Mum blinks first in supermarket standoff
Miss Five and I are standing in the supermarket glaring at each other. I, however, have the trolley so if it comes down to it, I’ll win. It’s illegal to smack your children but are you permitted to give them a tiny nudge with a supermarket trolley to make them move? Perhaps not.
We have been standing in the confectionary aisle for aeons, each waiting for the other to give up. Sadly, we are both as stubborn as each other and bringing an end to this particular cold war would give Trump a run for his money.
The cause of all this angst is small, egg-shaped and, without naming names, is usually filled with a piece of plastic that’s supposed to be a toy but is actually designed to try the patience of parents across the land.
Miss Five is determined to get one and I’m determined she is not. I am sick of finding the remains of the so-called toys liberally sprinkled around the house.
Apparently though, this is all she wants in the world and right now, nothing, but nothing else will do. She rolls her eyes scornfully at the suggestion of a nice apple instead. Sigh.
There are actual tears threatening to brim over and she is batting her eyelashes at me implor- ingly.
We have wasted almost 10 minutes in this Mexican standoff and, like the lettuce in the trolley, I’m wilting. I’m also getting flashbacks of rainbow-flowers day.
There was a day, just a few months ago, when I refused to part with $20 to buy Miss Five some multi-coloured flowers. It was as if I had refused to donate a kidney.
The trauma of that particular trip to the supermarket can still trigger a fight or flight response. I’m inclined to go with flight.
She cried piteously the whole way round, barely able to pick up her little feet and walk, such was her heavy burden of despair.
As she trudged round the aisles, the weight of the world on her small shoulders, she cast covert glances my way to double check I was witnessing her pain. Ten minutes after we left, minus the flowers I add, she had forgotten all about them so great was the trauma.
Anyway, back to the egg. I have tried reason, talking in my calm mummy voice like the mature adult I am supposed to be. This graduated to mild
threats and then a whispered hiss of how she was in danger of being a spoilt little girl and she couldn’t always get what she wanted.
‘‘But it’s all my heart desires!’’ she tells me and, rather stunned, I giggle.
‘‘Really? You want this more than you want a unicorn at your birthday party, more than Barbie and her terrible pet dog that actually poos? These have been her two top requests for many months now.
There is no hesitation as she nods and I act quickly. I pick up an egg and put it in the trolley. Bye-bye Barbie.
A simple shopping trip can be transformed into a tense encounter with a five-year-old in tow.