What had started as a mildly average outing, normal to most, generally those sans children, rapidly escalated, deteriorated and inevitably fell catastrophically apart! The Hurricane had clearly woken up on the wrong side of the bed, one of those hanging, menacing moods that hit you, knock you flat on your face and leave you thinking to yourself “wow you’re going to be an a*#hole today” or for want of a better mum approved word ‘difficult’!
Argumentative and angry with the world for reasons I will never understand, cupboard rations running low, I hedged my bets and bundled the Hurricane and his sister, the Little Ray of Sunshine, into the car and braced myself for shopping with the kids, food being a necessity!
Scurrying and grabbing the larger, two seater trolley the Hurricane immediately informed me that my strategic plan to strap both children in would not be flying today, instead firmly grabbing the handles of said trolley, cleverly jumping aboard the back and swinging like a crazed chimpanzee on an out of control go-kart. After navigating the fruit and veg aisle at an awkward snails pace I decided that this position, however entertaining as it may be, was not optimal for my shopping efficiency. Taking the pensive passive approach I attempted to reason rationally with the irrational and negotiate a scheme whereby he’d agree that it was much more practical for him to be seated. Wishful thinking! Passive was met with precocious and the tears, hysterics and orchestrated misery started flowing.
Making my approach I swooped in for the lift, crying firmly established there was now no turning back, I may as well take the inevitable hit and try to re group. Legs and arms flailing, narrowly missing his now ducking and weaving sister the best I could do was get him into the cart of the trolley, not designated for transportation of children but a relatively effective way of keeping them contained.
Pushing on to the next aisle, the healthy aisle, fantasies of nutritious, organic based treats floating through my mind as a mother that’s clearly got her s*#t together, the Hurricane, still flailing, made his attempt at escape, screaming and teetering precariously close to the tipping point of the trolley. Lunging and scooping him up the tantrum shifted into next gear switching from flailing to a now limp and lifeless sack of potatoes that had mysteriously lost his ability to stand! Heaving and hauling my now deadweight toddler I move to place him to the ground as elegantly as humanly possible where he, 0f course, dramatically falls in a heap. Cue the ridiculous and unrealistic threats! To onlookers not privy to my toddlers dramatic flare, I have now, not just abused my child dropping them to the floor but I am quintessentially berating him for it!
Last ditch effort and with a lift worthy of any cross fitter I manage to get him into the designated trolley seat buckled and locked in. Winning! Strolling now, somewhat subdued with a subtle, silent, snivelling sob from the Hurricane and a smug grin stretching slowly across my face I was thinking, yes! We were on the downturn, nothing could stop us now, the worst was over with minimal permanent damage and we could get through the last of the shop looking relatively close to a functioning family…that was until my daughter, my baby, our Little Ray of Sunshine, quiet up until now, took one look at her brother crushes and already defeated and decided screw it, one in all in and started smacking him repeatedly up the back of the head…Game over !
In light of this episode I felt inspired to write my top five tips survival guide to shopping with kids!
SURVIVAL GUIDE TO SHOPPING WITH KIDS
1) SNACKS – despite being adequately fed prior to departure you just know that when you hit the oh so enticing snack food aisle they’ll have a sudden onset of inexplicable starvation grabbing and snatching at packets as though their life depended on it! So be prepared and have a biscuit, crackers, muesli bar, whatever you can transport easily and implement effectively to avoid a hunger related incident!
2) TROLLEY/STROLLER – some sort of containment vehicle that lock and retrain even the busiest of bodies! Do not, under any circumstances fall for the walking trap and let your kids be free range and roaming the aisles! Unless you enjoy a snails pace and a trail of destruction I suggest you lock them in, contained children make for a focussed somewhat less flustered mummy!
3) LIST – for everyone’s sake make yourself an explicit, itemised list that ensures a direct, super efficient shop. Wandering the aisles it’s not healthy for all parties involved, boredom very quickly bubbled into whinging, moaning and complaining causing you to forget entirely your purpose and necessities of the shop, which ultimately means you’ll have to repeat the whole shopping process again!
4) BLUEPRINTS – you must have a comprehensive and working knowledge of the layout of the supermarket and most importantly the vicinity of the toilets because you just know that 3/4 of the way through your shop, with your trolley at its fullest, one of them is going to desperately and urgently need to wee or worse! Understanding where the toilets are means you have a slim chance of getting to them in time and possibly positioning your overloaded trolley discreetly hidden so that you don’t lose all your hard work or have to start over !
5) SMALL CHANGE – last but certainly not least, small change, if, despite all your best efforts a meltdown ensues, reasoning has failed and you want to continue your shop with what little dignity and sanity you have remaining a small grab for two dollar matchbox car or kinder surprise can be your saving grace! Yes we all have the best intentions and we’ve all said at one point in our parenthood journey that we’ll never be that parent that buys their kid a toy or a chocolate when they go shopping just to get through it drama free, but guess what, there is a good chance that at some stage on this journey that you will! Being the perfect parent doesn’t always happen, you’ll be lucky to come close, and there are times where you will choose the easiest path and save the lesson for another day.
At the end of the day we are all aiming to be the best parents we can be and it is these less than perfect days and moments that help us to learn, they guide us to aim that little bit higher and create memories to build on and laugh at later.