Friday, 21 November 2008

Shopping with Mother

This is what it should look like. Bright eyed children, gazing at produce. Mother with her shopping gloves on. Small basket over her slim arm. A perky little coat with twin set and pearls.
'Nearly done!' Mother would say. 'I just need some meat for Father's dinner.' And off they'd troop into the friendly butcher's, to get a lamb chop for Father.
Mother's basket, with just three or four items in it, would easily take the lamb chop, neatly tucked into a brown paper bag.
Home again. The shopping a joyful trip, with kind grownups and clean streets.
Right. So back to now.
Three tired children. And me. Bloody freezing. Cross adults everywhere. Youngest child doing that...'Mummy, I need a cuddle.'
You must be bloody joking. I am carrying fifteen carrier bags. Yes. Plastic bloody carrier bags. Forgot Organic Rustic Saintly Recyclable Use Them Again And Again bags. They are sitting on my kitchen table, along with my sense of humour. Another child needs the loo. The other wants to buy a totally unsuitable game for horrid little console. Comes up with reasons to buy said game.
'It's cheaper if you buy it today. ' (Why?)
'My friends have it.' ...And?
Daughter is freezing as she has come out without coat.
(Before we leave... has everyone got their coats? 'Yyeessss, Muuummmmyyy.')
Lugging carrier bags up hill and dragging youngest by arm, am plagued with guilt of not making this outing 'nice' enough.
Plan to get home ASAP and plug children into telly while I put the kettle on and sink a couple of mugs before getting tea.
Have to collate huge pile of toys by the front door, all bagged up ready for 'Christmas Fayre' tomorrow. (Mothers have dragged enormous black bin liners crammed full of toys, and left. Smiles on their faces as they realise how much space they will have now. Until the Christmas Fayre, when their children will buy enough crap to fill said bags twice over.) Must make labels for each toy and have Bright and Cheery notices telling every one we are a Toy Stall. Bit bloody obvious, isn't it?
But... will then make lovely tea for children and they can have it in front of fire in sitting room. Crumpets. Cake. Ooh, chocolate brownies made for Christmas Fayre... will they miss a couple?
I cheer up.
'Come on, darlings,' I say, 'cheerfully'.
Stunned, they look at me. Where is Bolshy Mummy gone? Daughter smiles up at me.
'I love you, Mummy,' she says, grinning her heart wrenching smile.
'Love you too, darling,' I tell her.
And hugging my ten bags (eldest two offer to take some) I turn us round and walk us towards the car.
Extraordinary how the thought of tea and fire can cheer.
Home we go.


Kitty said...

'Put on your coat, it's cold outside' I say. 'I don't want to wear a coat' says No.2 ... 'I hate that coat'. 'Well tough, it's your winter coat, so put it on' I retort. He puts it on his lap in the car, defying me to the last possible moment. Perverse child. You'd have thought he'd be pleased I don't want him to be cold, wouldn't you?

Oh, and what, precisely, are 'shopping gloves'? :-O


Working mum said...

Tesco delivered here last night - bliss! No dragging daughter out this morning, no fighting your way round the store AND the driver gave me tips on how to do perfect poached eggs! Worth every penny of the delivery fee!

Lindsay said...

Sounds a horrible shop. Being of the wrinkly age group, I can remember my mum shopping with items wrapped up in greaseproof paper and brown bags. She walked up and down a very steep hill with her bags most days of the week.

Vodka Mom said...

I hear ya sister. I hear ya!!!

I loved this post.....

East Anglian Troy said...

I can just remember those halcyon shopping days of yore - going to the local shops, my grandmother with an unfeasibly small shopping bag but which was actually of Mary Poppins capacity.
Good luck with the Christmas Fayre - I do the Adult Tombola stall and first spend a week putting numbered tickets onto about 250-300 items, after first carefully eliminating all the passed-sell-by-date donations.
I don't know how you cope with three children - one is bad enough!

Suburbia said...

Doesn't it hurt your heart when they say they love you after you've been a bit grumpy with them?!!

You're a saint doing that for the school fair!!

Hadriana's Treasures said...

Lovely post. We used to have to walk up a hill with bags and now we are on the flat. Bliss. Children are such darlings deep down (well, most of them for most of the time anyway)...

Lindsay said...

Hi there - just noticed on your profile that you live in Steyning. My grandmother used to live there in a house called Vine Cottage which is next door to the thatched cottage. We used to loved going there and my dad now regrets he did not retain Vine Cottage after my grandmother's death.

Ladybird World Mother said...

kitty - so glad your child is like mine! Shopping gloves?! you are saying you dont have any?? don't know exactly what they might look like, but bet perfect mother would wear them.
working mum - oh, the wonders of tesco, and how good is that to get handy hints from the driver! Love it.
Lindsay - I love the fact that you can remember the grease proof paper and brown bags. I remember shop keepers swinging the brown bags with my sweets in, round and round to seal the top!
I know that house! Vine Cottage still there. Looks sweet. How funny is that...
vodka mom - THANKS! Good to be heard.
Troy - adult tombola. Crikey, that means that there was a child one too? The agonies we go through to raise money. (it was hell... but we raised a massive £40 (!) for several hours of back breaking work, and keeping a rictus smile on our faces throughout)(just toy stall)
Thank god its a year away from the next one.
suburbia - always they do that! And yes, it hurts! Thanks for your encouragement over fair!!
Hadriana's treasures - hills and shopping are not good. Glad you are on the flat now!

Kevin Musgrove said...

Katie the Oxo Mum used to wear shopping gloves.

I miss greaseproof paper. Meat shrink-wrapped in plastic sweats to death and smells horribly unpleasant.

Crumpets are one of life's panaceas.

cheshire wife said...

My mother used to get practically everything delivered, so did not have the joy of taking crabby children shopping. I remember greaseproof paper and paper bags. Far less packaging to throw away by comparison with today.

Ladybird World Mother said...

kevin musgrove - I so agree. Crumpets, tea, jam. Can make a bleak day look pretty good! Greaseproof paper versus clingfilm. No contest. Go Greaseproof! Hey, who is the oxo mum?? Was it that ad ages ago??
cheshire wife - yes, I can remember fish vans and butcher's vans coming to our house when I was little... the smell of the fish van was surprisingly clean... those were the days.