On Sunday I went shopping with Lemon Cake Lady!
It was a rare treat for us both, a day out without small people to distract, exasperate and de-focus us.
De-focus isn't a word. I've just made it up so I just looked it up and it doesn't exist but it sums up how I feel about shopping with a toddler. The boy will sit in his buggy for about an hour tops before he wants to get out and run somewhere in a variety of different directions! I find I spend most of my time describing everything to him with as many adjectives as possible. I go into colour, texture, taste and smell to keep him amused and stimulated around a store.
This doesn't aid browsing on my part. You can't browse with a toddler. You can't deliberate over purchasing a present for someone for example. You can't weigh up price verses quality verses colour verses style. You can't try anything on. You can't think!
In short you can't focus.
You have one hand on the buggy whilst dispensing raisins out at regular intervals with the other, one eye on the keys he's holding to keep him quiet making sure they don't get flung into a clearance bin never to be seem again, and the other eye on the clock because it'll soon be time for his nap, lunch, bum change or the car park is about to go over 2 hours and you'll have to re-mortgage your house to afford it!
So the prospect of a days shopping without our boys made us both, quite frankly, giddy with excitement!
When I picked Lemon Cake Lady up she was her usual controlled and organised self, sorting out her boys requirements for the day with his grandparents. When she got in my car however she was like a women possessed! She had a proper funny five minutes of screaming, giggling, delirious delight at "having a day off"!
I knew how she felt. I was already high from my fifteen minutes of fame that morning, something that was compounded later when I went into a WH Smith's to look at the paper and saw myself smiling back. I had a copy at home but somehow seeing it in a proper news agents made it all the more real.
So as you can imagine we were like a couple of school girls on the last day of term. This was the Mum's equivalent of being allowed to wear your own clothes and bring Connect 4 into school. I had vouchers I'd been saving since my birthday in April and Lemon Cake Lady had cash on her. That makes it sound like she doesn't normally carry cash. She does. She's not like the Queen or anything it's just that since we both went back to work part time, after having our boys, having money for shopping trips has been something of a thing of the past.
We reflected on this when we stopped for pizza after the shops shut. Time was when one or other of us would've called up and said "I'm bored. Shall we go shopping?" and we would've hopped on a train and just maxed the credit cards out because we could. We had money and the freedom to just go out for the day without the military operation that is arranging child care. We took it for granted.
So maybe now that's why a day off, going out with a mate shopping and having a bite to eat is so much sweeter. Both the time and having the money to do it is hard earned and all the more rewarding for it!
And what did we buy?
Presents for our boys! What else.....