Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Shopping + Children

Today was probably the worst shopping experience I have ever had with my children in tow. I do tend to avoid it as it really is no fun for them, whether its food supermarket shopping or town shopping. As a child I hated it... following my mum in and out of shops on a Saturday morning was as far from my idea of fun as possible.

So that's why I avoid it but of course sometimes its a necessary evil. I need to have the Christmas shopping done by the 1st December due to changing my mortgage provider I'm paying double that date then back to normal from 1st Jan. So December is going to be a bit of a squeeze. Thankfully I've been saving for Christmas but even so, it makes sense to know exactly where we'll be.

I digress... So this morning I decided to take 6 month old baby Daisy and Reuben my 3 year old with me into town. I had my list. I knew what to get. I knew where to go. I had an 'in/out' extraction planned with military precision. I had snacks and drinks, healthy and a lil chocolate bribe in case things for desperate.

So how come after one shop was I heading back to the elevator wishing I hadn't even tried it, muttering under my breath that I didn't know why I even thought I could do it.

Surprisingly this isn't where I tell you why (in the usual course of a blog there is generally a summing up and solution after all) I'd love to tell you why, not least because then I could write a brilliant child behaviour book and that would be that.

No, what happened next is simply down to my own stubbornness. He had to get it from somewhere right? Reuben was pushing my buttons to the max. Artfully combining pitifully whinging to full on screaming his cute blond head off. People were looking, undoubtedly thinking what a rubbish mother I am (and they wouldn't be totally wrong but I'm giving it my best shot) bit I needed to do the blessed Christmas shopping. It won't do itself no matter what my husband thinks. Presumably the same fairy that cleans and tidys will do the Christmas shopping too.

I didn't finish it by any stretch of the imagination but I did go to a few more shops and make a decent start. (incidentally at this point I must point out that the baby mercifully lept throughout the whole episode).

I appreciate that he found it boring. He wasn't allowed to hare around like a mad thing but its all a learning curve. I can't protect him from every boring situation. As a mother if I did, I'd be telling him that life is always fun and frivolous and I'd be doing him no favours.

Life has plenty of opportunity for fun and fizz but I want him to be well rounded and able to be comfortable in any situation, and that includes dealing with situations he'd rather get over and done with. For example the whole shopping experience would have passed quicker had I not had to stop every couple mins to deal with a tantrum.

No doubt there's something to be said for avoiding the situation in the first place and is now the time to be instilling these lessons?

I certainly wasn't expecting today to yield any lessons. While it was going on it just felt hard and tiring but now, as ever with parenting, the learning curve is an organic, constant thing, always unexpected, and I don't think I'll ever 'get there' but tomorrow I'll give it another go...
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