Saturday, 8 March 2008

I am that parent

I have a confession. I am, yet again, falling off the perfect parent pedestal I put myself before adopting Little Fish. Walking around Tesco I have for years been smugly pleased with the fact that my children can manage shopping without having to munch on grapes and crisps and all the many other tantrum-diverters other families use.

I'm eating my words.

We tend to walk to Budgen's several times a week to pick up everything we forgot to buy the day before fresh bread and apples. It's a small shop, there's a post office, and a newsagent's we can't get into because Little Fish's powerchair can't climb the kerb. Small as it is, we never manage to shop there without bumping into someone from church.

Over the weeks, Little Fish has grown to know the layout of the shop extremely well. Too well. At first, she would follow me, trundling along at her standard three paces behind, just right to ram my ankles should I even think about stopping to fill my basket. She doesn't bother any more. Instead she has worked out that if I go up the first aisle, I will come back down the second aisle. So instead of following me, she's free to browse the aisle ends. Those tempting aisle ends, full of chocolate doughnuts (aisle 1), chocolate generally (aisle 2), chilled snacks (aisle 3 you get the picture), and then finally razor blades. I'm not sure why the razor blades.
So here's me, with or without Mog, haring up and down the aisles, throwing things into a nice green plastic basket. There's Little Fish, browsing the end sections. Thankfully the doughnuts are in a little wire basket thing, and she hasn't (yet) figured out how to open that. There's still far too much potential for trouble. Did I mention it's a small shop? So as she is sitting drooling over foody treats, she's blocking access to the post office and to the cashiers, effectively bringing trading to a halt. I try to bring her with me, she screams. She sits staring at the chocolate section, shouting for chocolate. Mog finds this funny.

For a while there, I could stop her blocking the aisles and keep her with me by choosing a packet of chocolate buttons and putting it firmly in the basket. She'd then chase me round the shop shouting for them. But she's got wise to that now, and just sits there solidly, shouting even louder. Especially if I've had the audacity to decide which chocolates we should buy.

I'm still not going to be opening the packet and bribing her around the shop with them, presenting the cashier with an opened packet to be scanned at the end. But I do understand why other parents might do just that. Thankfully, the buttons are on the bottom aisle, and she can't reach them. This doesn't stop "helpful" fellow shoppers from passing packets to her. And now she has learnt to open them herself.

I'm probably the meanest Mummy in the world. I take the packet away and insist we pay before she eats. So then I have a child shouting not for chocolate but PAY MUMMY PAY, which sounds as though she's highly embarrassed by the fact her mother is a shoplifter. Joy.

Her torture ends eventually, we do finally pay, we load things into her bag, and if I'm lucky, I can get away with giving her just one button from the packet to see her on her way home. If not, then she's already been given the packet by the smiling cashier (why would she do this? She's heard me say no!), at which point I can cue the screams again, or I can bow to the inevitable. At least until we get out of the shop, at which point the scream might be as piercing, but the echo at least has gone.

So what would you do? She doesn't need chocolate every time we shop. She doesn't get chocolate every time we shop, and even if she does get it, she doesn't get to eat it every time. She does however scream each and every time she sees the packets and will continue to shriek until it's consumed or until we've left the shop and found something else to worry about.


Tina said...

Giggling away to myself over this Little fish is your Rosie!!!! Rosie was my comeuppance from similar smugness. Whilst reading I was bribing Rosie away from cheese or chocolate button in the fridge with yesterdays cold potatoes...because I did not want her to fill up on snacks whilst dinner was less than 20 minutes away! Figuring potatoes were less bad to be snacking on than chocolate and cheese!
Guilty now of being one of those mothers who put empty bags and packets on the belt! But only for ROsie...the others know they wont get no atter how they tantrum...with Rosie it is one battle too far.
hugs..I dont think there is a right and wrong answer...particularly if you actually dont want her to ahve them anyway...if it was simply the not eating before paid for bit I would suggest you made her queue and p[ay for them whilst you shopped!

Robyn said...

now i could say - put raisins in a chocolate button bag and then plant it before she sees it...but i reckon she would notice..may be a bit bewildered but may reject as not chocolately.

i have to laugh too...BEEN THERE!!! SO GOT THE T-SHIRT


MOM2_4 said...

giggle... OH Tia... hehehe... Sorry ;o)

Hard one to call!

Doorless said...

How fun! I too used to pride myself that I had perfect children to shop with. Well, leave it to Alicia,
She tolerates groceries and then starts yelping loudly if we dare to pass the clothing without buying. She also loves the artificial flowers! I wonder how Ashley will be as I think she has never been shoping and can eat.
Have a good day.


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