I almost flipped out in the supermarket today. I almost had a total sleep deprived, mad as a box of frogs, crazy-haired, mum-coated, drizzle soaked, school-run-stressed, apoplectic roar of a tantrum at a total stranger. And that’s putting it mildly.
Here’s why. My youngest was wailing. He’s teething and under the weather. It was loud. I get that. He’d been complaining solidly since we arrived. I’d tried the usual tactics. In case you’re wondering, my top three are:
–Distraction: “Oh look, bananas. Shall we get some?” “Can you see the biscuits?” “Oh look, that little boy has Thomas the Tank too!” All said in the deranged, over the top manner of a cbeebies presenter on crack and accompanied by theatrical pointing, oohing and aahing. My kid is 15 months; he has no idea what I am really on about but he loves a banana and a biscuit and if I am manic enough my idiocy alone can pull him out of stropdom. Not so today. So I move on…
–Self Humiliation: My boy loves songs. I have a voice that can only be described using the words of the wonderful Billy Connolly (not that we’re mates, he wasn’t talking about me) as “like a goose farting in the fog”. But that is mildly preferable to the hysterical screaming, so I think, who cares? And I wind that bobbin up. The wheels on my bus go round and round. And for good measure, my esteemed friend the Grand Old Duke of York does what he does best. And for a while, I am winning. He points. He smiles, he joins in a bit. And then, he asks for ‘OOOPa’. And I do not know what that is. So we’re back to being totally buggered. But undeterred I power through (this is not my first time and my bag of tricks is still full….)
-Offers of bribery: this one has levels.
1.Here’s your dummy.
2. Here’s your teddy.
3. Here’s your healthy snack.
4. Oh f*ck it , here’s a biscuit.
5. For goodness’ sakes, nothing works with you people. Oh good, the wine aisle…
Now, let me make this clear: most people you encounter when you have a crying child, in the middle of the day, in a supermarket, are blinking lovely. Many are parents too, so they shrug, conspiratorially eyeroll, and push that buggy/trolley onwards, inwardly high fiving themselves that it was not their kids turn to be a ratbag today.
Many others are grandparents who smile indulgently, play peekaboo, say hello, or in the case of one beautiful lady one time when my daughter was little, get a clean handkerchief out of their handbag, elastic band a head and paint a smile with a lipstick, before enacting a mini puppet show which had my girl enthralled at a bus stop. I love that lady still, four years later. She was magic.
My point is, most people are nice. Most people in that environment, at that time of the day, get it. Not so this person I am about to introduce. But I digress. You last saw me in the wine aisle…
So, I am musing over the Merlot, pondering the Prosecco, and basically wishing I was anywhere where I could drink either in peace, and this woman looks at me and tuts. She actually tuts. And then she says “Are you just going to let him cry all round? I’ve had to listen to that my whole shop.”
I have been awake five times in the night and up since 6.17am. It rained on the school run. I told my eldest off a lot for not being quick enough. I feel bad; she’s only four. I’m tired, I’m rained on, I’ve tried my bloody best. If, as she says, she has been following me, she should have seen that I was trying. Red mist is descending now. I can feel my neck flushing.
She may have kids herself, she may not. If she does, then she should know. If she doesn’t then surely she is familiar with the concept. Either way, what right does she have to make my already obviously difficult day even worse just because she felt like being a bellend? We weren’t at the opera. We were in Sainsbury’s. I might have half understood if it was effing Waitrose.
I was on the brink of murder with a Merlot bottle for a split second. I seriously could have beaten her with a bottle and spilled Sauv Blanc on her felled body.
But that would be a waste of wine. And I hate that.
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