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Taking teddy to town is really no picnic

MY baby's gone. Yes, after weeks of preparation and a couple of false starts, Gary finally joined play school last week. My tiny, purple, ET-resembling, wrinkly bundle of premature joy became an independent little boy and sauntered into the playroom.

"Bye, Gary," I said, waving to his back as he disappeared into a crowd of children. He never even turned around.

I wasn't in tears and neither was he. I had tried taking a couple of pictures of him outside the pre-school on my mobile phone but he wouldn't stop sticking his tongue out. I hoped he was going to behave -- I had told the playschool manager that he was an angel and would be no trouble.

He had carried his favourite teddy with him to school, but then one of the assistants told me I would be better taking it away in case it got lost. The problem was that Teddy was too big for my handbag and I had agreed to meet a pal for coffee. Myself and Teddy sat down at a table.

An elderly man sitting near to me threw me a strange look. For a fleeting moment I thought it would be funny to wind him up and start chatting to Teddy and offer him some of my muffin, but then I thought better of it.

I enjoyed my coffee so much, after departing my pal's company, I popped into my hairdresser to ask them if they could do anything with my scarecrow hair. The girl at the reception said that was no problem and then she gave Teddy a sort of odd look. I was so tempted to ask for a short, back and sides for Teddy too, but refrained.


Teddy sat on my knee as I caught up on what Kate Middleton has been wearing these past few months. As a busy mum, celebrity fashion trends are not high on my list of priorities but there is nothing nicer than flicking through glamorous photos in the hairdresser's. I noticed the lady beside me peering at me. I suddenly became self-conscious. I wished I'd put Teddy on the floor or something, or checked him into the cloakroom along with my coat and umbrella.

The lady introduced herself as Patricia and asked me if I was Marisa from the Herald. I hurriedly explained that I was, and that the reason I had a stuffed bear on my knee was that my son Gary had just started playschool across the road. She seemed to accept my explanation. Phew!

I was beginning to feel like Mr Bean with Teddy hanging out of me. Then it was time to collect my little man. I wondered if he would be thrilled to see me, but no. As soon as he saw me he said, "Go home, Mummy," and turned his back. So much for that. At least Teddy doesn't hurt my feelings.