In this segment, I’ll reminisce about the first time I went to the supermarket with a toddler and a baby, and then I’ll offer suggestions on how to avoid it ever happening to you.
It was a typically British January – freezing cold and pissing it down for 98% of the time, which is less than ideal conditions for a brand new human with less than 500 hours on the clock. Little baby Dahlia was only two weeks old and I was coming towards the end of my fortnights leave away from the office. After spending the first week of Dahlia’s life sheltered in our unreasonably warm house (Aims is one of those thermostat jerks that cranks it up to 30c because SHE’s cold, then says it’s for the children), supplies were low and cabin fever had firmly set in. We both knew it was going to be bad but we had little other choice – we would have to go to the supermarket….
As with any time you leave the safety of your house with little people, stage one is to pack the car with all the things you might need for any eventuality;
- A months supply of food
- 6 changes of outfit per child
- Things to mop up disgusting things
- Sun cream, just incase there’s a solar flare
- Blankets, on the off chance the weather turns biblical and we have to live in the car.
- Dummies x 2. Plus 34 spares
- Bribes for Faith (milk chocolate buttons)
- Sunglasses, to hide the massive bags under our eyes
After an hour of packing, plus 20 minutes verbally ticking off items on the seemingly infinite checklist of things we know we’ve already packed, we were ready to move onto Phase 2: Get the kids into the car.
‘How hard can it be?’ some non-parent readers may whisper in their internal monologue, and don’t worrry, I was once like you. But until you’ve spent half an hour wrestling a 2 year old emotional wreck into a car seat, you just don’t know. Faith was angry because I wouldn’t let her drive, and the milk chocolate buttons weren’t working their usual magic. So there I was stood on my driveway in the rain, peeling her grip off of the car door one finger at a time. In hindsight, it would of probably been easier to let her drive, as she’s unnaturally strong when she goes into meltdown, and it’s a bit like fighting an octopus. Thankfully, Dahlia doesn’t know how to fight yet, so she was much easier to clip into place.
After a brief 5 minute respite in the car, we arrived at our local supermarket-megaplex. Dahlia’s car seat is clipped into a specially adapted shopping trolley that prevents me seeing anyhing directly in front and I push with my left, Faith holds my right as we negotiate the bitterly cold car park, which is a stark contrast to the tropical living room I now miss dearly. As we approach, the automatic doors grind open with a “shhhhhhm” and Faith is off, running as fast as her little legs will carry her toward the cleverly positioned special-offer chocolates located in the entrance. This isn’t Tesco’ first rodeo, they know putting crap like that in doorways will make suckers like me pay for it just to avoid a tantrum right at the start. Bravo, Tesco. Bravo. Deals are made and chocolate is bought, on the promise she’s going to be a good girl. Foward we march,
Those of you that are old enough will remember a TV show called Supermarket Sweep hosted by Dale Winton, and that’s all I could think of as Faith went ‘wild in the aisles’, tossing anything that caught her eye into the trolley. I think all the excitement got to her though, as she ran out of steam and demanded we put her in the trolley, underneath Dahlia’s car seat. So now I was pushing a trolley with two kids I can’t really see, in a direction where I can’t see what’s in front of me. Out of nowhere, Dahlia starts to cry. Despite all the planning and packing, she’s hungry and we’ve left her milk in the car. The fear is starting to kick in.
The trolley needs to be filled with boxes of nappies, so Faiths taxi ride is over – and the news doesn’t go down well. Thankfully I spot the toy section in my corner of my eye just before her breakdown fully takes hold. It costs me about £40 in Paw Patrol merchandise but it’s worth it to keep the trolley moving (plus her smile makes me melt inside). One kid happier, the other one crying with hunger, we head to the tills and pay another £85 on absorbent things.
To finish off a lovely day trip to a shop, Faith fell asleep on the short drive home, so we ended up spending the next 2 hours driving around in circles because it’s easier than waking her up and dealing with the consequences.
Luckily, it doesn’t have to be like that for you. Here are some tips that might help you avoid trips like this forever.
1) Delivery Saver.
I pay my supermarket £6 a month and in return they deliver my supplies directly to my door, it saves (me) a lot of tears. It’d be an ideal solution if you didn’t run out of a fundamental item like toilet paper within minutes of the delivery arriving.
“I can’t today, I’ve got to work”. Then sit at the office writing blogs whilst she does all the leg work. It’s important not to criticise when she returns home with £50 of kale and biscuits, she tried her best and it’s your own selfish fault for leaving her to it.
3) Become self-sufficient.
Create your own Utopian society that lives in harmony with Mother Earth. Although this would probably mean giving up baby wipes which is something I’m not prepared to do.
4) There is no No.4. Other than the sweet mercy of the grave, the above are the only ways of not going.
I hope this helps.