.. penned during Easter Break 4 years ago, when Arvind was all of two years and not fun to shop with. And Anj, since you asked –
I have no good news for you. There is no hope when shopping with a toddler in their terrible two’s. It’s either Dope ‘Em or Bribe ‘Em.
Or politely ask for a personality change at the depot where you picked them up to begin with. Ho hum.
—————————————————————————————————————————————————On On our way to the family cabin for Easter break, we stopped at a convenience store to stock up with provisions for the car ride ahead. (Good god. I’m turning into my mother – the compulsive car-trip eater!)
I tick Arvind off for trying to swipe a crate of tomatoes, an act which angered him so much, he decided he would just be rooted to the floor of the store – you know, just to teach me a lesson. I react to this in the time-honoured way that all tired mothers who have been over-exposed to their children react – I grab him by the arm and drag him along. While I’m dragging a screaming, prostrate Arvind down the aisles of the store, I notice a young couple who were shopping in the store. Well dressed – and by the looks of it – well-educated, well-employed and probably about to climb to in a shining vehicle with their Camembert cheese. I catch her look, the mix of pity and disgust. The look that says, ” Poor You. But Really. Can’t you control you child any better?”
I eyeball her, feeling a malicious smile grow and spread in me. And with it my retort.
” I WAS ONCE YOU. I nibbled Camembert Cheese, sampled take-away sushi, had impulsive sex and a lattè to go. One day your ovaries too may rattle and you may willingly or unwillingly engage in relations with Ken by your side and THEN you can kiss your life as you know it goodbye. YOU can then feel like a cow with udders akimbo, stuck in a room with a kid, wondering why none of your pre-conceived theories about child-rearing work with your offspring. Dr.Spock won’t save you either. One day it will be YOU in these aisles, wondering how you became the kind of mother who drags her progeny down the aisle of a convenience store, while he screams as if you were Hannibal Lecter.
You’ll think, “I had this all figured out.”
ONE DAY IT’LL BE YOU. So don’t judge me, bitch.
That curse being cast, we climbed into our car and drive to the cabin and lived happily ever after till Arvind woke us up at 6 a.m. the next day.
Edited to add: An infinitely wise colleague who read this came up with a brilliant suggestion for parents who have to live through the Crimean War each time they are at the supermarket. She makes her 2.5 year old a shopping list. A simple list with just milk, sugar, cookies, packet of coffee beans and the like. The 2.5 year old is then entrusted with the task of finding and bringing said items to Ma. She says the child feels so responsible and competent that trips are now a pleasure and not the torture chamber they once were.
Note to self: Outsource upbringing of own children to wise colleague so they do not become total nincompoops.