We survived a trip to the shops!

Written by Karen van Beek

I was brave today. I decided to go to Target with my almost 3 year old and my almost 1 year old. I usually hibernate on the days I look after them both on my own. I stay home mostly or just break up the day with a walk to the local playground. But a shopping trip - that requires strategic planning and precision timing. Today, I took on the challenge.

When the 1yo went down for his quick morning nap, I started topping up the big one with food, one thing after the next - I didn't want a hungry toddler in a trolley. Meanwhile I gathered all the necessary supplies: dangly toys - check, spare nappies - check, more trolley-friendly snacks - check, wipes - check. At this point, I thought I was doing pretty well.

The little one woke up at 10am and needed a snack, bottle and nappy change before we could leave the house. 3 yo miss just needed some shoes. So then off we went and loaded up into the car. My toddler said "F&*%" because there was some sand in her car seat (because: childcare). "We don't say that sweetie, it's not nice for little girls". She replied; "Yes Mummy, I have to say it because look at this mess!". Yeah, ok, whatever, keep moving. This lesson was not on my priority list today.

As soon as the child seat buckling ritual was complete and went down the driveway, the toddler announced that she was very very hungry. Yip - of course you are. She didn't put up too much of a fuss and we pushed through.

On arrival at the shopping centre, I started to suss out the trolleys. I was not going to deal with a runner today, so they both needed to go in the trolley. Target trolleys only have one seat, that would not do. I found a stray 2 seater Coles trolley and started shoving the little one in - a bit like trying to put a cat in a bath. Alright - he's in. Then I realised there was no strap for him. Yes, I know most people don't even use those things, but with two of them, I wanted something to tie them down! So we tried again on another stray Coles trolley - same problem. I walked over to Aldi, still lugging the 12kg lump and starting to tire. All the Aldi trolleys at the front had only 1 seat, the 2 seaters were all the way at the back - this was not going to work. I left Aldi, walked back past Target (at toddler speed) and on to Coles where finally I found a 2 seater trolley with working straps just as I felt the muscles in my arm might actually just give up.

I did a quick courtesy shop in Coles to say thanks for the trolley and picked up some lunch and few more toddler snacks. Then finally we got to Target (*angels singing*). At this point it was 11am and just about time for kids lunch so I had to motor through my list. I still don't even know if I got it all. I was shopping for children's birthday presents so had to go to the toy section. Da da dum. Yes, I did it. I lost track of how many toys my daughter popped in the trolley. The phrase "I want" was heard at a rate of 20 times per minute. I had to feed them both somewhere between the dinosaurs and the princesses. It was all a little bit crazy.

And then the whinging started, my little boy was just about ready for his next nap, and he just gave up. I had to carry him again while pushing my daughter in the heavy trolley down the way-too-narrow toy aisles of Target. At the same time, the older one had decided the trolley wasn't fun anymore and was trying pretty hard to escape. I silently congratulated myself for making sure I strapped her in at the beginning. I was shout-whispering at her to sit down and not getting the results I wanted. I resorted to my discipline method of choice - blackmail. "Ok, just sit down for 5 more minutes or else you don't get a birthday".

Eventually, we made it back to the car and started the drive home. I tasked the toddler with annoying the baby just enough to keep him awake until we got home and it worked! A small victory to top off a challenging morning. I think this afternoon we’ll stay home and recover!


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