I just read a post by one of my Hickory friends Sabrina over at her blog, Aga Toast, and chuckled and smiled to myself the whole way through. It's so true what she says, although I feel as if her son Wolfi is a lot more well-behaved - or at least better-restrained - than Blake. I have been meaning to post this picture for a while now, but it was from one of our trips to our local supermarket Sainsburys, and we spent a good 20 minutes in the paper towel aisle as Blake experimented with enclosing himself in rolls of the stuff in the shelves.
"Bye!" I would occasionally shout. "Noah and I are going now. See you later!" and then I'd saunter off to hide behind a column in the aisle and peek from behind it to see what he would do. Would he worry I'd left? Panic if he didn't see us anymore? Cry out in anguish that he could no longer lay eyes on his beloved mother and brother? The hell he would...I must have used that trick too many times! What he would do was scamper over across the aisle to add toilet tissue to the paper towel fort, and then scamper back again to knock down several bottles of toilet cleaner so that he'd not only caused me to waste 20 minutes of my life trying to move us along to the checkout, but had now added several more minutes of work as I tried to restore order to the shelves...he surely wasn't going to pick this stuff up and put it back right when he'd decided he'd had enough of this pretend castle. It was, indeed, an exhausting trip to the store.
Which is why, after years of just not getting with it, we have tomorrow our first-ever grocery order coming to our house, courtesy of Ocado, Waitrose's online delivery branch. This is big for us, and I hope it goes well. I had once or twice in the past thought of getting groceries delivered, but it seemed tedious to do the browsing for the items online, and it seemed expensive to pay the delivery charge. Now that I know exactly how precious our time is, the 99p delivery charge (off-peak, but this will at least mean the kids should be asleep so that we can unpack it all in peace) seems a bargain. After all, the Bob the Builder ride at Sainsburys costs 50p, and the cost of the medication to kill the headache I end up with at the end of a trip to the store is surely around 49p or more, so overall, perhaps we are saving money by doing it this way! I am excited about it.
This afternoon I - against my better judgment - took the boys to an arts and crafts store to pick up a few things, as arts and crafts are our new best friend (more on that later). As we walked through the door, Blake seemed interested in what I was looking for, sticking close to me and questioning what various items were (snap, Sabrina!). I would then love to have a digital MRI picture of what happens in his brain when, about 5 minutes later, he makes the connection that a shop, with its maze-like aisles, is the perfect place for him to wreak havoc and make my blood pressure rise. The first thing he did was find the section of dried fake flowers and pulled some fake roses out from their display cans. Next up that caught his eye was a spool of turquoise thread, which he found as he sat on the bottom of a shelf (a la the grocery store), and he topped it off by "riding" on a roll of white crepe paper which he said was "his broom". I had Noah in the Baby Bjorn, and for the first time ever, Blake's running up and down the aisles in an attempt to escape my chasing was made even worse by the fact that Noah then started shrieking with glee every time we did see Blake - as if it was in fact an intentional game of hide-and-seek that I was participating in! I kept telling myself to stay calm, and for the most part I actually just made sure I knew where Blake was and let him do his thing. Fortunately we had nowhere to be and I just guessed (and prayed) that he would get bored eventually.
And this where it gets good to be able to outsmart them, as I finally said to him that we could take his 3 chosen items to the checkout counter. He agreed to this, and as we walked up to the counter I lay the rose, the crepe paper and the thread on the counter and very quietly said to the 2 women working at the register that we "won't be taking these items, thank you" with a meaningful glance at Blake, whom I'd managed to seat on the counter. The two women at the counter were of drastically differing ages, and the younger one didn't seem to understand what I'd meant, but the other one, who was older and probably a mother if not a grandmother herself, got my drift instantly. We then had Blake help hand them the items that we did want to buy and we managed to leave the store with my sanity intact.
I have always felt that shopping was not for the faint-of-heart, but doing it with kids in tow does indeed add a whole new - generally unpleasant - dimension. Let's hope that we like our online grocery delivery. I wonder if they deliver arts and crafts?