The Ghost of Christmas Future

I met Future Me today.

It’s a Thursday, so at 3pm I was doing my usual: trying to control Mini and Maxi Minxes whilst standing impatiently outside the nursery door, waiting on them opening up, getting anxious that yet again, we’re going to be late for ballet class. The nursery class appears to operate at 4 minutes slower than the rest of the universe school. Over the Christmas holidays their clock’s gotten slower: it’s now about 6 minutes.

So there I was, hopping from one foot to the next, whilst pretending to look as nonchalent as you can when your blood-pressure’s sky-high, you’ve had a rough day, it’s freezing and the driving sleet is chilling you to your bones and you’re dreading an hour of shrieking banshee mini ballerinas. Some fat old troll waddles up, pushes past my girls and growls at the queue in general, “Are youse queueing for nursery?” A few of us muttered, “Aye” but I suspect we were all biting back various retorts along the lines of, “Naw, we’re queueing for the STD clinic: what have you got?”

Anyway, she squeezed herself to the front of the queue. One of the nursery teachers trilled, “No, you have to wait till the teacher releases your grandchild!” because, I think I’ve said before, they insist on the toddlers sitting down till *they* call them forward to meet you at the doorframe when you get to the head of the queue of parents. Anyway, Fatso gurgled, “Whit a load o’ rubbish! Here x, come on now, say goodbye to your teachers!”, waddled in, grabbed x, and squished on past. “That’s how you do it!” she smugly announced to the queue.

Around a million retorts fought amongst themselves in my head to be first to be spoken. Rude slurs like “I guess you really are Speshul and need to go first in case you piss your pants waiting”, “Are your piles too painful for you to stand waiting for a minute?”; truisms like, “No, really, you go first: age before beauty”; angry remarks like, “If you can’t be bothered to wait, then you’d better come earlier tomorrow”, “I’m in a hurry, too – are your piles more important than me getting to an appointment in time?” So: what witty, pithy retort made it? Wait for it… Here it is…

“Yeah, but, but… oh, I can’t be arsed”

Nice one, Trout. That really told her. Bet she’s smouldering over her cauldron right now, still beaming in shame. What a dork!

So yeah, I was furious at the old bag for being so rude, cross with the crowd for letting her, and boiling mad at myself for being too slow to even protest properly. Grrrrrr! And the thing is, as angry as I was, I could see her point. And I could also see an awful lot of myself in her; just 25 years older and 25 stone heavier.

You can imagine how my mood was when I got the girls to ballet and 2 uncontrolled kids were running screaming along the corridor and round and round the dining room, where the kids change. I tend to sit in the far corner out of the way – it stops me and all my millions of bags of *stuff* getting in everyone’s way, it’s a little quieter, and it’s easier for me to control my own wee horrors. So when the 2 hooligans raced past for a 4th time and ignored the tuts from me and 2 other mums, I muttered that once more and I’d trip them. Well, to be fair they’re only 8 or so, and what 8 year old even notices the existence of middle-aged mums, never mind that you might be getting in their way? So, on the 6th pass I put my arms up and said loudly and in a low voice, “OK, you need to stop running now – you nearly knocked over the baby. Enough. Stop”

Lo and behold, Mummy Hooligan stepped forward suddenly and had a word with them. Aaaaaaaah, so that’s who owned them? They resumed their shrill screeching and chasing up and down, knocking things over, but in the corridor away from my toddler at least. Though that little toddler kept making a bee-line for a teeny-tiny baby girl in a car seat, right the other end of the room. I had let Mini dress herself up like a dog’s dinner (pink wool dress, pink and blue wellies, enormous pink frothy ballet skirt, too-big sheepskin coat with flapping mits, too-small pink and blue earflap hat perched on the top of her head with a football-sized pompom) so at least the sight of her gave everyone a tiny bit of warning of the impending doom as she stormed towards them. Luckily I intercepted Mini in time before she touched the wee baby, but it was (shame-facedly) close. And as usual Midi chose those moments to run off in the direction of the door opening onto the car park. Talk about torn…

And I solved the mystery of the vanishing food and drink. Finally! Two or 3 times I’ve run out of snacks and drinks for the minxes: Maxi’s finished her lesson and I’ve gone to give her the last juice carton, orange and tub of raisins, only to find something missing. Each time, I’ve found the wrapper or peel in the bucket, so I’ve assumed that stupidly, in my sleep-deprived haze, that I’ve fed a younger minx twice. Today I noticed a wee girl lean over the table, smiling away, licking her lips and all but drooling, swaying in her seat. As the arcs of her sways brought her closer to the juice cartons and pots of raisins lying in front of Midi and Mini, she stopped pretending to smile at the girls and gleefully slabbered at the food. On the 4th sway she was within grabbing range and there was no doubt whatsoever that she was planning a grab and run raid. I leaned over, snapped the lids on the pots and moved the cartons nearer to me. She looked at me, scowled, and slunk off. Guess she’s away to look up ‘subtlety’ in the dictionary.

Wish this came with a wee stand, trolley and IV attachments

I’m not ending this post on a downer. This morning I decided that I needed a treat, so me, Midi and Mini headed into the heaving metropolis of Elgin and bothered 2 nice, quiet ladies in our favourite coffee shop – they were just enjoying a quiet scone and a coffee, minding their own business. I did feel sorry that me and the girls shattered their peace, but honestly, I kept my commands and orders as quiet as I could. And the girls didn’t spill or splash anything. Baby Mini clearly said a new word, “Draw! Draw!”, which impressed me hugely – we rarely go to Scribbles yet she’d remembered that you get a wee piece of paper and crayons to draw with. She and Midi even shared the crayons without trying to eat them / stab each other. They drank their strawberry milkshakes neatly, gobbled up half an Empire biscuit each (Midi placated because I whispered that she’d gotten the biggest half), troughed half my scone, and drew a map back to the car, each. I feel sorry that we were noisy, but I must admit that we 3 had a cracking great half hour.

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