Ask any Mom and she would probably call this place the ultimate humiliator (pardon the incorrect language). Yes, the same store becomes either heaven or hell depending on who’s tagging along.
Colorful new designs to welcome you, perfume and makeup corners to lure you and the clearance sections that beckon you, ahhh…the joys of shopping are second to none. Hours felt like minutes when I went on shopping sprees before. And by the end of it any guilt about spending on things not needed would be rubbed off instantly by counting the number of calories burnt just moving around in the store. Money spent =weight lost, not a bad deal at all, I used to tell myself. Before we all get carried away let me say this, we are talking about an entirely different era here.
Fast forward and cut to the present day. Minutes feel like hours, all because of the sheer mental and physical exercise that one has to undergo persuading a 6 year old shopper who wants to buy all the girlie stuff available in the store and chasing a 2 year old who thinks the space between aisles was created to practice marathon runs.
And you would think strollers and shopping carts could restrain kids from running wild in the store! All is good till they are babies and happy sleeping in their infant seats while you shop to your heart’s content. Things are still manageable when they are a year and a half and enjoy the ride that a shopping cart offers. The trouble starts with two and from thereon it just keeps getting worse.
The “trouble” can also be classified into two parts. The first is when they are too young to understand the notion of shopping and treat the store as a playground and the cloth racks as a hiding place. So if you see an out of breath woman running around the store calling for someone at the highest permissible pitch of voice in the store, do not assume she has gone mad. It could be me looking for baby no. 2 who has a knack for sneaking away right under your nose. The second is when they start picking up things for themselves at the store. While the first one is hard on your body, the second one’s gonna hurt your pocket.
But if I had to choose between the devil and the witch I would say in a store, 6 years is a lot better than troublesome two. The 6 year old you can convince, bribe or even blackmail with a timeout, the toddler is a little tougher to get through. Try and catch them while they run and risk looking like a fool or stop them and knowingly becomes a target of their brutal, physical (kicking, scratching) and ear piercing (howling, screaming) attack. It is what they call a no-win situation.
From leaving a fully loaded shopping cart at the checkout line to forgetting what I had gone to the store for in the first place, I have done it all. But what ultimately made me what I am today (which is “unashamed”) is the “roll over” as I call it. And once you are a victim of the roll over, nothing else can ever shame you.
It has been in existence for as long as people have had kids and the chances of a parent not suffering it in a lifetime are as rare as me landing on the moon. Of course, each child is blessed with his or her unique style but this particular stunt is definitely not a rare skill and therefore there are zero chances that I can get it patented for Baby no. 2.
It all starts with a refusal. One minute she is all happy and walking with me side by side and the next second she stands still, eyeing my reaction. When I don’t give in, the wailing starts. This is when the blunder of trying to reach out for her is committed. I do that to save myself the embarrassment of being stared at by the other shoppers (some of who are genuinely shocked at the screeching noise coming out from a child who doesn’t look capable of even a whimper) only to land in a bigger situation. As soon as I take a step towards pacifying her, she throws herself on the floor like a stunt man and rolls from one side to another. And she is fast, I kid you not. I reach on one side and she moves to the other, I make a grab at the other end and she rolls out of reach. Finally when I manage to stop her and try to lift her by the shoulders, her whole body does a flip flop that would put even a skilled gymnast to shame. Either that or she goes stiff, so stiff that it is impossible to lift her or bring her to a comfortable position in my arms.
At this point I have a couple of options. Leave her on the floor and wait till the end of the day till she gets exhausted and decides she doesn’t mind being picked. I could also ignore her bawling and acrobatics, somehow haul her up and exit the store at the earliest. Or I could talk to her, try and pacify her and hope that she voluntarily decides to save the stunt for some other day. To be honest, after having tried all the options listed above a couple of times, I now avail of the alternative that is effective, gets me quick results and never fails. And what’s more it’s cheap and delicious and fits in my purse. I take out a purple colored (supposed to be grape flavor) sucker and dangle it front of her eyes as she lies on the floor. The twisting and turning stops as suddenly as it started. The half closed eyes brimming with real tears (yes, as fake as their cries are in circumstances like these, the tears are always real, I guess that’s what makes a mother’s heart melt so easily) are now wide open. A cute little hand tries to reach out for the sucker and says “mama give”. Mama, who is by now a seasoned player, scoops up the baby, puts her in the stroller first and then gives her the sucker.