Guest blogger Stuart Smith talks about the highs and lows of a visit to the supermarket with his toddler
My day started well, Toddler had a lovely lie in until 7am, breakfast was clean and easy, the sun shone and the birds sang outside the window like a scene from a wholesome Disney film.
I knew I would have to go food shopping, I often did, I enjoy a wander around a large supermarket, seeing what is on offer, what is new and plotting meals for the family for the coming week.
When it’s my wife’s turn to do the weekly shop, she prefers to shop online and have the shopping delivered while she sits working in her jammies or tackles the housework.
The thing is, I never learn. I never do. I probably never ever will – I’m a man, it comes naturally.
It will always “be better next time”: we will set off earlier, I will have ‘Bing’ or ‘Billy and Bam Bam’ on the bouncy tablet to distract her, she will sit nicely in the trolley seat like all the other kids I see and munch on a free / not yet paid for banana or a seemingly endless supply of Organix oaty bars.
So, breakfast is done, Toddler is dressed, I am dressed (sans shower), bag packed (spare clothes, nappies, nappy bags, wipes, snacks, drink, reins, hat, gloves, sunglasses, camping stove, tin of beans and sausages in case we get stuck in inclement weather). We are ready to go and we are fast approaching 10:30am. “We will set off earlier” is now seen sailing past my list of things to make the experience easier. Toddler is strapped into the car with minimal fuss for once and we are off!
200 metres down the road the realisation strikes that bouncy tablet is sat on the arm of the sofa, “oh well this time will be different”. I’m in a great mood and off we set to the “big blue extra supermarket”. It’s called this ‘cos of the extra pain it causes to anyone but the Brownlee Brothers as hapless shoppers trudge round trying to find where they have moved the sandwich bags to.
We arrive without major incident and proceed to park in one of the tiniest parking spaces in all of the North West due to the well-known fact that no matter how many parent-child spaces there are, at least 50% of shoppers go shopping (with child) in a 2 seater sports car.
As is normal with Toddler we approach the trolley and I pick her up, with the dignity she rarely shows when out any other time in public, her feet and legs snap together and she stands on the seat in the trolley. I refuse to be down beaten, it’s a lovely autumnal sunny day and I am out of the house. She can walk with reigns on and help push the trolley – it will be a doddle.
“Big blue extra supermarket” is huge and spread over two floors, we walk and happily nod to the knowing security guard who sees me most weeks and press on to the joyfulness of trips up and down the escalator thing that isn’t quite an escalator. “Well OK Toddler, we do need to look for socks so you can go up”… “AGAAAAIN”, “OK Toddler we can get socks another day, nobody cares that I wear odd socks so why should they for you”, “AGAAAAAAAIN!!”… OK well this is going to be somewhat bothersome, getting Toddler on and off is one thing, doing the same with a trolley and a stranger behind tutting will be another but check me out…. we get on and off, up and down 4 times. There’s a baffled look from a young couple beaming with a 6 months old gurgling happily in his seat and a look from a woman nearby of outright pity. All is going swimmingly until it’s time to do any actual shopping. “Come now Toddler lets go and get some food, we won’t be long then we can go home and… *checks watch* 11:13am… “get lunch”. It’s looking more like afternoon tea.
“NOOOoooooooooo AGAIN DADEEEEE”. We are at the bottom of the not really an escalator but not quite a travellator type thing, my trolley is now rolling free style past the bemused security guard, Toddler is lifting up her arms so I can’t pick her up, and is about to roll over to avoid alternate methods of capture. I look round to see people heading towards the two people standing behind me looking at the elastic waist of my boxer shorts. Ohhhh $*$£^*…I mean oh dear. My trolley has my plastic bags for the shopping in it, there must be at least a tenner’s worth there. Toddler gets picked up by her waist and slung over my shoulder (she likes being upside down for a short time I promise) and I match her crying for something similar myself as that almost never fails to bring her out in a giggle.
So there we are… at the entrance to the supermarket chasing an empty trolley (save for a selection of ‘bags for life’ and ripped 5p bags), Toddler over my shoulder , t-shirt pulled up showing off my svelte middle aged man figure, coat hanging off, screaming like a pair of banshees and I haven’t even started buying anything yet!