There are two factors that keep my shopping expeditions on track: preparation, and the art of Zen. I am armed heavily with snacks, and have come to terms with the fact that I left control of my life at the doors of the birthing suite. I’m ready for any situation to go in any possible direction, at any minute. Currently, I am prepared for this:
I grappled with Teddy, simultaneously proud and horrified that he seemed to have developed the grip of a professional walnut-cracker. The moment was interminable. ‘Never mind,’ I eventually choked out and drove on, knockers out and waving in the wind, to the muted strains of Michael Buble. It’s true that Keith and I like to call the Canadian crooner ‘Swinging Bubes’, but on that occasion Teddy really took things a step too far.
2. The kids will win.
One memorable day, Ivy – aged two - threw the worst tantrum she’d ever had. It went for forty full minutes. In between shrieking fits, she did quiet moaning exercises, gathering energy for the next attack. I tried desperately to ignore it all, and as it wound down into small hiccoughing gulps, attempted some positive psychology. 'Ivy, you've done a good job controlling yourself for the last few minutes. If you can keep up this happy behavior you can have a balloon from the lady at the door.’ On the way home, with my Stern Voice on, I said ‘Ivy, that was very, very naughty, what you did at the shops. What was going on there?' Ivy was happy to talk though what she learned. 'I did cry and cry and cry, ' she said thoughtfully. 'And then Mummy did give me a balloon.’