There are times when I think I've got this motherhood lark down to a fine art and there are other times when I do something so unbelievably naive that I amaze myself!
I took the boy to Tesco. I needed gin. That makes it sound like I'm dependent upon the stuff to function in a normal day. That's not strictly true. Although today I have wanted a G&T since 4.30 this afternoon. A time that roughly coincides with my putting my shopping through the till at Tesco.
I don't often shop at Tesco's due to not agreeing with their programme of world domination and cynical marketing strategy, namely, lets force all the small shopkeepers out of business then move in and open small corner shops of our own!
However I do occasionally pop in and as a result I'd amassed about £30 worth of clubcard points. We were nearly out of gin and Tesco had litre bottles of "Mummy's special medicine" on offer!
For a kick off it was really, really windy and the boy insisted on sticking both legs in one side of the child seat in the trolley! Whilst trying to manoeuvre him to sit straight with one hand I was desperately trying to stop the trolley from being carried off towards the car next to me and denting it. Luckily I'd got one of small handful of parent and child parking spaces on offer so I had some wiggle room.
Once inside, looking windswept and weary before we'd even started, I remembered that Lemon Cake Boy has some cool toy cars from Tesco that my boy loves to play with when we visit. In our local store the toy aisle is just to the left as you enter and this where my naivety came in..
I went there first!
For Mega Blocks sake what was I thinking of?
"Car, car, car, CAR, CAR, CARRRRRRRRRRR!"
"Yes darling, just calm down, Mummy is going to get you some cars."
I started to browse. I use the term loosely as you can't browse with an over excitable toddler in a shopping trolley. I couldn't find the ones I wanted quickly enough before he spotted it. I'd clocked it moments earlier, sitting on the bottom shelf, all red shiny and large.
"Nanu!" he cried "Nanu, nanu, nanu!"
It was a bloody fire engine. I have a house full of bloody fire engines and I wasn't about to buy another one. We'd come for cars and I still had all the rest of my shopping to do.
"Nanu. Nanu. Nanu. NANU. NANUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!"
People were starting to stare. The other day in the park Hubby had a rather terse conversation with a women who insisted our son had a Mork and Mindy fixation and wouldn't believe Nanu referred to the noise a fire engine makes. I was concerned a fellow shopper was going to report me to social services any moment on the grounds of neglect for subjecting my child to DVD's of old 1970's ITV shows. I can imagine it now,
"I realise darts is a pub game your honour but we watch Bullseye because it helps with his mental arithmetic."
Anyway I found the last box of four cars, down a pound to £2.50. Lovely old job as we say in these parts.
The boy was getting more and more stressed and louder and louder as I wheeled him away from the "Nanu".
One of things about motherhood I struggle with most is you can't reason with a 17 month old. Or any month old.
"You have lots of fire engines at home darling" and "Mummy has got you some new cars sweetheart" just doesn't cut it. Neither does "Shut the &*%^ up you're being ungrateful, acting like a spoiled brat and making me look like a sh*t Mum here"
So I didn't say any of them. I just took him down a neutral aisle like towels and bathroom accessories, offered a drink and a snack, stroked his hair and said gently "Calm down darling" over and over. To be fair I'm not normally that controlled but thanks to Hippy Chick Mum and my confidence coaching I'm getting better. It worked. The boy stopped screaming and smiled. Peace was restored.
"Right lets go and get Mummy's gin. Mummy needs gin" Boy did Mummy need gin!
It was here, buoyed with confidence that I'd handled the situation well I made naive rookie error number two.
I gave him the box of cars to hold as we went round.
What in holy mother and baby awards was I thinking now!
The boy didn't want the box. He wanted the cars! He wanted the cars out of the box.
I was bending down to get packets of baby wipes when I heard the first rip.
The boy has the strength of Samson on pro active conditioner and he'd managed to rip apart the cardboard case and pull open the plastic packaging inside. Card, plastic and cars went flying in different directions and scattered over Tescos floor. I scooped them all up whilst smiling wryly at passers by
"He's excited about his new cars!" I said through gritted teeth "Bless him!"
When we got to the till the operator looked at the tangled jumble of toy vehicles and box sailing towards her on the conveyor belt and raised an eyebrow at me,
"Yes sorry about that" I said "My little boy got over excited and wanted the cars to hold."
"I expect that happens a lot?" I asked
"No. Not really." she replied leaving me feeling like an errant school girl.
Now repeat after me one hundred times
Don't go to the toy aisle until you've done the rest of your shopping.....