As I picked up Mishty from nursery yesterday, his key worker pulled me aside to talk about his development. Everything was fine, she assured me, but there was just one area that needed to be addressed… his listening skills. Apparently Mishty is not very good at always doing what he is told.
This was no surprise. Most of my requests are regularly ignored despite my best efforts at politely asking, cajoling, coaxing, repeating, bellowing, threatening, ignoring and bribing him. It’s frustrating and highly annoying but the worst is when we are out in public. For example…
I collected Mishty from nursery one evening and thought I’d pick up something for dinner from the local supermarket. He was very excited as a) he’d made a cake at nursery and b) he loves food shopping.
We wandered down the aisles in his buggy when he started getting peckish and began pestering me for cake. Seeing as he went to all the effort of actually making it, I thought I’d let him have some. He happily munched away but then after a while started getting a bit restless – he wanted to walk around. This was dangerous parenting territory but after making him promise to hold my hand and not run off, I took him out.
I was played like a fool. Within seconds he was running around picking things up and trying to throw them before I snatched them out of his tiny but fiercely strong grip. This included a particularly large melon that he successfully lobbed halfway across the fruit section. After some disapproving glances that clearly suggested my parenting skills were not up to scratch, I tried to get to the checkout as quickly as possible.
On the way there, Mishty decided it was more fun to drop to his knees and slide on the floor. I cursed myself for giving him the cake as the subsequent sugar high was making him run around the aisles and think that me chasing him was a new fun game. Then as I tried to haul him off the floor from yet another slide, he decided to just lie there. Literally, lie flat on the floor in the middle of the path while I hissed at him to get up. You may think the obvious answer would be to put him back in the buggy but you are forgetting the fact that a) you have to catch him first b) he is surprisingly strong c) you can’t be as physical as you normally are in public in case someone calls social services.
Normally I have one of those handy scanner things that mean you just go to a self-service machine to pay and the whole process takes hardly any time at all but today they weren’t working. Clearly the world was conspiring to break me.
So there I was, trying to put the items on the conveyor belt while Mishty stubbornly refused to get in the buggy. I picked him up and forcefully tried to place him in but he, just as forcefully, planted his feet on the seat and resisted sitting. After a mini wrestle he wriggled out of my grasp and ran off to the next aisle and grabbed someone else’s bottle of milk and chucked it, laughing in my face. I was mortified. Wishing I had three extra hands, I returned the milk, continued loading the shopping (which was taking surprisingly longer than expected) and attempted to get him back in the buggy but he once again ran off. This time, the woman next to me whose milk he threw, took pity on me and tried to help. She naively told him to be a good boy and listen to his mummy. His face plainly said “whatevs”.
I desperately tried to load and pack up the shopping quicker than you could say “why can’t you control your child?” while the stranger tried to helpfully restrain my son. If ever there was a time for Mishty to understand the meaning of obedience and actually listen to me, this would be it. A queue was building up in the other aisle as the lady was not dealing with her own shopping which only added to my burning shame. Luckily we were in a Waitrose where the people are civilised and unlikely to cause a ruckus like the Asda clientelle.
After what felt like an eternity, the shopping was finally done so I was free to drag Mishty into an armlock and belt him into the buggy. I said my thanks to the lady and bid my farewell.
Moral of the story – restrain your child at all times and if they escape pretend they are not yours.