Like herding cats

Sometimes trying to manage small children is a bit like herding cats – exceptionally frustrating and sure to test your patience to the limit; just when you think you’ve got it in hand, one of them distracts you and the others all make a run for it.

A case in point was my trip to Sainsbury’s a couple of days ago. Toddler is now a tad too big to sit in the trolley seat and Tiddler no longer wishes to recline in the baby chair so is sitting in the little seat instead. This means as well as concentrating on trying to put what I need into the trolley as quickly as possible, I need to keep my eye on Toddler who is taking great delight in the freedom of being a small person in a big shop full of tempting goodies to grab.

Whilst navigating the fruit and veg section on our last visit, Toddler decided to rearrange the peppers. Quite cleverly, he was putting the yellow ones back into the yellow section as they had been left in the red pepper box. Not a big deal, though I had to warn him not to poke his fingers into the peppers. Then he came running up to me waving some celery about. I had to gently persuade him to return it to its place as it wasn’t on the list. Celery returned, he then decided to pick up some loose bits of onion skin and taste them. Mmm, yum. Following this he chose some loose tomatoes and proceeded to take a big bite out of one of them; slightly tastier than onion skin but still not quite what you want your child to be doing, I felt really guilty hiding it back at the bottom of the tray, hoping no one had spotted me.

Still trying to remain in control and calmly asking him to not pick up the produce, I continued to make my way around the store. In the yoghurt aisle he decided to entertain the other shoppers by spinning around and squealing at the top of his voice before bringing me a small pot of fromage frais from what I can only assume was a multi-pack. By this point I was in the tinned fruit section and not in the mood to traipse back round to the dairy bit to put it back. I hid it behind some fruit jelly pots, again hoping no one saw.

In between all of this I was gamely trying to convince Tiddler that chewing the metal bits of the trolley were not nutritious or particularly hygienic (I usually wipe as much of the trolley within chewing distance as possible but stupidly had forgotten to replace the wipes in my changing bag). Sadly he was having none of it and continued to chew, moving onto licking the side of the baby reclining chair when he was done with the metal bars. At least he kept his shoes on this time; usually I receive a tap on the shoulder from a nice old lady who has spotted said shoe in the cereal aisle and tracked me down to the checkout.

At least Toddler stays fairly close whilst I’m packing the bags and paying, and I like to count our food shopping trips as one of our ‘activities’ for the kids to enjoy, and they certainly seem to! And one day I might have the chance of a stress-free shopping trip with no missing clothing or half-eaten vegetables having to be hidden from view (I wonder how much supermarkets actually lose each year from such toddler related endeavours?)