When the baby was a teeny, teeny little thing that happily fitted into the palm of our hand and spent 80% of the time sleeping, 15% feeding and 5% having a nappy change, nipping out for a much needed caffeine boost was a quite straight forward task as she'd just sleep while we tucked in. Now, it requires the logistical planning of the Duchess of Cambridge's wardrobe mistress on their recent Indian trip, when she wore fourteen different, perfect, outfits in five days*:
1. Find a cafe that'll accommodate our
2. Pack enough toys to fit in one entire aisle of Toys-R-Us. You know when you haven't packed enough toys to entertain when the baby spends half an hour happily trying to open the pack of wipes...
3. Don't forget the rice cakes. There is nothing more off-putting than enormous big bambi-esque baby eyes staring up forlornly and enviously at you as you tuck into a gigantic slice of Double Chocolate Fudge Cake
4. Order an espresso. At least you'll get to drink it in one hot mouthful unlike the lukewarm latte that'll have been sitting there for twenty minutes while you've wrestled with a wriggly baby while failing to open the pack of rice cakes
5. Try and avoid sitting next to anyone leisurely reading the paper over a large cappuccino on their day off. They probably did not come into the cafe to listen to me loudly discussing the contents of the baby's nappy after a lunch of salmon; I know this as, once upon a time, I used to be that person.
6. Decide whether the baby crawling under the tables picking up dropped panini crumbs will a) build up her immunity b) save you from making her any lunch or c) be good exercise for you as you crawl after her in the style of an army commando training course
7. Forget about any thoughts of a nice relaxed coffee for the next ten years, grab a take-away and head for the nearest soft play (aka Dante's Inferno) or a cold cuppa and another pack of chcocolate digestives on the sofa
*As a new-ish Mum, a swift sniff, a wet wipe and a flash of febreeze and I reckon I can get away with one outfit lasting five days.