Yesterday I was full of bravado about giving the supermarket a miss for as long as I had a cold and Mini Minx was potty training. Today I felt a little better thanks to copious Sudafed* (it took me from near-dead to slow loris reaction times: maybe good enough to control a 2 year old and a car), the sun, and a brisk walk to and from school in the freezing cold morning air without any cross words at all between me, Maxi and/or Midi.
* This is the first time I’ve taken Sudafed since early 2005; every cold since then I’ve either been breastfeeding or pregnant. Man, that stuff rocks! It dries my nose and eyes up for hours at a time. I can actually function! …ish.
I made sure Mini had an empty bladder before we set off. Out of the blue she insisted that potties were for babies and that she would only ever use toilets. More progress – excellent! I guess the fancy toilet seat The Boss put on the bathroom toilet was finally a hit with someone. Maxi hated it and Midi was frightened of it. On hitting the supermarket, it all came flooding back to me, from a dark, almost-repressed memory: shop backward! In other words, go to the far corner of the store and zig-zag up and down the aisles, working towards the toilet. Midi used to wait until we were at the furthest point from the toilets before wailing that her wee-wee was coming out. Maxi used to keep schtum until she was peeing all over the shopping.
As we were coming to the end of the expedition, with just the dairy and fruit & veg to gather, I checked if Mini needed to wee. “Yes!” she chuckled from the trolley seat. (Trolley seat… I know! She *hates* sitting in the seat! For the first time ever, she asked to ride in it because she was tired) I didn’t wait to be reminded and zoomed to the front desk, abandoned the full trolley with the 2 ladies who smiled knowingly at us, and dashed Mini to the toilet. Predictably, she didn’t actually need to go and just wanted to check out the toilet roll dispenser and what it felt like to sit on another toilet seat. But there’s no way I was going to take the chance.
After braving the surliest check-out “assistant” known to mankind, we drove home, Mini nodding along to my old euphoria cd. (Don’t worry about the checkout woman, by the way – I didn’t flame her or eat her up for lunch, I just gave her some attitude straight back and did things entirely *my* way). I’m glad I was listening to some happy music, because I was relaxed enough to notice some strange gestures from a car coming the opposite way who flashed his lights at me. I’m pretty good with gestures (all the finger ones – I’m from Glasgow – as well as the more esoteric full body wave “No, no, I insist, Constable: you drive on and let me teach my kids how to cross this road properly”) but these flaps were quite incomprehensible. A hundred yards or so further up, I realised what he’d been signalling: an old woman with a black hat, flying hair, dark clothes and a dark baby buggy was striding down the side of the little no-national-speed-limit B road I was zooming down. It’s a fast old road – I tend to stick to 60mph because I’m an old fart and I’m regularly overtaken. Yes, she was facing oncoming traffic, but she had no escape route to the side of the verge if one of the regular big grain artics or a car hadn’t noticed her in her camouflage and clipped the buggy: the verge was too high. I wonder what was going through her mind? “Ooo, I’ve got a great idea: I’ll take my precious grandchild out for a nice walk actually in a fume-fest of a road! We’ll dress all in dark clothes so we can’t be seen, and we’ll scare the bejesus out of any drivers that actually notice us. Excellent! The ultimate game of chicken!”
To round off Mini’s day, though, she took herself off to the toilet unreminded and unbidden, to wee. That’s a first! And the washing machine is silent tonight. I’m daring to wonder if the worst is actually already over…? <—————- me, jinxing things