Rookie Mistakes is a series where guest bloggers divulge their parenting fails, and make us laugh or inspire us in the process. So if you’ve ever been up s*@$ creek without a change bag, or found yourself wedged in the rollers at soft play, enjoy this series in the knowledge that you are not alone.
This weeks guest post comes from Annie who blogs at My Inner Onion. Annie’s story involves the winning combination of small people and a supermarket. Otherwise known as Hell on earth.
My Inner Onion
Annie lives in England with her two children, who are called Jack and Jenna in the blog. Originally from Cork, Ireland, Annie enjoys going back regularly to visit family; these visits often inspire funny moments and usually involve a potato.
Annie blogs about the funny side of parenting and having trained in counselling, Annie also reflects about the impact of divorce on children.
“Today troops, we stand on the edge of victory. We must face our enemies head-on. It won’t be easy, it certainly won’t be pretty, but we have trained for this and we can win!” Two pairs of brown eyes blinked back at me. “Are you ok Mum?” asked Jenna, a little anxiously. I pulled into the parking space at Tesco.
“I’m fine, but the last time we all came shopping together, we had tears, we had tantrums and a huge bar of Galaxy chocolate which was definitely not on the list ended up in the trolley”.
Jenna frowned. “I don’t remember doing any of that stuff”.
“Well, I’m not proud of my behaviour, but food shopping is stressful for grown-ups too”. I turn around and look at Jenna and Jack. “Ok look, we are literally just popping into Tesco for a few things, only a basket-full, and then we can go to the park”
I have been reading a parenting book and I tried to remember the strategies it suggested. I was so tired last night and, typical me, I had a couple of books on the bed as I lay reading – a parenting book, a cookery book. I try to remember what would help me now as I walk towards the supermarket. “Turn up the heat and bring to a steady boil.” No, wrong book. Finally, some of the parenting strategies come back to me and I muse over them as we enter the shop.
1. Clear Instructions
3. Age-Appropriate Expectations
4. Manage Behaviour Calmly
5. Praise Efforts
Or CRAMP for short, it occurs to me.
As soon as we arrive, Jack needs the toilet. Then I remember that Jenna really needs a new swimming costume. Also there is a special deal on Pinot Grigio this week, 3 bottles for the price of 2.
I grit my teeth and plough on, silently repeating the word CRAMP to remind me of the strategies. We have been in there an hour before we even reach the food. Jack has seen a flimsy plastic toy and he acts like his world is actually going to end if he doesn’t get it, but the toy may as well say “This was unethically produced in an oppressive country, will break the minute you get home and will then stay in land-fill for a million years”. I remember the M from CRAMP and I calmly divert his attention to something else and we move on.
I also remember the P; apparently it is important to praise your child’s effort and not just the end result, this encourages them to keep on trying and it shows them you have noticed even small improvements in behaviour. Jenna has been quiet and helpful so I remember to praise her for being so helpful.
However by the time we reach the cold meats, I am remembering how much I hate shopping in a huge supermarket with two small children in tow. I try to stay calm and remember my strategies. “CRAMP” I mutter quietly to myself. “Did you say you have a cramp? Are you all right?” asks a kind looking elderly woman. A member of staff passes by. Before I have time to explain, I hear her ask “Do you have anyone who is first aid trained? This woman has a cramp”. It takes five minutes to extricate myself from their kindness and to assure them that yes, I am fine, thank you though, and we quickly head towards the check-out.
Two and a half hours after originally entering the shop, we eventually emerge with a trolley I can hardly push and a leaflet on Maintaining Good Circulation which the tesco man got from the pharmacy and insisted I take with me.
Those parenting books have a lot to answer for.
You can follow Annie’s blog My Inner Onion on facebook and twitter.
Do you have any supermarket disasters to share?
You can read previous guest posts from the Rookie Mistakes series here.
If you are a blogger and wish to take part in the series you can find out more here.
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Leave me a comment. I like them almost as much as chocolate…