had. Within minutes, the tale had been spread around the huddle of mums and I was well and truly in the doghouse. Glares were being shot at me as gradually Luke and his mum Sally swam over to us, followed by Nike and his mum Bree (and new au-pair, size 10, blonde, German). We were the chosen few and therefore cast out from the group as a whole. “I told them we were all going to McDonalds on the 1st after playgroup as a birthday treat” Bree flapped as she approached “But Nasty Nuala’s mum said she’d rather eat dogs doings than sit under the Golden Arches with us”. The new au pair looked askance at this and twiddled with her belly button stud.

So. Because I’ve tried to do a lovely thing for my son’s birthday, I’ve caused all this upset. Canvassing the opinion of my friends and family I got the following responses:

Saskia: “Is Nasty Nuala’s mum the one with the hairy back?”
Eliza: “We’re not as small minded as this are we?”
Charlie: “Would they prefer Burger King then?”

How do I explain to a nearly three year old that the reason most of his pals didn’t stay around for the usual after-swim packet of crisps and Ribena Toothkind was because they had small minded, mean, bitter and twisted mothers who are social climbing on behalf of their off-spring?

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All about me

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Nunhead, London, United Kingdom
I'm a mum of one, wife of one and owner to several dogs, a variety of breeds and sizes. I live in the up and coming area (or so they say) of Nunhead and have mad neighbours, strange friends and certifiable relatives. I shop locally, although I do defect to Sainsburys once a week - shoot me now local shopkeepers.