Thursday 20 February 2014

When Motherhood Isn't Like the Gilmore Girls

I just went clothes shopping with my two year old. To those of you without kids, this probably sounds like it’s the dullest writing topic imaginable. Those of you with kids on the otherhand, are probably wondering if I’ve lost my mind.

Well, yes, quite possibly. I needed an outfit for a wedding, and the two year old needed a cardigan for the same wedding. So, as I lay in bed last night, I thought we could go shopping together today. Y’know, have a nice mother-daughter shopping trip like I do with my mum. Except my mum is not a fast runner, and rarely tantrums, but I did not detect the seriousness of these differences last night. I thought we would browse the shops together, stopping to look at clothes, and gossiping about our lives. LIKE THE GILMORE GIRLS. My last thought before my insomnia-ridden brain finally switched off last night was ‘maybe we could even get a steamed soya milk somewhere on the way home’.

So, you can imagine my surprise when our shopping trip did not turn into a montage of Lorelai and Rory trying on hilarious outfits together in a changing room.

The day started well, I only had to read The Cat in the Hat twice before we were allowed to set off (on the agreement I would read it three times when we got back home). I packed a bag of snacks for Ebony, because if there is one rule for looking after toddlers, it is never ever let them experience hunger.

We got on the bus. Ebony opened her first snack, took one bite and then dropped it on the floor. The bus floor was, well, a bus floor, so that snack was out of the running. She demanded a pear. I rummaged in her backpack and located the pear. She grabbed it, took a huge bite, chewed, swallowed and said, “No.” before handing the pear back. The montage in my mind was already beginning to fade.

We arrived at the shopping centre two snacks later, and discovered that the dress I wanted was not in stock. If they had had the dress, perhaps we would have enacted some Gilmore-esque bonding in the changing rooms. But they didn’t, and as such, we had to go BLIND shopping. My actual worse kind of shopping.

We went to H&M and I discovered that Ebony would have been the perfect contestant on Supermarket Sweep. That nifty little two year old can dash through the store, grabbing gloves, David Beckham boxers, and headbands like they’re huge inflatable prizes. I chased round after her, trying to minimise the damage, and saying positive things like, “That was fun, shall we go over here and look at these dresses now?”

Unfortunately, Ebony lost her hearing temporarily in H&M, and was unable to hear my pleas. Instead she spent a long time walking towards a mirror to give it a kiss, and an uncomfortable length of time staring at David Beckham in his underwear. At one stage, she was stood next to the incredibly awkward sales assistant behind the counter, while I tried to coax her out with David Beckham underwear. I’m assuming I’m now on some kind of list somewhere.  

I thought we had turned a corner when she offered to carry a t-shirt for me, “Ok, but be careful not drag it on the floor.” Of course with all the hearing difficulties, Ebony heard “DRAG IT ON THE FLOOR. FASTER!” and immediately took off through the shop. I had to run after her, in a crouching position (so as best to reach the t-shirt), but she was actually faster than me and I couldn’t catch up. Perhaps taking the physical stance of a fairy tale wicked witch is not the optimum running position. She eventually tired herself out, and dropped the now-mucky t-shirt on the floor, which I then had to buy. Then she noticed a stand of headbands and proceeded to break the world record for most headbands worn at one time, while shouting “BUY IT!” at me in an aggressive tone.

In the next shop, I chose a few dresses to try on, still hopeful that we might be able to create a bit of a bonding montage, even if it ended up more like a Noel Coward farce than the Gilmore Girls. The teenage boy working the changing rooms looked from me (sweaty, dishevelled and with crazy eyes) to the toddler (feral) and offered us the largest changing room. I accepted gratefully, thinking only of the space, and not noticing that we would be within earshot of a lot of people. Because on TV, montages have music playing over them.

I sat Ebony on the chair, and started trying on clothes. Normally, this is a private event that only I witness. Today, everyone in the changing rooms received a play-by-play account provided by Ebony. It went something like this, but louder:

“Oh dresses. Mummy shoes off. Mummy tights off! Oh, mummy bra! BOOBIES! Mummy dress. Pretty dress. AH. Yes dress. Yes. Dress off. BOOBIES! Jeans, mummy jeans. Red jeans. Yes. OOPS, OH DEAR MUMMY BOTTOM OUT! HAHAHA! CHEEKY BOTTOM! BYE BYE BOOBIES.”

I really cannot stress how loud her voice is. I made Ebony hand the tag back to the young teenage boy working the changing rooms, while I avoided eye-contact by pretending I was buying everything. Because, the look I’m going for is probably best summed up as OH DEAR BOTTOM, so actually all of these clothes are perfect, ok, goodbye.

That was our first and last clothes shopping trip together.

Once again, life has shown me it is nothing like the Gilmore Girls.

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