I did something I never do the other day, and took LP out without a pushchair. We drove to a local town and had a couple of errands to run – Post Office, Asda for a couple of things and had to pick up a blind I’d reserved from Argos.
LP is 2 and a half, how hard could it be?
We park up, get out of the car and LP holds my hand. Instead of walking though she decides to bounce.
“Boingy-Bounce, Boingy-Bounce Mummy!” LP loves this game, loves to bounce and does it all the way into Asda. It takes the best part of ten minutes. The Post Office is inside Asda so we walk against the flow of finished shoppers with their overflowing shopping trolleys, trying to keep LP from getting hit by every single one as none of them notice anyone shorter than the shopping trolley they’re pushing in their ‘Just tackled Asda. Want to die’ rampage.
We get to the Post Office counter and LP wants to investigate the passport photo machine, the queue barrier, the post box, the chairs… It’s quiet so I let her do as she wants as long as I can see her. She’s well behaved and comes over, intrigued, as soon as it’s our turn to post our parcel.
After the Post Office we get swept up in the flow of shoppers leaving Asda and have to battle to make it into the actual store to do our shopping. I somehow keep hold of LP’s hand, grab a basket and try and steer LP in the direction of bread, milk and eggs. On the way LP grabs a ‘Nerd’ baseball cap and refuses to put it down, or put it on her head. She doesn’t know what she wants to do with it but is rooted to the spot in toddler confusion!
The only way I get LP to move is by putting the attractive Nerd baseball cap in the basket and hoping I can ditch it somewhere around the store – Sorry Asda!
LP then kept hold of my hand as I wandered through the aisles of Asda, dodging shopping trolleys and getting disapproving looks and occasional tuts when LP strayed into the path of a stressed out Asda shopper.
We got everything we needed and made our way to a till. I chose one with just one other person in front of me and LP busied herself with playing with Kinder Eggs on the bottom shelf of the till display stand – Clever Asda, very clever! But LP didn’t want to eat them, she was more concerned that the wrapping had split on some and was trying to fix it!
LP then found the ‘Till Closed’ sign and the pull out barrier and decided that the cashier had definitely served enough customers that day, swinging on the sign, closing it, opening it and making the pull out barrier ping back into the wall. LP was having a ball.
I paid as quickly as I could, opened the poor man’s checkout up again and dragged LP by the hand away from the till. Thinking as quickly as I could I told her that we had to go to Argos and buy a new blind. LP broke her last blind – Long story – and she was quite excited about going to Argos to get a new one. LP obviously has never had first hand, adult experience of shopping in Argos. It’s nearly as amazing a shopping experience as Asda.
Argos is the opposite side of a shopping centre to Asda, so we had to literally walk in the shopping centre, past all the shops and out the other side – A short walk later and we would be there. It isn’t far at all. Well, it isn’t far at all with a pushchair. It’s amazing how many things you don’t notice unless you’re 2 and a half, inquisitive and ‘free’ somewhere for the first time.
“Balls Mummy, Balls!!” LP spots a gumball machine in the middle of the shopping centre and climbs up on a bench for a closer look. The machine is attached to the bench with a big chain, LP sees this as play time and won’t leave until I say I’ll give her a piggy back.
“Piggy-Up Mummy, Piggy-Up!” She climbs on my back and I walk with her to the end of the shopping centre, LP on my back and 2 bags of shopping in my hand, my other hand under her bum making sure she stays on my back.
Putting her down I hear “Pen-Win!! Pen-Win!! Mummy a Pen-Win!!”. LP has seen the huge penguin shaped bin that guards the doors to the shopping centre. She thinks it’s the best thing in the world and starts touching it and trying to put her hands in it’s huge gaping beak. Why would anyone make a bin look like a penguin?! Why!?!?!?
I then drag her away, promising her a new bling but again she wants a piggy back, so up on my back she climbs and off we trot. I put her back down outside Argos and promise that we’ll be going home soon.
“New blind Mummy, A-tina get new blind!” LP’s obsessed and always talks about herself as if she is someone else. Off we go into Argos.
LP loves Argos and this new found freedom, playing with the self service card readers, climbing on a stack of catalogues and even drawing all over one with the trademark blue Argos mini pen that’s been discarded by some thoughtful shopper.
I pay as quickly as I can, keeping my eye on LP whilst the young cashier ooohs and ahhhs over LP’s name “I want to name my kids something Greek, I’m not greek but y’know, Greek’s cool n that, I’d love a Greek baby.” I nod along and back away as politely as I can, shove my receipt on the collection point before my number’s even on the screen and wait for my blind.
I now have a blind in one hand, two Asda bags in the other and a Little Pickle to herd up like a spring lamb let out for the first time.
I now realise that the whole walk, that felt like miles, from the car to Argos now has to be repeated, in reverse, with shopping. LP decides she want to walk a few paces behind me this time, looking at everything – Plant pots in the middle of the path, her shadow, a bus ride outside a shop that thankfully already has two small children in, A-Board signs outside shops that are so much fun to climb through. LP even decides to pick the quietest shop, EE or whatever it’s now called, squish her nose up to the window and bang on the glass as hard as possible to the amusement of the bored staff inside. She then shouts ‘Loooook-a-meeeeeee!” as loudly as she can before I, yet again, drag her away.
LP then walks behind me through the shopping centre again, stopping, looking at things and then running after me saying ‘Wait a meeeeeeee Mummy, Wait a meeeeee!!”
At the entrance to the shopping centre she flops down onto her knees and decides to start crawling, shoppers flailing in all directions trying to avoid this ginger ball of toddler that’s suddenly flopped in their path.
I stick the blind and shopping bags into one hand grab LP round the middle with my free arm and hoist her onto my hip.
“Cuddle Mummy!” and LP rests her head on my shoulder, happy to be carried to the car.
I fish around for the keys, chuck the shopping into the passenger seat and strap LP into her car seat.
Flopping down into the driver’s seat I turned on the engine and promised myself that I would not repeat the ‘no pushchair’ experience for a very long time.