Teddies, trolleys and tantrums

by Kevin Morrell

As the dad part of a parenting partnership where I work in an office and my wife works in the home, it has taken me a while to appreciate that the advice she gives me isn’t made up. No, this advice comes from three years’ experience of dealing with the complex requirements, behaviours and unpredictability of a toddler.

Like when she says I always need to know where Teddy is. Seems simple and, to the inexperienced, a little bit silly, but if you’ve ever spent 10 minutes wrangling a frenzy of arms and legs into a car seat to then be asked ‘Where’s Teddy?’ you’ll know what I mean.

‘It’s ok, Sweet. Teddy doesn’t feel like coming shopping today. He wants to stay at home, have a cup of tea and read the paper,’ just doesn’t cut it for a toddler joined at the hip to a stuffed animal. As much as I try and reason with her, it never takes long before I’m trudge back into the house to reunite them.

My wife has another piece of advice that is invariably correct; you need to feed toddlers. Especially when you’re off to do the Saturday morning food shop, solo-parent style.

On this one particular Saturday morning I had already failed to heed the first piece of advice resulting in the car being turned around to retrieve forgotten Teddy. The delay in getting to the shops meant that by the time we got there, my daughter had already hit the crazed-toddler-hunger stage. This resulted in her tearing around the mall, pulling cards off stands, running in and out shops until we finally got to Woolies where she made a beeline for the fruit display.

It’s hard to look cool, calm and collected as you run – pulling Teddy in a trolley behind you – after a three-year-old who’s squealing ‘Daddy chase me! Chase me!’ A tip for those new to this game is that Saturday at Woolies tends to be food-sampling day. I grabbed hold of my daughter long enough to drag her over to the man cooking sausages. The food seemed to do the trick and this newly confident Daddy lifted his calmer daughter up to seat her in the trolley.

‘Don’t let her stand in the trolley’ was the last piece of advice I failed to take heed of. As I found out, this isn’t so much about safety, as control. The reach your child has standing up compared to sitting is far greater – but more of that in a moment.

As I swept my daughter up, intent on placing her in the trolley, I was met with objection that only an underfed toddler can muster. ‘Noooooo Daddyyyy, I want to STAAAND!’ was screamed, as her legs went rigid, preventing me from getting her into the seat. A situation like this is a good indicator of who is the child’s primary carer. My wife would enter into a silent staring contest, a battle of wills my daughter would lose, resulting in her slinking into the seat. Inexperienced as I was, feeling the stare of other shoppers I quickly changed plans and placed her, standing, in the trolley.

It was a short-term gain. The rest of the morning was spent with my daughter pulling anything within her extended velcro reach off the shelves as I, in turn, hauled her back in several times as she leant over to rescue Teddy who’d jumped overboard.

We made it home. My wife opened the front door to hear the wails of an underfed child, me carrying bags of shopping filled with items that will sit in our cupboard unused (there are only so many uses for tinned peas). To my wife’s credit, there was no raised eyebrows or ‘I-told-you-so’. Just an understanding nod.

So, what did I learn? Kids, like animals, need to be fed. Buy three of every Teddy that enters your house. If someone spends 10 hours a day, 7 days a week caring for your child, they probably know a trick or two – so best listen to them.

Take a look at our top 10 tips to stress-free shopping with your toddler

Find more from Kevin Morrell at The Illiterate Infant.

At Woolworths, we care about your child’s safety whilst in our store. That’s why it’s important to us that your child is always secure in the trolley. So if you have a young child in your trolley whilst shopping at Woolworths please make sure they’re properly secured at all times.

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Gina Posted 2013-07-24 12:55:26

Fantastic write up! My husband has gotten out of this so far by working 7 days a week, 12-16 hrs a day since the first child 21 mths ago. I don't envy him but I do wonder what would happen if...bwaaaahahahaha. ;-P

Mamagoingsolo Posted 2013-07-22 23:52:27

Great advice, couldn't agree with all your items more!

Wendy Posted 2013-07-19 12:37:50

love it! Have had very similar experiences when shopping, but I too have found bringing bunny and lots of snacks to nibble on (for the toddler - not me!) usually make shopping an enjoyable experience. Loved reading your post :)

Housewife in Heels Posted 2013-07-18 13:05:10

Great advice Kevin! I've also learned the hard way. My other tip is to use parcel pickup when possible.

Bucky Posted 2013-07-17 16:30:18

How true. As a SAHD I've learnt the hard way. The easy way, so I've found, is to schedule my shopping trip around when Nana can look after 1 year old Boo. A great read Kevin, thanks.

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