Monday, 10 August 2009

Shop N Strop

"I'll go down to the supermarket again," I offered at 8am on Sunday morning, and The Doctor accepted in slight surprise. My going to do a huge weekly shop first thing on Sunday morning seems to have become part of our routine recently, and I think he is wondering why exactly I am so keen.

First of all, there is no question of me going food shopping with the Littleboys during the week any more unless it is an absolute emergency. We have had, shall we say, incidents. The puddle of wee on the floor in Whole Foods. The eating of food on display. The chasing of small boys around the aisles, terrified that they will knock over displays of fruit and vegetables. The culmination was Littleboy 2's catatonic tantrum in the checkout of Stop N Shop (or Shop 'N' Strop as I now think of it). He was in front of me, prostrate on the floor and wailing, blocking the trolley so I was powerless either to get to him, or check out my stuff, and had to watch as supermarket staff tried unsuccessfully to coax him away. All because he didn't get to put something on the conveyor belt.

So one of us now has to go alone, and although The Doctor has offered on occasion, I prefer it to be me.

Why? It's not just the fact that I now know the layout of our vast local hypermarket, and I've got it down to forty five minutes to go round it instead of an hour and a half. That I have now found the elusive aisle that sells Heinz Baked Beans, have discovered a cereal that looks remarkably like Shreddies (Cascadian Farm multi-grain squares, if you're curious), and have identified which of the thousand different types of Tropicana (added vitamins, added calcium, no pulp, some pulp, lots of pulp, slight-suggestion-of -pulp- but- not-too-much) to put in the trolley.

It's not just that it's blissfully airconditioned in there (although that is definitely a plus), that they play soothing music, that it sells pretty much everything under the sun, so I can browse anything from toiletries, makeup, books and DVDs to picnic baskets, snorkels and coathangers.

And it's not just that coming out of this supermarket into the enormous carpark, there is the most beautiful view of the harbour, dotted with yachts, that can lift the spirits on even the most dank of days. You can also smell the sea. A little different from the view on exiting Waitrose on Balham High Street, it has to be be said.

No, the true reason I like doing the Sunday shop is that it is the only daylight hour of the entire week that I am completely alone. With no one to tug at my sleeve, ask for another cup of juice, want me to help with a jigsaw, fix their Lego tower. No-one to whinge that they're hot, tired, need the loo or have fallen over for the millionth time that day.

So my little trip to the supermarket on a Sunday morning is, at the moment, pure child-free heaven.

I think I need some time off.

12 comments:

Dumdad said...

You realise you're a fully paid up parent when it is little pleasures like this that you look forward to. Not the theatre or cinema or a night out in the King's Road etc.

But it gets better and my two are 15 and 11 and are a delight to take out to the restaurant or cinema. They grow up quickly!

Mumof4 said...

I couldn't live without my Tesco online shops, the mere thought of entering the supermarket with my four in tow sends shivers down my spine.

Nota Bene said...

Poor you! I hear England's a great place to holiday!

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you're just missing Waitrose Balham High Street? Just the right amount of choice, rather than those towering aisles filled with so many insanely sugared cereals that your teeth start to ache just looking at them. Know what you mean, though. I've given up supermarket shopping in favour of getting it delivered. Which means feeling ridiculously night-before-Christmas-like waiting for it to arrive, because I might just have gone mad and ordered a multi-pack of chocolate fingers. Not quite the cocktail-a-thon early evening was a few years ago, but hey. Enjoy that sea air, Balham High Street, and its pigeons, smells no nicer than when you left.

Brit in Bosnia / Fraught Mummy said...

That is how you know you have children. When previously thought of chores become coveted. For us it is who gets to do the washing up vs. bathtime. The washer uper can listen to the radio and daydream. The bather gets wet. The supermarket trip is also a prize draw at the weekend.

Having said that I've been taking the mayhem creators into the supermarket and barring one or two incidents - the catacylismic disaster on the honey aisle being one, the time they tipped over the fully laden trolly another - it is getting better. They have FINALLY understood not to pester me with requests for stuff and then we go and play in the play centre when it is all done. It is almost a pleasant way to spend the afternoon. Almost... I can think of better ones but all involved having noone who cannot read a whole Harry Potter book themselves in the vicinity.

PS - how about letting the doctor do it once, letting him think it takes 2 hours, going yourself the next week, getting it done in under 45 minutes and having an hour to sit and look at the sea and read a paper? He'll never know...

Potty Mummy said...

So with you on this NVG (and also with Brit on choosing washing up over bath-time). We live life in the fast lane, don't we?

jen said...

I SO hear you on this. I have the same 'urge' to do the supermarket shop first thing Saturday morning, which must mean I am desperate. Particularly as our nearest supermarket is in Swindon (we are in the depths of rural Oxfordshire). So I must be TRULY desperate... I am off to London tomorrow alone for 12 hours and I am positively giddy with excitement!

Almost American said...

"Shop 'n Strop" - love it!

I like Fraught Mummy's suggestion too - doesn't Whole Paycheck have a cafe?

In our house it's my husband's job to do the food shopping on Sunday mornings, while I get quiet time at home. We often divide and conquer though, taking one kid each. (One stays home, the other gets to go to the supermarket.) They are SO much better behaved that way! The kid chosen to go to the supermarket is the 'winner' because the bakery gives a free cookie to kids under the age of 10!

The Big Y supermarket one town over has a kids club - you can check the kids in and leave them there while you shop! I've never actually resorted to that, but I have friends who regularly drive the extra distance to shop there!

Iota said...

Baked beans? Ooooh...

nappy valley girl said...

Dumdad - I'm glad to hear it!

Mum of 4 - Americans don't really seem to have embraced online supermarket shopping in the same way - or not in this area, anyway. In the UK I was reliant on Ocado, too.

NB - Are you offering to put me up then?

Anonymous (or do I know you?) - I do miss Waitrose, although the supermarket is pretty good here. But I don't miss Balham, or the pigeons...

Brit in Bosnia - we have the same bathtime vs washing up choice. Mind you, the Littleboys create so much mess with their food that cleaning up the kitchen is quite a chore, too.

PM - it is nonstop glamour in this household.

Jen - that sounds very exciting? Where in Oxfordshire are you - I know Waitrose in Wantage very well, and it's brilliant....

Almost American - Whole Paycheck doesn't have a cafe here (although there is a Benihana in the car park) - I could promise them the beach afterwards but it still doesn't guarantee good behaviour. The kids' club sounds good - maybe I'll be driving up to New England to do my shopping...

Iota - yes! Turns out there is a little collection of UK goods in the 'Eastern European' section of the supermarket....baked beans, Heinz Tomato soup but sadly no Marmite (Bovril instead - bizarre).

A Confused Take That Fan said...

Enjoy your peaceful shopping. I am jealous of the smell of sea air and view of the yachts. Oh to live by the sea...*Sigh*

Bush Mummy said...

Oh I can SO relate to that.. it's a sad state of affairs when your only respite is in the supermarket aisles.. get yourself some childcare darlin'... and fast..

BM x

PS have you yet worked out all the different types of milk? I lived in NYC for nearly a year and never EVER managed to work out what was semi skimmed???