Mum blinks first in su­per­mar­ket stand­off

Marlborough Express - The Saturday Express, Marlborough - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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