I know I’m not the only one that gets almost as much joy out of shopping for books as I do reading them. However, since the little ones have come along book shopping has become one of those wish list activities that you do when you’re feeling really brave. It now belongs in the same category as bra shopping, going to the Dentist and drinking a cup of tea that is actually still hot. It’s nice to be able to do, but let’s face it – the realities of such a task requires a LOT of forward planning.
Looking back on my day, I now realise that grouping three of the above activities into the one day may have been overly optimistic. But I had scheduled the Dentist and had Dad booked to babysit the V2 for the appointment. V1 was safely at daycare so I traipsed the 40 min train ride into the city to really make a meal out of the trip.
It was before I had even reached the city where I encountered the first problem. Train stations without lifts. After awkwardly carrying poor V2 lopsided down the stairs (she loves her pasta and cheese and it’s really adding to the weight of the pram!) I was grateful for the momentary reprieve before the train arrived. She, however, wasn’t. She doesnt appreciate being stationary in the pram for longer than a couple of minutes so we had no sooner boarded the train when the ‘I really need to sleep, but there’s so much to look at’ cries commenced. After 5 mins of ‘shh, shh, shh’ and rocking the pram as best I could, the gazes of my fellow passengers were becoming a little too accusing. To be fair, I’m pretty sure none of them cared at all, but as a Mum with a crying little one you do start to think that everyone is looking at you when they meltdown so I gave her the cuddle she needed and let her pass out on my shoulder. Somewhat miraculously I managed to get her back into the pram, buckled up and off to Dad’s office and back from the Dentist without her even waking. Lucky for Dad!
She of course awoke as soon as she heard my voice when I got back to his office, so we had a quick morning tea break followed by my guzzling a too hot coffee (it’s either cold or boiling – I can’t win!) and we bravely set off for Dymocks. With a slight detour at 2 shops along the way (I had an enormous shopping list!) I soon realised the error of my ways.
Always, always, always go straight to the shop in which you are wanting to spend the most time. I wasted the 5 minutes of good mood she was capable of giving me while browsing for handbag size combs and pretty head bands for her at Priceline. By time I got to Dymocks I was utilising the pram as nothing more than a rather fancy bag carrier. It made browsing rather challenging. And I was very much questioning the virtue of my selfless act of ensuring she was asleep for Dad’s babysitting shift while I was at the Dentist.
After 20 minutes of me pleading with her to stay calm, stop dropping her rusk and stop trying to show off her gymnastics abilities by throwing herself backwards at every opportunity, I arrived at the counter to pay for 3 books (thankfully I had browsed online, as browsing in store is just not an option these days), 4 cards and some beautiful wrapping paper. She promptly scrunched the wrapping paper as I passed it over – good thing I was buying it. She tried to throw in a heap of extra purchases all within arm’s reach of where we were standing. When I tried to put her back into the pram so I could at least take the bag from the kind staff member serving me, she put up such a fight that I ended up covered in sweat and a fellow shopper offered assistance carrying my bags for me so I could have more hands to wrestle her into the pram. Several back arches later, a few indignant faces and a couple of screams close to my ear and she was latched in, very unimpressed. It was then that I was actually able to take a look at her face and realised she had mashed the rusk all around her face – and so the guilty parent feeling began to amplify. She was hot, bothered, bored of shopping and to add to it all she had food all over her face.
I was desperate to get home as fast as possible but V2 lulled me into a false sense of security by quieting down just as I walked past my favourite lingerie shop. Desperate for some new bras I dashed in, asked for anything in my size that I could quickly try to check it was still correct and then do a cry free online order from home. While she cried in the doorway of the change room (it was open so any passers-by got more than they bargained for that day!) I hopelessly requested assistance from the store attendants only to be ignored 3 times. I quickly put everything back on and sprinted out as fast as I could, still uncertain of sizing and very certain of the crumbling nature of my sanity and patience.
I breathed a sigh of relief as we arrived at the station on time for the train, only to miss it by 1 minute due to a rather sluggish lift at the station. After melting a bit more on the platform waiting for the train I realised that a 2-hour outing to the city involving coffee with the hubby, shopping for books, bras and birthday presents was simply not as much fun as it sounded and the fact that I was suddenly desparate for a bathroom only reinforced the thought.
I realise this was probably all avoidable if I didn’t attempt to overreach with so many tasks in the one day. But I very much believe in being optimistic about what we can achieve with the kids (and since I am currently on parental leave, I don’t get into the city very often so I try to capitalise!). Even if it means that almost every time you do brave an activity, be it a shopping trip, a dinner out or letting them crack the eggs for the cake you are making together, it’s better to have the faith in them and deal with the issues later. Practice makes perfect! And if I didn’t try, I’d never get to visit Dymocks and online shopping for books is just not the same thing as browsing in store!