Alpine Boy is currently on half term holidays for two weeks so I’m pushing my parenting skills to the limit to find something new and exciting for him to do each day. I’ve been spoiled by two months of handing over my son to someone else between 8.30am and 4.00pm each day and, despite the fact that I love him to bits (and yes, blah blah, I know I said he saved me from loneliness etc etc), I do find myself desperately looking forward to his nap time, when the entertaining can stop for an hour or so. Is that really bad of me?!
Anyway, I’m actually rather proud of the holiday activities I’ve provided so far (yes, ok, it’s only Friday of week one. And yes, ok, yesterday was a public holiday so Alpine Papa was around to assist. So that’s only four days of entertaining. But still). We’ve been for walks in the snow, and walks in the rain, and walks in the sunshine. We’ve been to visit friends, we’ve had friends visit us. We’ve made things and drawn things and painted things and stuck things and put Play-Doh all over the sofa and in our hair (well someone has. And it wasn’t me). We’ve cooked things and eaten things and watched DVDs. But still, the most exciting thing to happen to Alpine Boy this week? The supermarket trolley fell over. With him in it.
Today started in its usual fashion – me struggling to wake up, despite Alpine Boy jumping on the bed and telling me “it’s daytime, it’s daytime, wake up wake up wake up wake up wake up…”. Then there were the usual few hours to get ready. The plan was to go to the local town – we would go to the park in the morning, followed by a quick trip to the supermarket before coming home for lunch.
Of course that didn’t happen. Having finally got to the park at midday, Alpine Girl fell asleep in the pram and there was no way I was going to invite a screaming fit by putting her back in the car. So it was either wander round an empty town while Alpine Girl slept (everything is closed between midday and 2.00, did I ever mention that?!), or go to the boulangerie to buy some lunch for a picnic in the sun. Much to Alpine Boy’s delight I chose the latter option. What a brilliant Mummy I am.
So, finally, we made it to the supermarket at 2.00 ish. I’m never quick going round a supermarket, especially with two kids in tow and especially in France where I get massively distracted by the endless choice of stationary on offer (I do not need new pen. In fact I cannot even remember the last time I bought a new pen. But weirdly I cannot go into any French supermarket without spending at least 5 minutes in the enormous stationary aisle. Yes, a whole aisle just for pens! I think it stems back to my childhood holidays where I used to spend all my holiday francs on luminous strawberry-smelling pens and on notebooks with funny squared paper, which you couldn’t buy in the UK. Proust had his madeleines, I’ve got my scented Bics). I also get massively distracted by the fact that they have about twenty-five different flavours of ‘sirop’ drinks, a whole double aisle just for cheese, and yet another aisle full of chocolate. So a trip to the supermarket is never speedy, and today was no exception.
So of course Alpine Boy got tired during this epic expedition round the shop, so I put him in the trolley baby seat. I’m sure that’s not allowed as he is three and three quarters (as he keeps reminding me) and weighs about 16kg (I’m reliably informed – by Google – that this is just over 35lbs for those of you in the States, and two and a half stone in UK-speak. I know, very nice of me to save you the trouble of reaching for your calculators). Add this to the many many kilos of booze, chocolate and other such healthy (and heavy) delights, and this trolley was not handling well. I had already nearly knocked over a little old lady somewhere between the toilet paper and the gin. Only a cute little smile from Alpine Girl (who was strapped into a sling on my front) saved the day and stopped said old lady tripping us up accidentally on purpose with her walking stick…
But we made it round more or less in one piece. As always, we quickly encountered stalemate at the checkout: ie the sticky moment where I’ve not yet finished unloading all the stuff from the trolley onto the conveyor belt, but the cashier has stopped scanning the items because there’s no room at the other end, and so there’s no room on the conveyor belt for me to unload the rest of the stuff from the trolley… What am I supposed to do now madame?! Merci. The best bit is when the strong burly man behind me tuts and huffs, but doesn’t offer to put the stuff on the belt for me so I can pack at the other end. Ggggrrrr…
Anyway, rant over. So here am I: one baby strapped to me, one slightly bigger baby squashed into the trolley seat; pushing the trolley into the car-park, grumpy because it’s taken so long at the checkout, struggling to steer because there’s too much damn booze and chocolate in the trolley (never thought I’d say that). I go down the ramp (must have picked up a bit of speed), turn the corner and
Trolley turns over.
No lie – it fell completely on its side, trapping Alpine Boy in the seat and squashing all the shopping. I tried to catch it but it was just too damn heavy, and there was nothing I could do. As if in slow-mo I reached out and grabbed Alpine Boy, squashing Alpine Girl in the process and ending up on my backside in the car-park, with my heart pounding and a rather scared boy and girl in my arms.
For a few slow seconds the world was still, as I marvelled that none of the kids were screaming and that all heads, limbs and bottles of wine seemed to be intact. Then the high-pitched wail of Alpine Girl broke through the silence. I managed to pull (the miraculously uninjured) Alpine Boy free, and was just contemplating precisely how I was going to right the upended trolley, when three angels in Carrefour uniforms magically appeared and saved the day.
We were all OK but the three of us were a bit shaken up, so we opened the (now broken) chocolate in the car and treated ourselves (well, Alpine Boy and I did. Alpine Girl was content to suck on my knuckle. Easily pleased, that one). And all the way home Alpine Boy kept telling me about how scared he had been and how the nice ladies had come to save him. He couldn’t wait to tell his Papa, and he’s been mentioning it all evening, as if he’s having flashbacks. He has a glint of excitement in his eye when he recounts the story, though, and I really do think it has made his week. If I’d only known that this was the best way to entertain him, I’d have pushed him round a supermarket car-park in an overloaded trolley years ago.
Alpine Boy’s homework for next week is to dictate to us what he did during the holidays so we can write it in his school notebook. I am taking bets on whether the only thing he remembers from these two glorious weeks with his Mummy is when she squashed him in the trolley. I wonder what his teacher will say to that…