I am going to let you into a little secret. Ever so occasionally, it makes me smugly rub my hands with glee when I see someone else’s little darling behaving like a little shit in public. The tortured look, embarrassed sideways glances and whispered threats about loss of privileges bring a sly little smirk to my face. It only happens in times of extreme infant induced stress of my own, but it does happen. It’s my guilty little pleasure.
I know that I am generally a kind caring kind of mummy so I imagine that I am not alone in occasionally feeling this way. Today, it manifested in the supermarket in all it’s ugly glory.
There is the Yummy Mummy…
The yummy mummy always gets a parent and child parking space, never ends up with the trolley with wet seats because it has been in the rain, and never has to apply force to prize the squabbling kids off the self scanner before they get to the stage of biting. She will never forget her bags as she has those clever little unfolding trolley bags. She glides gracefully from aisle to aisle, the little darlings following quietly behind her, only stopping to ask questions like ‘Have you remembered the organic quinoa mother?’ and ‘Have you checked that all of the fruit in that smoothie is organic and fairtrade?’ Within a short time, shopping neatly packed, they will glide through the tills and off to the nice clean mummy wagon to go home for an afternoon snack of something like rare Brazilian purple olives with tapenade.
…And then, there is me!
I am not a yummy mummy. I never get a parent child parking space and usually end up having to carry at least one protesting infant while the others cling to my legs. Even if it hasn’t rained for a week, I still seem to end up with a trolley with wet seats. Not that it matters particularly, as the kids rarely oblige by actually sitting in them. If I have remembered my bags at all, they will be from a variety of different shops, the one constant being they will all have a hole in them somewhere. Shopping with my rabble is at best, risky, and at worst, like pressing my own self-destruct button.
Today’s shopping trip.
Today’s shopping trip was one for the archives.
On the way in, I saw an elderly lady who was struggling. Instructing the kids to wait quietly in the entrance, I ran to get her a trolley. By the time I got back, a whole 20 seconds or so later, one twin was trying to wrench a self scanner out of the holders using his full bodyweight, much to the horror of the onlooking security guard. The other twin was lying on the floor screaming and holding her head where she had somehow hit it on a shelf, while a gaggle of concerned shoppers looked urgently for the wayward mother. Meanwhile, the four year old was re-arranging the Valentine’s day champagne display. Snatching them up, I set off to get the bare necessities as quickly as possible.
As I selected some meat, I heard some giggling and exclamations from round the end of the aisle. Realising that none of my brood were with me, I reluctantly peered round to see what they were up to. They had used the toys displayed on the end of another aisle to build a barrier across the aisle, which no-one was allowed to pass unless they knew the magic password. Apparently none of the 12 or so shoppers at the barrier had yet guessed the magic password, and the queue was building. I repeated my apologies while crawling across the floor collecting the toys to replace on the shelves.
I am just going to skim over the incidents in the bread, and fruit aisles. I mean as soon as I saw that they were taking bites out of the plums…well anyway.
Upping the pace yet further, we made it almost to the tills without further major mishap. I suspect that was where I went wrong. I took my eye off the ball, thinking I was home and dry before I was. Then, it happened.
The four year old leapt onto one side of the packed trolley, and the two year old followed suit. As though in slow motion, the trolley listed to the left before committing to falling right over on top of the two girls, knocking them to the floor and their heads into the shelving. The contents of the trolley spewed out across the floor. I dived in to try and stop it, landing in a rugby style trolley tackle right on my front on the floor, hurting my wrist (along with any pride I may still have had left by that stage).
For a moment, the supermarket seemed to freeze. Everyone was wrenched back to life by the piercing screams of the girls. As I struggled to unpack them from under the shopping, I saw staff rallying around. Soon, I was sitting on the floor nursing two screaming kids while a first aider endeavoured to find the source of their pain, and several other staff members looked on in disbelief. Some people stopped to watch, some offered sympathetic looks, and others hurried past pretending not to see. I have to say, I was mortified. Once we had established that no-one required an ambulance, I rushed through the tills. I just wanted to get home and nurse my painful wrist, which I injured trying to catch the trolley.
My guilty moment.
As I urged the kids towards the from door, I saw a father looking much as I must have looked a few minutes before. He had one child screaming in a fit of rage and obviously refusing to budge while another looked on in a goading kind of way. He clearly had no idea how to resolve the situation, and you could see that the panic was starting to set in.
At that moment, where normally I would have given a look that said ‘don’t worry, we have all been there’ I found myself thinking a very emphatic GOOD! I now feel really bad about it of course, but I think that just in that moment, when my embarrassment had been even greater than the twin tandem trolley pooing incident, it made me feel happy that it doesn’t just happen to me. There are other un-yummy parents out there after all. It also made me feel that perhaps it would distract people from remembering my family and I quite so vividly. Does that make me a bad person?