NEVER let me go out without a pushchair again.Posted: December 7, 2012
There’s a reason that buggies and prams exist and I discovered it today. There was me thinking that getting my soon-to-be-2-year-old daughter to walk into town would be a good idea. What a total muppet.
We are very lucky to live a great town where everything I need is within a 10 minute walk. Proper old-fashioned shopping, the butcher, the baker, greengrocers….etc. So we get wrapped up against the arctic weather conditions (11 years in the South East and I’m a lightweight when it comes to the cold), we toddle off. I only wanted some meat from the butcher and some material for something I’m making (more on that later). Almost 90 minutes later, I get home. What happens in the meantime is EXACTLY why I will take her in the pushchair from now on.
We reach the first shop, having successfully negotiated crossing two roads, passed 4 dogs without issue and jumped in 2 puddles. The first shop that we pass sells beds, simple enough you’d think. No, because they have a giant stuffed monkey in the window. “Maaaaaaaaaaa” she cries, pointing at the soft toy. So, we stand for about 5 minutes and point at it. Next hurdle, the Post Office. She makes a beeline for the doorway. Why she would want to spend time in God’s waiting room, being fleeced at hugely inflated prices while listening to crazy people moan about the staffing levels, is anyone’s guess. We arrive at the zebra crossing, hoping that a) a car will stop to let us cross and b) they wont curse me for taking an extra 3.5 seconds to get across with my toddler, thus hindering their über busy lifestyle. She shouts “FISH” as we pass the fish shop. Then stops and starts chanting “fish, fish, fishy, fish” like a possessed pescatarian. I drag her on a bit and we reach our first intentional destination, the fabric shop. She’s loitering by the button display while I select my bits ‘n’ bobs. “Ooh” she says, eyeing up the pretty, shiny buttons. I just see a wall of hazardous materials and lure her away from certain death from choking. I quickly pay while she runs her grubby hands over the ribbon selection. We leave, hopeful that we have not destroyed the place.
Next, we have a double zebra crossing to pass over. Fortunately, both cars that stop are Leigh Tractors, 4x4s driven by fellow mums, each of whom smiles kindly and nods with a look that says “you total mug, fancy bringing your toddler out without a buggy. Amateur”. I smile and wave back thinking “I know, what a tit and I’m freezing too”.
We arrive at the butchers. “Can I ‘elp you, young lady?”, he says in a Dick Van Dyke style voice. “Yes”, I reply and then realise that my daughter is holding a gammon joint and about to fling it across the room. Gammon-gate avoided, I then place my order. She’s got some cheese and is shouting “CHEESE”. I can see a table full of eggs. I am panicking. Can I be served before she spots them and breaks the lot? I grab the beef, grab the baby and scarper. “Mind ‘ow you go love” he shouts after me. “Yeah right” I think, doomed.
The greengrocer. Her very first foray into shoplifting. She doesn’t know it’s a shop, it’s just a buffet to her. She shouting “NAAANAAAA” at the bananas and eating blueberries while I’m in the queue to pay. (If you buy some blueberries in Leigh-on-Sea in the next few days, it’s our fault that there’s a couple missing, sorry about that). She sees the grapes. She looks at me. I look away. I try not to acknowledge, for I know what is about to happen. Too late. It’s happening, she’s on the floor, she wants a grape. I attempt to scoop her up, she makes her body as flat and straight as a board. Goddamnit, outwitted by a 1-year-old AGAIN.
She calms down. “You hold my hand or you are carried, there’s no third option, OK?” I exclaim. I’m praying it won’t end in carrying as my surgeon will shoot me. She holds my hand, we walk on and she spots an alleyway off to the right. Oh no, I think, I know what’s coming. She stops dead, legs straight and points. “That’s that then”, I think, “we’re going for coffee”. She will not let me walk past this spot without going to our favourite coffee shop. It’s her very own Cheers bar. Remember when Norm used to walk into Cheers and they all shouted….”NORM!”. Well, that’s her, she walks in, shouts “HIYA”, dragging me behind her. I succumb and have a gorgeous latte, it’s the least I can do, sacrifices and that.
Coffee drunk, we attempt to leave. She fights it but finally bids her two surrogate Dads (we go there a lot) farewell and we are off again. She stops at the gift shop on the corner and points at a teatowel in the window, shouting “DOG”. The teatowel’s slogan is “Pugs not drugs”. Well, I can safely say that no pug will get me through this.
Were you in the bakers today? God, I hope not. Because if you were and you saw a toddler with her sad face pressed up at the window then don’t call social services. I promise that she eats well and is generally very well looked after. She just likes the bakers. It’s the half-Scottish part of her, we LOVE any meat wrapped in pastry. Hell, we even put macaroni cheese in a pie.
Onwards and along the road to home, she stops again. Outside a fitness studio by the name of Butt Buster. She stops, looks right at me and points at the shop. “Yeah, alright love, I take your point, thanks for that”. My personal trainer, apparently, is 1-year-old. Me and my huge butt walk on. We cross another double zebra crossing and eventually turn the corner into our street.
“Never again!”, I exclaim. As we approach the house, she jumps in one final puddle, splashing mud up my legs. All I can do is sigh.
So there we are, she’s standing on our doorstep, refusing to come indoors and I realise that a pushchair is not a chariot and it is not for convenience. Oh no. A pushchair is a restraint on wheels. “I’m going inside then, are you coming too?” I ask. “NO”, she replies. “Ok, I’ll leave you here then poppet”. She looks at me nonchalantly and replies “buh-bye”. And with that, she’s won.