Kids and shopping. A match made in…hell.
I know that kids and shopping don’t go together, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes, needs must.
I do my food shopping online (lazy I know, but I’m not fussy about having to go to the shop to squeeze plums to see if they’re ripe or not) and the way I look at it, I am helping keep someone in employment. It’s a selfless thing to do if you ask me.
I rarely drag my husband to the shops either, maybe four times per year if he is really unlucky, much for the same reason as why I don’t take the kids. He isn’t a fan of shopping…unless it’s for a new bike of course.
This weekend however, we decided to go as a family to a cool shop near us which sells new and antique furniture/homeware. I have been once before (without kids or husband) but thought the husband should come and have a look because he is currently on the lookout for a new armchair. Yes, an armchair just for himself. See, I told you he only comes shopping when it is for personal gain.
I told the kids it wasn’t a boring shop but they still weren’t enthralled at the prospect. Ignoring their grumpy faces, off we went in the car.
The kids were fine on the way there, playing Pokemon Go, eating random sweets they had found on the floor in the back of the car, playing iSpy, the usual but as soon as we pulled up in the shop car park…
Eldest one goes into tantrum mode. He is 8, almost 9, so his tantrums aren’t toddler like but more teenage strop like. He stared soullessly out of the window of the car, his eyes filled with forced tears and he slunk down in his seat whilst informing me that he wasn’t going to be getting out of the car.
Chuffing brilliant. What a wonderful start to our family shopping trip.
The middle one is also reluctant but is easily distracted, like a moth to a flame. As soon as he saw a bird bath frozen solid with ice, he soon forgot about joining his older brother in strops-ville and skipped over towards the shop.
The toddler is just oblivious to life and did as he was told for once whilst following me dangling a bag of snacks in my hand. All about the incentive.
My husband manages to coax the eldest one out of the car after a couple of minutes and he begrudgingly shuffles his way (at a snails pace) over to the shop, where he then immediately forgets about his Kevin the teenager moaning and joins his middle brother for a spot of bird bath ice smashing.
Boys. Simple creatures really.
Whilst in the shop, the boys decided they loved shopping after all and enjoyed flitting about the different rooms. The shop was in a huge converted barn and is a rabbit warren of different rooms. This made it fun for the kids, but a sodding nightmare for me. At one point, I was looking at some cutlery. I glanced up, they were gone. The kids and the husband.
Seriously?! I was literally glancing down for ll of 15 seconds and they’re gone?! Shows their attention span doesn’t it!
I can hear them but I can’t see them (as is often the case in our house) and I cannot find them for toffee in the labyrinth of rooms. I put down the cutlery I was looking at and stomp on to try and find them all again. I finally see them all lounging about on a sofa they’ve spied.
Shopping with kids (and husband) Tip 1:
If you cannot see them, they have probably gone to sit down. Or eat.
Poor loves. All worn out after six minutes shopping.
We have a look at some other bits and bobs and I walk around daydreaming of owning a house that is big enough to fit stuff like this in, and I imagine what it’s like having kids that don’t redecorate the dining room walls with food every mealtime so they can have these nice things. Do they exist?!
The toddler then spies a ride on horse toy. He’s off like shit of a shovel and before I can blink he’s sat upon the thing like the Sun-dance Kid. It takes me a total of 12 minutes to get him off it.
Shopping with kids (and husband) Tip 2:
Do not let your kids (or husband for that matter) play with any toys they see whilst out shopping. You will not get them away from them and you’ll end up wanting to set fire to the shop just so you have a legitimate excuse to drag them out screaming.
After I bribe, sorry, give an incentive, to the toddler to remove his backside from the toy horse, we set off through the labyrinth of rooms to find Mr Knutts and the eldest two kids again. Tip 1 proves accurate and I find them all sat on another sofa…and Mr Knutts in a rather grand Wing-back chair with a smile on his face as he rubs the arms. People love a bit of chair rubbing when they are shopping for furniture don’t they.
Ah, he’s found one then.
I have to admit, it is very nice and it’s not too expensive by his usual standards. He sits down, gets up, sits down, gets up, rubs the arms, sits down, rubs the arms again and pretends to do the most important of things in it that he plans to use it for, sleeping. Yep, that shall be the chairs soul purpose in life it would seem. A nap chair. maybe he’s more in the market for a riser-recliner if that’s what he has planned for it?
He finally decides he needs to think about it a bit more (aka, bully himself into spending some money) and so we leave the shop and head back to the car.
The kids gallop back thankful that their shopping ordeal is finally over.
Little do they know, it isn’t.
“Shall we pop to that other furniture shop just down the road on the way back? They had some nice bits in there last time”, I say.
I can feel eyes boring a hole in the back of my head. It’s the eldest again.
He instantly changes from happy chappy to stroppy shitbag in less than half a second.
Shopping with kids (and husband) Tip 3:
Don’t suggest ‘just one more shop’ after a shopping trip if you want happy children. It will result in them deciding that they are now perfectly entitled to be little arseholes until bedtime because you need to be taught a lesson.
The husband says ok and we head for the other furniture shop.
Again, we have to drag the eldest one from the car and he says he would rather eat sprouts than shop, and that my friends, means it is really bad.
He sulks around the shop. Lollops on every chair and sofa he can find whilst the middle one and the toddler charge about the place like it’s a new area on the Crystal Maze.
“Watch that vase!”
“Don’t lick the windows!”
“Put the pretend TV down!”
I become sick of my own voice. Why is there so much breakable shit in a soft furnishings shop?! To escape without breaking something is sodding miracle and deserving of at least 2 G&T’s.
Meanwhile, the husband is having a nice browse about the place and is stroking the arms of some other chairs.
After 5 minutes, all the kids are joining in with the eldest one’s strop.
I walk around the corner to find them all in a heap on top of a giant floor cushion…
I ask them all nicely to get the hell up and we carry on having a look.
Then we get to another point and they all fall on the floor again. This starts off because the middle one has a rug fetish. I am sorry that sounds wrong, and it absolutely does, but I mean he actually really likes rugs. We have wooden floors in our house on the whole and it means soft surfaces such as plush carpets and rugs are a rarity in the Knutter household. therefore he really makes the most of it at our friends houses or at the shops by rolling about on them and having a snuggle. In a rug. Rug snuggling, I’m not making this any better am I…
“Get up!” I say through gritted teeth as a shop assistant throws me a glance.
Now the mischief has set in. They have had their strops and now they decide getting up to no good and being cheeky is the way forward.
It starts with the rug snuggling, yes, yes, I know, inappropriate, and then it moves on to the toddler playing with the electric chairs. No, not the death penalty type, fear not, the type I think Mr Knutts needs seen as he plans on using his new chair solely for napping purposes.
The playing with chairs and buttons lasts for about 15 minutes. It was really fun. As much fun as piles.
Then the older one finds an inappropriate lamp with a penis for a light switch to play with. Yep, you read that right (in fact, I took a photo of one when I saw it last year because I found it very amusing). Anyhow, he thought turning that on and off for 7 minutes or so was hilarious despite my pleas for him to stop…
I glare at my husband and we decide this shop doesn’t have what we are after and so we round up the rug snuggler, the electric chair player and the penis lamp tinkerer and head back to the car and then home.
The kids immediately perk up once back in the car and demand snacks because we have missed their usual 12pm on the dot lunchtime and they fear they are going to waste away because of it.
Shopping with kids (and husband) Tip 4:
Furniture shops are not good places to take children. There is too much breakable shit and there are too many buttons/switches for their little brains to cope with/leave alone.
Once home, I vow never to go shopping with them all again. Ever. I also really want a G&T but it’s only 2:30pm…though it is a Sunday.
Shopping with kids (and husband) Tip 5:
Don’t go. Do it all online or leave them all at home.