Aimee Horton

When you visit the Supermarket

May
07

I LOVE supermarket shopping.  No. Really.  I’m not being sarcastic at all.  I love it.  While everyone else was flapping about doing the Christmas food shop I couldn’t believe my luck when Mr Aimee ducked out and offered me the chance to go to The ‘Trose ON MY OWN in the EVENING.  I snapped his hand off, picked the kids up from school, threw them at him through the front door and was off, my printed off excel document print out in hand.

I grabbed my trolley and walked through the automatic doors pausing to sweep up recpie cards and take in the smell of the cafe (our Waitrose is the only supermarket on earth I know that doesn’t pump fresh bread into the foyer), and I was off.  Whilst everyone seemed to be in a rush and a panic, I sailed down the aisles pausing to look at everything that there was to offer.  I returned home two hours later with a significant dint in the Christmas budget and slightly ruffled, mumbling something about the twinkling light up Kleenex tissue boxes being on a BOGOF.

And this is why I’m not usually allowed to venture into the supermarket on my own very often.

Sadly, it really doesn’t happen very often these days.  I am usually escorted by my entourage, all with their special stop-spending-super-powers.  I have Super Scrimper – with his “HOW MUCH?” and “What do we need this for?” whilst looking stressed, anxious to get the the alcohol aisle (thanks for that, local Morrisons btw – having the booze at the beginning means I rarely make it past the salad and crisps before I’m ushered to the tills).  Every item I pick up is frowned at, before he nips off to the shelf to check if there’s an equivalent product for 20p.

Following closely behind is Super-Wanter.  The four year old who is unable to walk around the supermarket, but hates being sat in the trolley next to his brother. Grudgingly he takes up position in the trolley, his super sonic eyes flicking around, taking in everything whilst he inhales a packet of raisins.  “I want that” is repeated frequently.  Whether he’s motioning to a Spider-Man toy, a giant bar of Dairy Milk, a book, or randomly a solar light hedgehog.  He also makes tactful remarks such as “Look at the massive wheels on his wheel chair, do you think he’s in that because he crossed the road without looking left and right?”“Gosh. That man is very fat – perhaps he should buy some bigger high-up sleeve tops”. “I’m BOREEEDDD mummy, this is BORRINGGG…OI GET OFFF MEEEE…MUMMYYYYYY HE’S LOOKING AT ME…MAKE HIM STOP LOOKING AT ME”.  The first few comments I can cope with, the embarrassment of the innocent insults to the general public..well…perhaps SHE should have bought some bigger t.shirts (that’s right. She).  But I know that I’m on a clock when he’s having an issue with his brother LOOKING at him.

Then we have Super-Loud.  Nothing is quiet, from the second we enter the shop he can be heard.  If we’ve managed to find a trolley outside he’s wailing because he wants to walk, and if we’ve just found one, he is screaming “NOOO MUMMYYY NOOOOOO” In that way that causes people to turn around and witness you karate chop the back of his knees so he buckles and falls into the seat.  They consider calling the Social Services, but realise that sadly, while they wait for them to appear on a Saturday afternoon, they will probably have to look after the child in question, and nobody wants to deal with the trail of snot that’s worked its way down his face and is slowly dripping from his chin onto his mucky jeans knees (do they not clean supermarket floors? My children end up being filthy, gathering black muck on their clothes, while they’re lying there kicking and screaming).  After removing the packet of raisins he’s thrown in my hair he slowly calms down and is pacified with some Mini Cheddars.

This is when he usually spots the numbers.

Suddenly Super-Loud is in his element, causing a competitive number shout off between him and Super-Wanter.  “FOUR” “ELEBEN” “SEBEN” “LOOOK MUMMYYYY NINBTEEN”.  That’s not the snot causing him to talk with a B, he pronounces all the numbers with a “B” in the middle rather than a “V”.  As I’m hurrying through the shop the aisle numbers are pointed out to me in glee, both seeing who can spot the next number first.  My thoughts are becoming muddled – have you ever tried trying to work out which spice you need whilst having various things barked at you continuously until you respond.  It’s not just the aisles aisles, every price is spotted “LOOK MUMMYY EIGHT EIGHT…” Yes, that’s right, you’re reaching to grab an £8 bottle of wine to cuddle.  For a child so against fruit you sure as hell don’t mind carrying a delicate bottle of wine about whenever you get to the supermarket.  By the wine aisle Super-Wanter is sitting in silence. Sulking because he’s spotted a spiderman gob stopper which I refuse to let him have.  Sullen he glares in disgust at the snotty brother still enjoying the game.

Then I make the mistake of having to double back.  I’ve forgotten something.  Usually cherry tomatoes.  Aisle number four at Saisbogs. Just so you know.  Which means I am treated to backwards counting, I feel as if the clock is ticking “MUMMY TEN-NINE-EIGHT-SEBEN-SIX…”

I shove the trolley in Super-Scimpers direction and order him to a till, “I’ll meet you there” I say, grabbing additional bottles of tonic water and wine that’s at the end of the aisle, stopping for an extra lime.  

We don’t need to discuss where to meet, the foghorn in place ensures we never lose each other (dammit).

The tills is the really tricky bit.  There’s no room to spin the trolley ’round.  There are no distractions.  Super-Loud is hugging Super-Wanter.  Big Mistake. Neither children make small talk with the checkout girl, who starts to coo then takes one look at them and decides better of it, firing the contents of the trolley down the conveyer belt at double the speed packing some bits of me to get us out of her face as quickly as possible.

We tumble out of the shop and into the car, vowing to do online shopping and have it delivered to the house from now on.  During school hours.

Pass the gin.

 

Four things I never thought I’d be discussing with a four year old.

Mar
28

Things are a bit hectic right now, work as a whole is super busy, partly because I’m coming towards the end of a project, and partly because it’s nearly the Easter holidays, and I really  want to spend time with the children without being distracted by editing and a ticking brain (ha ha, it does tick from time to time I promise).  Therefore things are also a bit quiet on the old blogging front – and may be for a while, it will be worth it I promise.

However, I’ve had quite a few things happen with The Beast over the last few weeks, he’s growing up, and whilst I’m loving it, the questions are becoming harder to answer, and often lead to more questions, here are four of the topics we’ve been covering.

1. Haircuts, the value of money, and fitting in.

If I’m honest, I’m not a fan of boys with really short/shaved hair.  I’m also not a fan of “tracks” (is that the correct definition?), on adults or children a like.  I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with it, it’s just not my style, after all, if you look at my celebrity crushes none of them have really short hair, Dermot is about as short as you go.

Anyway, I digress.  A month or so ago we had a melt down on a catastrophic level.  It began because of the vest incident (below), but all got slightly out of hand because I said he couldn’t have a shaved hair with a Spiderman logo in the back.  It transpired that one of his friends said boys with long hair are “girls”, and The Beast is quite sensitive about fitting in as a whole.  He’s used to being top dog at nursery, so small fish big pond was a whole other ball game to him.  I often try to explain that it doesn’t matter what people think of you, it’s what you think of you.  A mantra that I try really hard to believe.  It doesn’t always happen, I’ve had wobbles over the years, but I’m getting there…and it’s one thing I want both my children to grow up with.  Self belief and self confidence.  Not having to fit in to the crowd, being able to laugh at themselves and being confidence in their own identity. Easy then.  It broke my heart to think he was already wanting to be “the same”  The thing is, he’s still young, he’s still little, and kids can be cruel.  We compromised and we’re both happier.

Now, we’re dealing with the whole value for money thing.  The school is very big on the use of  iPads and technology in general, something I’m very happy with, however at this age their needs to be some sort of restriction, and I REALLY want to write a piece about this, although I’m not ready yet, but at the end of the day I don’t believe a 4 year old or 5 year old should have their own iPad.  I just think something that costs that much shouldn’t belong to a small child.  And let’s face it, we all know I like buying stuff.

So on a daily basis we’re sitting down and explaining that iPads are a lot of money, that he can use mine, but not have his own yet, and yes I know certain children have their own, and yes I know at nearly five you’re very grown up, but it’s just too many pennies.  We then get the smart-arsed response “well, I’ll just put it on my list for Santa then” WHERE DO YOU GO WITH THAT?!  I started trying to explain that Santa has a budget based on how good you’ve been, and how many children are on his good list that year, and also, in the current economic climate it’s not always a big budget…I even considered mocking up a SANTA’S PRESENTS spreadsheet, but realised it was getting out of hand.  So I did what all good mothers do, I told him to ask daddy.

2. Peter Parker doesn’t wear a vest.

Continuing on with the above, the whole fitting in theme, obviously The Beasts little gang aren’t all about the vests, so he doesn’t want to wear one. However the child is smart enough to realise that if I didn’t cave on the haircut or the iPad (or the motorbike), then I’m not going to cave on this.  Well I have in the end.  But only because I respect the effort he went to to get his own way.  Let’s face it, any child which engages an adult into a full blown discussion as to what attire Peter Parker is wearing deserves to get their own way.  It was a very indepth discussion where we talked camera angles, argued continuity errors, but in the end he had a point.

Peter Parker doesn’t wear a vest, so now neither does Theo.

3. Jesus Themed Birthday Parties and War.

It’s that time of year, the time of year where children often go to the church to talk about Easter, they discuss the Traditional Easter Story, and learn everything that I have forgotten about why Easter is apparently here.

We aren’t religious, we don’t believe, so to me Easter is about three things. Chocolate, Roast Dinners and a long weekend.  HOWEVER, it’s very important that the children make their own decision.  As long as it doesn’t cost me any money.

So, I went along with the children in his class to the church, I managed to keep them all alive, and I watched as they all sat and paid attention as the vicar talked.  Except my son who was practicing picking his coat up with his feet.

For his homework he had to draw a picture about a part of the Traditional Easter Story, I sat with him and we talked about it, we  looked at photos on the computer, we had arguments about why Jesus had long arms (not longer then normal arms,  he just wanted them to be stumps – WHICH IS NOT REFLECTIVE OF THE PICTURES *cough*), I even caved with the conclusion he came to…that the skin had stretched from being on the cross.

However, I was totally unprepared for the question last night after tea.

“Mummy, can I have a Jesus themed Birthday Party this year?”

Even as I typed that sentence I closed my eyes.  Suddenly the “What is War? Is that why Jesus was  nailed to the cross?” question that came in the car on the way home from school didn’t seem quite as difficult to deflect.  All of a sudden he was asking if there were Jesus t.shirts in Asda, and if he could have a Jesus suit.  So as always, I did the only thing possible…told him we’d talk about it closer to the time…after all he’d just got his new Iron Man suit.

4. Death

I honestly didn’t think death would be discussed in any depth until the boys were older, but what with both the school Guinea Pig and Rabbit dying, and the child is quite sensitive to certain things, it’s become a constant talking point.

My only saving grace is that he doesn’t seem to be that upset about it, in fact, he’s quite matter of fact, the conversations often go like this, usually whilst he’s on the toilet:

Beast: “Mummy…when I’m sixteen you’re going to die, and I’m not going to have to have a bath anymore”

Me: (whilst thinking – PLEASE do not turn into a spooky horror film child) “nooo, why would you say that?”

Beast: “Because you’ll be really old, and I’ll have to look after Larry”

Sod.

Me: “Oh, noooo, don’t worry about that, after all, I’m not 16 anymore, and I still have Gran, and Daddy isn’t 16 and has Nan and Granddad ANDDDD Grandad is REALLY REALLY old (sorry granddad), and Great Grandma is his mummy, so you see you’re stuck with us for ages now.”

Beast: (without missing a beat) “But you’re daddy is dead isn’t it?”

Busted.

Me:”Yes…but that’s just one of those things…that didn’t happen when I was 16″ *grasping at straws*

Beast: “Did you want him to die?”

Me: “No sweetie, he was just poorly”

Beast: *cough* “I have a cough”

Me: “OOHHH Listen, I can hear Daddy calling wipe you’re bum and get back into bed mwah”

 

You see, it’s not that I don’t want to talk about these things, well I don’t, but you know what I mean, I’m not going to avoid them forever, but he’s only four for crying out loud, four is about being innocent, about superhero powers, about playing in the paddling pool, about not having to sweat the big stuff.  His biggest worry should be that I won’t him eat mini rolls in bed.

Now…where’s that bottle of Gin?  Oh yes, I drank it when we were doing homework.

When you feel a bit of empathy.

Mar
08

This week has not been my favourite.  I’ve had a headache since Sunday, my brain is fuzzy, and in general it’s been a bit rubbish, then this morning I woke up, and the only way to describe it was that I felt “blergh”.

We all know the monsters feed off your personality, if you’re happy they’re (usually), happy, and if you’re frustrated, so are they, and this morning was no exception.  After an incident with a table cloth and a vase of Daffs the older children appeared to be suitably crestfallen, and The Chunky Monkey was in a good mood, happily skipping into the car. Yay! I thought, the day is looking up, YAY there was no argument about shoes, and coats, and no tears about who got into the car in what order.

Then it all went horribly wrong.  The Chunky Monkey didn’t want to go into his pushchair to drop the kids off.  To be fair….I can see his reasoning.  It’s 10 minutes of sitting in a playground watching everyone else have fun, and I faltered, feeling sorry for him, thinking how good he’d been so far this morning. Big Mistake. I won’t even go into details, it just wasn’t a very relaxing wait for the classroom door to open, especially as I had to grab The Chunky Monkey by the wrist as he tried to leg it into next doors room, while I explained to the teacher that YES I did wash The Beasts clothes, and YES I did wipe his face, but apparently, whilst I was disciplining The Chunky Monkey, he’d thought it would be an excellent idea to roll down the muddy hill and skid his way through the tunnel. Marvellous.

Finally kicking ushering The Beast through the classroom door I dragged the Chunky Monkey back to the car, only for him to attempt to collapse in the middle of the road “NOOOO MUMMMEEE NO NO NONOOOOOO” he wailed, luckily, in the words of Daddy Pig, I’m quite an expert when it comes to forcing a child into the car, and pushing him into the seat, I swiftly clicked him in, (and I must admit I also did a slightly petty “HAAA LOSERRRR” taunt at him as I slammed the door).

Normally, given that I was feeling weak, and tired, and all I really wanted was to drown myself in cups of tea and brownies, I’d have headed home, but for once I was arrogant, I was going to persevere, I was not going to be controlled by a 2 year old hunk of fat. So I drove on to the shops, where I needed a few things so that I achieved something today.  In the car, I may have been on the edge of tears, not body shuddering sobs, just a few of frustration and embarrassment tears in the eyes, but I shook it out, turned the music up loud (sadly Lincs FM was not on my side).

Pulling into the car park, I may have used the F word towards the one way sign and rebelled by turning right instead of left and making my way to a space, before opening up the pushchair and bracing myself.  As I lifted him out of the car the yells “NOOO MUMMEEE NOOO NOO PEESSS MUMMEEEE NOOO” rebounded off the empty spaces, planting themselves squarely infront of the old couple getting out of their car where they then turned to look at me as I was attempting to bend him in the middle before strapping him into his pushchair.  Tutting they shook their head and wandered towards the shop.  I have to say, it’s a good job Larry wasn’t in the pushchair or I may have been forced to run after them and take their zimmer frame out.

In the end, after much finger wagging, threats of moving rockets down, and no Peppa Pig (who am I kidding), I ran out of options, and for anybody who has owned a Maclaren Buggy will know, brute force isn’t as easy as it is with a securely fastened car seat.  So I’m not very proud of what I did next, I lay him in the pushchair, and then I may have tipped it backwards, so the handles were nearly on the floor and shook it, this caused The Chunky Monkey to slide easily into his seat, then quick as a flash I flattened him in and clicked the straps. HAHAHHAHAHAHAAAAA. LOSER! I WIN YOU LOSE!

Some of you, mainly those who don’t have a twenty stone child, may wonder why I didn’t just let him walk into the shop holding my hand.  Because I wanted to achieve something. I wanted to go to the parts of the shop I needed to be in, pick up the various bits, go to the tills and pay for them, not have to drag an additional load along with me.  Plus. Pushchairs are good for carrying bags.

Anyway, after I’d calmed down, and he’d apologised (I’d just sent M the following message “Whatever the boys are getting me for Mother’s Day…double it”), we were downstairs looking for some plastic wallets, when I bumped into a Mum from The Beasts school.  She’s nice, we’ve spoken a few times, we got chatting, and she mentioned she’d seen me in the car park.  We laughed, and for the first time this morning, I didn’t want the ground to open up and swallow me in my entirety, smudged eye-make up, Nutella marked jumper and all.

We chatted some more, and then carried on with our day.

After that I was quite pleased I’d braved it.  After all, if I’d come home, we’d have no doubt fallen out over something else, tantrums would still have been had, and I wouldn’t have any contact with anybody other then my own grumpy self.  It was nice to feel a bit of empathy, there was no judgement in her eyes as she talked to Larry about his chocolate buttons I’d given him, and she relayed similar stories from her youngest.  Plus. She likes Gin.

Today isn’t going to be as awful as I thought, after all, I bought storage boxes, which, although some of you might not agree, is pretty bloody fantastic.

Have a good weekend x