Remember back in the days when you still had a flat stomach and full control of your pelvic floor and you used to look at the bedraggled mothers at the shopping mall all loaded up with shopping bags and grimly pushing a stroller with a screaming child in it and wonder why on earth they didn’t just stay at home?
It really wasn’t that long ago that I swore I wouldn’t take my kids to a place they clearly hated in order to ruin it for everybody else there, but yesterday there I was, that exact person.
With three hours to kill while my car was being serviced and with the beautiful red and white stocktake sale signs calling my name I actually thought Rafferty and I would spend a nice afternoon wandering around my local shopper’s paradise. He was in a lovely mood and I fancied taking my time, finally getting a few things I really needed and stopping to give shop assistants the opportunity to admire his great big smile and beautiful big blue eyes while he charmed them with his cheeky laugh.
Now, back when it was just two of us, Garrett and I would head to the mall and I would beg him for us to split up for an hour so that he could do whatever and I could spend a happy sixty minutes on my own, picking things up and putting them down again. Sure enough, I would barely make it past the perfume counter and there he would be, standing right behind me and asking “Can we go now?”
So what made me think that a shopping outing with my son would be any different? He hasn’t even hit the five month mark yet but he seriously opposes the whole concept. He enlightened me to this fact after about twenty minutes at the mall by simply, utterly starting to scream his lungs out, with shrieking wails that could be heard from the food court to the nail salon. The tears were streaming, and such was the volume of his discontent that I actually started to fear that something was seriously wrong with him.
It was clearly time to go. However, a few things made this much more difficult than it should have been.
Firstly, the pram containing my howling baby is super cool and very easy to use, but it’s also HUGE. I suspect it was actually designed for wheeling around baby elephants. I am forever getting stuck between the tables in cafes and walking it into doorways. Secondly, the one thing I had managed to purchase was a brand new suitcase (half price… and so light!!!) which meant I couldn’t take the baby out of his pram and carry him, giving me no choice but to leave him to bellow at the top of his lungs, startling all who came within earshot. Finally, getting out of a shopping mall when you can’t use the escalators takes up pretty much half of the free three hours that you’ve got in the car park (another surprising lesson of motherhood).
That giant pram makes any store an obstacle course, and getting to the exit involved a lot of bumps, backing out and apologising to other shoppers. Then, once I finally made it to the lift, which is located in a dark, distant corner as far away from all the good shops as you can possibly get, it was a five to ten minute wait and then (does this happen to you?) the doors opened and it was crammed full of other mothers with their humvee sized prams and screaming progeny that there was no room for us to squeeze in.
What felt like an hour later, making my way across the car park, I spotted a young girl, all biker boots and leggings and a top that doesn’t even cover her butt giving me THAT look and it was all I could do not to scream at her “One day this will be you!!”
When Raff and I finally got to the car I pulled my little angry bird out of his colossal chariot and you guessed it – he looked up at me and giggled.
Looks like I’ll be shopping online for at least the next ten years.