Last weekend hubby and I were feeling ambitious. It was his birthday on the Friday and we agreed that we would go gift-shopping for his gift on Saturday morning.
The thing is that our babysitting points (i.e. the weekly number of hours we feel is acceptable to leave our kids with their grandparents) had run out so we thought we’d brave taking our 3 year old and 1 year old with us..they had grown up so much after all and had become so well-behaved these days.
So off we went…gift-shopping for daddy. Great stuff 🙂
We parked. Both kids asleep. So far so good.
We arrive at Next…sure enough little Kate (my 3 year old) wakes up. Like a hawk she immediately spots the girls clothes section-
“oh sh*#!?”..I hadn’t catered for this.
Already in a “post-half nap” foul mood, she screeches at the top of her lungs as we step away from the fuscia pink dresses section “PRINCESS DRESS!..PRINCESS DRESS!” “WAAAAAAAAAA!’.
Jack is obviously startled awake….”WAAAAAAAA!”. Now the cries are in stereo mode…I look at hubby with a resigned look. “This is not gonna’ work”.
“Come on let’s do this” he says.
“O.K.A.Y.” It is his birthday after all.
I manage to convince Kate that this is all about daddy. If she is a good girl we will consider choosing a pretty hat for her after we successfully buy daddy’s gift.
Hubby is singing “twinkle twinkle” to Jack. Ok let’s do this.
We walk into the “menswear section”, hubby passes Jack to me and starts “browsing”.
The next hour is a blur and comprises of the kids playing tag around the entire shop, 5 different people giving me “control your kids” judgemental looks, kate sliding down a floor ramp-20 times. Jack spilling his water bottle, the stroller toppling over and everything spilling out of my bag, another 4 people giving me “you are a bad mum” looks…and..wait for it…Kate peeing in her pants…picture a yellow puddle becoming a river as Kate runs “pipiiii” across the length of the department.
When it happens I freeze.
Jack is crying in my arms. Hubby is too far away to hear…AAaargghhh….I see Kate’s face turning from red to purple and I tell her “It’s ok”…..cue more judgemental looks..
I call hubby on his mobile phone “C.O.M.E H.E.R.E N.O.W” he senses the panic and when he arrives his eyes lock on the river of pee and his expression slowly mirrors my look of desperation ..Thankfully I have a habit of packing a change of clothes for both kids and we managed to wipe Kate down and change her into clean dry clothes..the staff clean up the mess and needless to say..this was the last straw..we scurried off…no gift in hand.
So just in case you are considering braving the high street with your pre-school children in tow, here are my five reasons why that would not be such a great idea:
1. There is stuff. Everywhere. Colourful, shiny, new stuff which your kids will want to touch, hold and of course take home with them.
2. There are lots of people too. Most of which will inevitably judge you as a parent whether you are “too strict” or “too soft”. You can’t win. Really.
3. Retail outlets are not child-proof. A playground of sharp corners, stairs, mirrors, rails, and breakable stuff will mean you will spend more time “watching” your kids rather than actually doing what you came to do.
4. What would have taken you 30 minutes if you went alone, will inevitably take you at least triple that amount of time with young children in tow. At least.
5. Running after a toddler whilst holding the “merchandise” you want to try on and everything else you have with you is like attempting to run a marathon with a rope holding the bottom of your legs together.
Good luck ☺️