Yesterday started as most weekends do with the usual trip to town. Now trying to mobilise my troops results in two things. The first is grumpy parents trying to get the kids to put two shoes that match on, I have given up caring which ones. Sometimes it can be gas mark seven outside and they insist on wearing wellies. After many many discussions where my children always claim victory I have given up discussing which shoes, as long as they match and I can claim parent victory. My second thing I always get when mobilising my troops is stress, which is free of charge when getting coats or jumpers on at the door.
I don’t ask for much when going out, just coats and shoes in any form or description. My son was doing his usual trick of insisting he wears his boots and presents you with just one. In the interest of humour while I wait for my free gift of stress I then ask my son “Where is the other shoe?” “I don’t know Daddy. I had it yesterday, and it just went missing.” So this means another hunt taking ages while they pull the cushions off of the sofa as I am on all fours searching for a missing boot that was last seen walking off at fast speed to play hide and seek! By the time I find the boot in his bedroom by a pile of books he has given our front room a new makeover just like on TV. I personally like to call this ‘the burgled look’. Second boot on, now to coats of which I grab the first one and give it to the kids. Any savvy dad will know that whatever coat you pick it will be the wrong one! So as I passed the coats to the kids I got the usual “What is this?” Well kids, back in the eighties we called them coats and we only had one! I gave my son a choice, and watched the world pass me by until he settled on a green number, and duly put it on. My little girl was given the choice and you would have thought I asked her a question of national importance because even my son had given up, took his coat off and continued playing, so it was back to square one.
As we got the kids out of the door it was like a rabbit in a dog track. They shot out with enthusiasm, but their energy subsided, well more like died, at the end of the road with my son announcing we could carry him now. As we had the buggy we offered the buggy, but this was about as popular as dog muck on your shoe, so we did what all parents did and resorted to bribery, and corruption. Our son insisted that Bear was strapped in too, and the reins were tight enough already, so imagine Bear’s face when we strapped him in! I thought I heard Bear wince and mutter something along the lines of be prepared to see his first birthday meal again, as his eyes bulged like tennis balls. I did say to Bear we are all making sacrifices and this is your time to suffer.
The walk to town was filled with the usual “Please put that down!” followed by the collecting of branches some with trees still attached, and ending up with a very large feather which looked a little too fresh, so if you see a bald bird flying in circles wincing, you know why. As we entered the supermarket we sat the kids in the trolley which some people have questioned, but it contains the children and if you push down the middle of the aisle then they can’t reach anything, like my thinking? All was going well until my son decided to play shop keeper at the self server. I pressed the start button, and he scanned the first item which did not go well as the machine flashed lights and the screen claimed it needed assistance. Now hang on a minute, we all need a little help but one item, seriously?! As the assistant came over my son batted his baby blues and said “Thank you.” which melted her heart. Little did the assistant know we were going to need her full time help. Item number two blew the machine’s little circuit and up popped the light with assistance. Going wrong once was ok, twice was taking the mickey, and my son, with all the excitement of a monkey being handed nuts at a zoo, thanked her again. Now we had three pizzas to scan and we all knew, including the queue behind us, that this was going to be a painful event so we started scanning and frisbeeing the pizzas to the bags to save time. By pizza number three the checkout thought we were professional thieves and claimed ‘unexpected item in the baggage area’. This transpired to be my little girl using the baggage area as her bed and was now lying on it. We went from three pizzas, milk and cheese weighing a few grams to four stone of weight in pizzas, no wonder it was having a tantrum! The assistant was now a little worse for wear as my son grinned at her, and she swiped her card yet again to correct the error and broke into a trot to leave. This would have worked if my son had not scanned the bread, and given the computer the hump. The assistant came crawling back with a face that implied today was not her lucky day, and her magic cure all card started to whimper. You know things are bad when the assistant offers to stay and hold her card ready. My son loved the experience but I think we aged the young assistant by at least twenty years, but once again my son grinned and said “Thank you.” Earlier my son’s grinning and saying thank you had melted her heart, but this time it melted the last brain cell.
So let’s recap we gave Daddy stress, suspected a pigeon had been scalped for his feather, blew a checkout and aged an assistant by twenty years. Any volunteers to come with us next week, when we go again?