Friday, 25 November 2011

Madness at the Mall

I think it probably goes without saying that shopping trips are a bit of an adventure with twins and a small baby.  I used to be able to threaten the boys with being put in the shopping trolley if they were too boisterous, but now, with Little Miss Snoopy taking up prime position, that option is no longer available to me.  It is pure Mind Control that is the key now.  Either I don't have much of it, or theirs' is just stronger, but it seems as though they are winning.

Going to the supermarket is nothing short of a military operation.  In the car outside the shopping mall, I outline The Plan, complete with ETAs or Estimated Times of Arrival (which the twins seem to misconstrue as meaning Enactments of Terrible Anarchy) and practically a hand drawn diagram of what will happen if Mother's word is disobeyed.  I make sure that I have their complete and undivided attention before we step out of the car (if I lose the plot before we actually embark on the shopping trip, I might as well turn around in the parking lot and go home). The we emerge from the vehicle, with the twins holding onto me and me holding onto the baby, in order to cross the road to the entrance.  This normally goes well.  The boys tend to lull me into a false sense of security by giving their compliance until we are actually inside the shop - that way they encourage me to foolishly hope all will be well and continue with the mission.  

In reality, their compliance is a cunning plot - once inside the precincts of the shop, they realise that I am unlikely to back out and it is then that they put their "Embarrass the living daylights out of Mom" strategy into action.  When they were little, their anarchy consisted of mostly throwing spectacular tantrums (complete with lying on the floor, howls and kicking of feet), in the fresh produce department.  Once, acting on my own irrefutable advice as a psychologist (given to the mom of one of my patients), I decided to "simply ignore the tantrum behaviour and walk away."  I left one of the boys kicking and screaming on the floor near the fresh fruit and calmly (at least on the outside) carried on shopping.  I think I got as far as the meat section before the screeching child came haring after me.  Not my best or most serene moment as a parent.

Not only that, but having twins along can be likened to having a hyperactive pair of octopi (octopusses?) attached to your cart.  A recent shopping expedition had me standing at the till wondering bemusedly how seven bars of chocolate, a set of toothbrushes and about fourteen boxes of tampons (they liked the pictures on the boxes) got into my monthly shopping.

Now that they are older, they have devised other methods to ensure that I still feel like an unfit mother when doing the monthly grocery shop.  They now have an extensive vocabulary, and piercing little voices to go along with it.  In clear earshot of the person in question, they are able to make the most observant, yet embarrassingly detailed observations of other shoppers.  They have fully mastered the art of the Stage Whisper.  On a recent trip, they were confronted by their first sighting of a cross-dresser.  After staring for a long time (while I silently willed them not to say anything), they were ready to comment.  "Mama," said one, in stern tones, "that lady has a beard like Daddy!"
"Perhaps she forgot to shave," added the other.  
There's not really anything you can say after a comment like that....

My three angels with their Granny Moo

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