Saturday, 5 July 2008

The Devil wears Prada, or is that Pampers?

What a difference a weekend makes. Last week I was working as an assistant at a fashion magazine during Paris Couture Fashion Week. It was all uncomfortable shoes and mad dashes for Starbucks soya lattes. Slightly stressful, but fascinating nonetheless. Fast forward to this week, and my latest temp-job, minding a one-year-old boy in Belleville. It's all uncomfortable soggy jeans and mad dashes for easy-wipes in the park. As it turns out, I'm as much a fish out of water in both worlds.
Last week I was tottering to work in, for me, high heels, only to be congratulated on my "comfy shoes" by a towering amazon on Louboutin stilts. As well as the mandatory Starbucks runs, I learnt a lot about the dos and don'ts of high fashion, including the following scathing appraisal of a fashion party : "It was a wash 'n wear crowd." Take note: fashionistas don't wash their clothes. And even if they did, they would never think of washing their clothes, only to go and wear them again; the horror!
My wash and wear wardrobe and I moved seamlessly into this week where it has been exactly like Three Men and a Baby without the moustaches.
My only previous babysitting experience was an evening spent hovering over my goddaughter's crib, checking she was still breathing roughly every two minutes. So I was in at the deep end this time with a full 6 hours a day with a real live toddler to entertain and keep clean.
Again, the learning curve has been steep. I was genuinely wondering whether I was "allowed" into the supermarket with the baby in the pushchair- I somehow thought it might be like a dog and you'd have to tie it up outside. 
The park was also a new one on me. It's so hazardous! All that concrete to fall onto, sand to eat and get into your clothes, and nasty "big boys" running full pelt into you all the time. Don't even get me started on the swings. And all the parents and nannies sit there happily watching their fragile charges risk life and limb. I was petrified.  
Just keeping my eyes on both the baby and the pushchair was a Herculean task that was almost beyond me. But even that was better than sitting back at home watching him endlessly pointing his (admittedly adorable) finger at every single object in the room, shouting his one word of French: "là-bas?" 
I only both experiences are going to be good training for my future life as an impossibly chic mother.