I pride myself on being fairly well physically balanced, perhaps even bordering on “elegant” in my ability to move across a room without looking like a complete prat, but there’s something about being pregnant and in the company of a two year old that turns me into a blundering juggernaut in public places. Especially now that we’re getting the proverbial nip in the air, I’ve got the added look and agility of the Michelin man in my big coat and my Kermit the Frog handbag which always tumbles down my arm and onto the floor every time I have to pick my little protester up off the ground.
My daughter is hugely averse to sitting in shopping carts. We used to have some success if we grabbed a pile of books and had her read them as we went along, in between stuffing her with free samples. We must look like hobo parents… Feeding our daughter free bread and cheese samples and convincing her that the lobster tank qualifies the outing as a trip to the zoo…
Anyway, the book thing stopped working as she desperately wanted to help to put stuff in the cart and, given her choice of items, the bigger-the better. She is determined to pick up items twice her size and then tries to heave them into the cart. While this may look like charmingly nostalgic Dickensian child labor, I really don’t want to entertain the possibility of accidentally paying for a gallon sized tub of sprinkles. This could conceivably happen because she also insists on standing in the cart to put her ill-gotten booty up onto the check out conveyor thingamajigy.
While this all sounds terribly helpful and more like my attempt to rub it in the faces of other parents that I have bred my very own child slave, there’s a huge flaw to her not being seated in the cart. She bolts. Really bolts. I’ll say her name, and without turning back she’s a little blur of pink clothes and tiny jeans. It's normally not too hard to find her, all I have to do is follow the series of troubled looking women's faces. As they see me waddle past, half of them smile with understanding, and the other half look like they're disgusted. They're either thinking I'm a shitty parent who should 'splain herself on the Oprah Winfrey Show, or else they feel these small horrid things known as children shouldn't be allowed out of doors. Either way, they can get stuffed.
So I've traded my cool, confident pace across a room, with perhaps even a hint of a seductive swing to my hips for that of a frantic mad scramble, huffing and puffing like an asthmatic hippo with heavy shopping. Sexy.