Breasts, Books and Tennis

Another wet, miserable day, so I took the girls to the library.  They have a reading corner a couple of times a week were someone comes in and reads a few children’s books.  It’s a nice way to spend an hour and we usually have lunch in the coffee shop.  As it’s Wimbledon week, I’ve added a tennis theme to my post.

There were only about 8 children there today so we settled in and much to my surprise our toddler was exceptionally well-behaved.  I would almost even boast that she was the best behaved of them all – but then I know by saying that out loud she will be a demon for the rest of the week, so I’ll hush up!

Towards the end of the last story, I knew that our baby, who had been munching contentedly on my knuckles would be getting hungry, so I got her bottle out and started to feed her a little.  That was when I noticed the lemon faced trout about 2 chairs down from me, glaring at me with a furrowed brow.  I carried on with what I was doing, but glanced in her direction every so often.  Each time, she had that same look on her face – a bit like a bulldog sucking a wasp!  Her daughter was upside down knocking over books, kicking her shoes off and making a bit of her nuisance of herself, while bulldog lady just ignored her.

The story ended and we headed to the coffee shop.  They do a special toddler lunchbox, it’s not really “special”  it’s a sandwich, some cheese, raisins, yoghurt, fresh fruit and a juice.  My daughter got hers, sat up like the perfect cherub child (oh tomorrow will be hell on earth)  spread it out onto her plate and sat there chatting to me swinging her legs and eating her food, with no protests whatsoever.

At the table beside me was bulldog woman, again glaring right at me.  By this time I was getting just a bit peeved at her, so I asked her if she had a problem with something, or could I help her with something.  She then points directly at my baby and says “I despair at all these babies being bottle fed, formula milk is just not natural.”

My toddler was eating away quite happily, hers meanwhile is throwing her food on the floor, almost hanging from the rafters and pouring her juice all over the table.  If she had peeved me with all her glaring, she had really really peeved me now.  How dare she, criticise the way I feed my baby.  She had no way of knowing whether it was formula or breast milk in that bottle, she had no way of knowing if the baby was even mine!

I am very pro breast-feeding and until my first daughter had to be delivered by emergency section, I fully intended to breast feed.  However, I was informed that I needed medication and I would not be able to.  I was totally gutted and I beat myself up for weeks about not breast-feeding her.  However, the choice I had was take the pills and live, but can’t breast feed or breast feed and run the very real risk of having a stroke.  Personally at the time being alive for my daughter was more important.  By the time baby number 2 came along, I already knew that I wouldn’t be able to breast feed as my medication has increased to 9 pills a day.  So I didn’t have the same feelings of inadequacy and guilt.

I however, was not prepared to divulge this information to some sour faced stranger in the library coffee shop, just because she thought she could be condescending.  So I simply said “if it causes you despair, then perhaps you really need to seek professional help.” – 15 Love.   She began then to do her best guppy impression, opening and closing her mouth, but no words were coming out.  Finally she said “I breast-fed my daughter and think it’s a shame that people won’t even try it.”  So I simply responded with “well you were very fortunate, that you were able to do that, some of us don’t have the choice.” – 30 Love.  Again this was met by lots of guppy faces.  She continued rambling on, trying to back track and saying things like “oh, I don’t mean women who have a genuine reason.”   Argh, shut up missus, you are just all white noise to me now! – 40 Love.

I just carried on pretty much ignoring her rambling, but watching her daughter, who I guess was about 4.  The child had by this point squashed the entire contents of the lunchbox over the floor and table and had eaten nothing.  We by this stage were finished and ready to leave, my little 2-year-old having eaten all her lunch was busy piling her rubbish onto the tray (I know for sure now tomorrow will be hell).

So I turn to bulldog sucking a wasp while chewing a  lemon at the same time, guppy face and simply say “I do commend you for breast-feeding.  However, at her age, don’t you think she should be eating solids by now!”  Game set and match to me.

Why is it always me who attracts these people – do I have a big neon sign above my head saying, all opinions gratefully received.  People with chips on their shoulders off load them here.  I really do seem to have the uncanny knack of being like a magnet to these people.  Perhaps I should stay at home and never venture out.  No that wouldn’t work either, because I’ve had a few call at my door.  But that’s a story for another evening and believe it or not even weirder!

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