During a recent trip back to London for work, I became trapped in a wine bar with a friend by an army of yummy mummies. It was mid afternoon and perhaps we should have anticipated that a roomy, women-friendly venue in an affluent part of Clapham would be a favourite for green tea and cake-fuelled debates about the relative merits of different brands of organic baby foods. But as increasing numbers of well-dressed young women manouvered their designer baby tanks through the double doors and assembled next to and around our comfy sofa, we began to share a mild sense of discomfort, soon to be displaced by incredulity.
Having failed to suppress our giggles over “she’s a little bit special about yogurt”, we lost it when one yummy asked another: “have you tried George with tangerines and if so, do you peel the skin off every segment for him?”. Yes, and yes.
We received benign, no, patronising smiles in response to our sniggers. Time for us to clamber over the all-terrain baby mobility systems and return to our cynical sanity.
It’s not that I’ve been away long enough to forget about the posh buggy clubs that operate in certain parts of the Capital (in our little bit of north London, baby jogging and “walkie talkie” groups on Hampstead Heath are what the new, or not so new, mothers who don’t need to work do to pass the time). But it’s so far removed, and offensively so in these straitened times, from the day-to-day reality of parenting small children here in Òrgiva, or indeed in any working class community, anywhere.
I was reminded of gorgeous George and his perfectly peeled tangerines as I sat with my daughter on our decking a few days later. Off sick from school, she had decided that sitting in the sun and attempting to relieve our loaded trees of their burden of fruit might help clear her aching head. “Vitamin C mum, vitamin C.”
I sampled one, winced at the hit of acidity and nearly choked on the pips. I don’t have the knack of spitting out the stones that my daughter acquired as a baby and has finely honed over the years. Not for her the peeled segment. Call social services.