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Posts Tagged ‘Arndale’

‘Can you watch where you’re going, please?’ I say sternly to a bubblegum-haired teenager.

She arranges her face into a withering ‘piss off, you old bag’ sneer before noticing that she’s about to whack Milo in the face with her voluminous satchel.

‘Oh, sorreh,’ she says and pulls her mouth into the approximation of a smile.

It never fails to amaze me how the sight of my chubby little boy doing his wobbly walk melts the hardest of hearts. Even stroppy teens love him. (Well, the girls at any rate. Mind you, if Night Waking Milo was the doll that teens took home to find out what having a baby is really like, teenage pregnancy rates would plummet.)

Milo and I are in Waterstone’s, and I plonked him in the middle of the children’s section in the hope that he’d play with the toys or put up with me reading him a story. No chance – he is currently charging around the shop, trying to pull the special offer tags off the shelves and, when that doesn’t work, throwing the entire works of Doctor Who onto the floor.

‘Look, Milo, it’s a Dalek!”

Milo couldn’t give a stuff about Doctor Who’s deadliest foe. He’s more interested in exploring the tiny gap between the shelf and the floor.

‘No, don’t do that Milo, you’ll get your finger…’

Milo lets out a howl as his finger gets, as predicted, stuck. As he sobs uncontrollably, and as the mothers of well-behaved children give me The Look, I gently extract his finger and kiss it better.

‘Now, come over here and we can read a story.’

‘Hur-hur-hur,’ says Milo as he totters in the opposite direction.

‘No, Milo, the pram’s over here and I can’t leave it and chase after you. And be careful, you might…’

Milo falls onto his face. I wait for the crying to start but he just rolls over and reaches a hand towards a pile of student cookbooks. As he runs a fat finger across leaves that promise quick, easy and baked bean-based meals, a well-dressed woman almost treads on him.

‘Sorry, he’s just…’ I start, but the woman ignores me, skirts the baby and glides off across the store unimpeded.

‘I used to be like that, Milo,’ I say. ‘Shopping was easy. I could go wherever I liked, whenever I liked and I didn’t have to think about steps, baby changing, milk, meals, snacks, toys and play areas.’

I look down to see if he’s listening, but the boy is off, crawling across the floor commando style, weaving in and out of a dozen legs and heading for the exit. As I run to pick him up, I think, that’s OK; I wouldn’t swap my life now for the easy, just-me-and-my-boyfriend version for all the high heels in Selfridges. Well, not unless they offered me the Manolos and the YSL Tributes.

Ratings: Babychanging facilities: In the Arndale. Cafe: Yes. Buggy-friendly? Yes. Cost: Free Worth it? Yes, good children’s play area (if you can persuade your kids to stay in it), situated conveniently next to the café. I fantastise about a time when Milo is old enough to play there while I drink a leisurely latte.

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