Babe: 3 years outside
Babeling: 6 months inside

Babyfather was off work on Friday and agreed to pick up the babe from her nursery. This was his first time so we had the following conversation:

Babymother: I need to explain the ritual to you.

Babyfather: OK.

BM: First, you need to find the door, which is hidden round the side and looks locked.

BF: OK.

BM: Then you walk through the lobby and into the ladies’ toilets which are straight opposite.

BF: The ladies?

BM: Yes. Her green bag and her pink coat are on the wall on the left, on a peg marked ‘Katie’, because they stuck another child’s name on top of hers.

BF: The ladies?

BM: Well, it’s more of a cloakroom. People think of it as a cloakroom.

BF: How far away is her peg? Can I at least keep the door open with my foot while I grab it?

BM: No. It’s on the far side. Honestly, I’m sure dads go in there all the time.

BF:…

BM: Then back in the lobby, next to the ladies’..

BF: Could we call it ‘the cloakroom’?

BM: OK. Next to the cloakroom is the storage thingy where her wellies might be. That is, she might be wearing her wellies, but if she’s not, they’ll be in there, next to the ladies, er, cloakroom, unless of course they’ve moved it, which does happen quite a lot.

BF: Moved to where?

BM: The cloakroom.

BF: Are we forgetting something?

BM: Yes -somewhere else in the lobby – you never know where – will be a tray with her cup on it. No, I think that’s everything.

BF: What about the babe?

BM: Oh yes. OK, everyone stands there not talking to each other, and at some point the door to the nursery itself opens a crack and a child’s name gets called out.

BF: How do they know that the parent is there?

BM: Sometimes they don’t check and the child comes rocketing out and then has to be recaptured. So, when you hear the babe’s name, you go and collect the babe and shake the teacher’s hand. I think it’s a Montessori thing.

BF: While holding the cup, the wellies, the bag, the coat and the babe?

BM: Actually, they’ve never seen you before, so they’ll probably take you in for interrogation.

BF: This is getting worse.

BM: I’ve told them you’re coming, but you’ve still got to prove who you are.

BF: How?

BM: Well – if the babe runs to you and calls you Daddy that will help – otherwise, there’s the password..

BF: Which is…?

BM: Can’t remember.

BF: She’ll call me Daddy.

BM: She might well pretend she’s never seen you in her life before.

Which is what happened, and it wasn’t until babyfather had gone to enormous lengths to prove his identity (stopping short of handing over some DNA) that the babe casually referred to him as ‘Dad’ and gave him a hug.

It’s got to be easier next time. Anyway, he should feel fortunate that he doesn’t have to also cope with the Snack Rota, the Letter and Number of the Week, and the Little Red Book.

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