Monday, November 17, 2008

Manic Monday

Today's list of Must-Dos read: (Yes, I really do make a list. The evil placenta zapped most of my memory. Twice).

1. Bank - sign forms.
2. Boys haircut asap.
3. Post Office - post parcel, buy stamps.
4. Send off gas bill payment.

Shouldn't be too hard to achieve, should it?

Achieving #4 went without a hitch. Even I can't mess up writing a cheque and putting a sealed envelope in the mailbox. Well, almost. I put the envelope in after the post had been collected, thus missing today's mail. Then I forgot to take the bill to the main post office when attempting #3, therefore missing my second chance at getting the bill started on its little journey.

Don't fret Big Gas Company, my payment is in the mailbox for tomorrow's collection. I promise.

#2 was priority. I figured I should get what I anticipated to be the hardest errand, over with first.

However, getting both their hair cut turned out to be not that big of a deal. Littlest boy, Monkey, went first, and granted, there was a certain amount of objection to the water spritzer and the kids coverall. (He chose the much more chic chocolate brown one to wear instead of the one emblazened with Mickey Mouse. This child has taste. My work is done!) But he sat quietly and still (most of the time) on my lap and had me gobsmacked at his co-operativeness.

I put this down to the fact that the hairdresser was extremely cute and her big brown eyes definitely worked their magic on my two year old's mini babe radar. Older boy, Cheeky, even sang along to the ABC song with her, such was her power of persuasiveness. That and the fact that she plied them with butter cookies throughout their time in her 'Magic' chair.

Anyway, Mummy paid the tip and left on a high. Proud of my boys for being so good and also chuffed that for once, their hair hadn't been butchered and it looked exactly as I'd asked for: trimmed, but not too remand centre short. I am a fan of the longer locks.

Careful not to be smug, (I run too many errands with my boys to get cocky about good behaviour in public) we left the hairdressers and went to the Post Office. Time to do errand #3.

Wish I hadn't bloody bothered. This was an unmitigated DISASTER. They burst through the doors and ran round and round the counter in the middle of the room (the place where you write your address labels, can't find a pen, lose your keys, drop your cellphone, realise you forgot your wallet etc. You know?) I attempted to control them at the same time as stuffing my package in a padded envelope.

I tried diversion tactics. Hey boys, how about you go look at those airplane posters over there? I suggested.


While my eyes were averted and busy helping me fill out the Customs Declaration form, they boys wrecked the US Mail historic poster display and got told off by Mummy and the postmaster.

Monkey then decided he was off. Literally. He bolted for the door declaring it was time to eat. He had a point.

I went chasing after him causing me to lose my place in line, which totally peed me off as you can imagine.

The boys big finale however was when Mummy finally got served. The following debate about parcel tape ensued:

Me: Sorry I haven't taped the parcel. Could you?
Cashier: Well, we don't usually...
Me: But I had to buy the envelope here. i'm not going to take it all the way home to tape it, then come all the way back am I?
Cashier: We are not supposed to tape customers parcels.
Me: Could you make an exception please?
Cashier: Errr, well...
Me: Pass me that tape and I'll do it then!
Cashier: Ok, I'll make an exception. But only because we already have some tape open. Really you should buy your own roll.
Me: (inwardly) Arrrrgggghhhh!

And then the boys (accidentally) pulled over the whole, let me say it again, The Whole, display of envelopes and mailing boxes. My inward 'Argghh' went stadium and before I knew it my scream was audiable in the Post Office car park.

We paid and left. Fast. And I forgot to buy the blinking stamps.

I almost abandoned errand #1, fearing a trip to the bank would just about finish me off. But the forms had to be signed and I'd promised Him Downstairs I'd do it. Today. So we drove there amid serious discussion on how to behave properly in public places.

Me: Hands in pockets or by your sides please boys! Do not touch anything!
Them: Crying because Mummy was shouting.

Anyway, they cheered up slightly when we got to the bank because there were a few toys to play with. I breathed a sigh of relief as they situated themselves on the couch with the Abacus and a Dora book.

All was going well until Mr Bank Man took FOREVER to print off the forms and fill in his paperwork. Small boys can only find so much amusement with some wooden beads and one book. Had I remembered to bring a digger/airplane/train with me, we could have hung out in the bank all day.

Then Cheeky announced he needed the potty. A diversion. Hoorah! A nice lady showed us to the bathroom and we three locked the door behind us. Confined in a small space, we couldn't get into much trouble could we?

Yeah. Riiiigggghhht.

As I'm helping Cheeky with his 'toilette' Monkey spies a cabinet by the basin and opens it. It contains what I assume are the female staff members make-up bags and hair accessories. Before I can say, Flush and wash! he's opened two of the bags and has dropped compacts and lipsticks onto the floor.

I can feel the tears prick at the back of my eyes.

Why Me? I ask no-one in particular.

That's it. I'm so done running errands. So I scoop up the spilt make-up, hand it all in at the front desk, apologising profusely and I take the boys out to the car.

The forms can wait.

The glass of wine and the tears can't.

I think I failed the Teach My Children To Behave Well in Public lesson. Big time.


  1. That is pain I have felt so many times. I know what it is to encounter some jumped up job's worth tool faced mother chicken of a counter clerk. Arrrrrgggghhhhhhh!

    No wonder they had to put in plexiglass screens. They must have got punched a hell of a lot.

    I feel you pain sista! Hell yeah! (It's OK I'm being ghetto today)

  2. And that is why I do everything online. And anything that can't be done online I just don't do.
    Children and shopping/banking/life do not mix. Not if you want to retain any kind of sanity anyway.

  3. Oh, you poor thing! Small children and shops are certainly an explosive combination. Mine would have behaved just as badly- and often do.

    Here, the government has helpfully closed down our local post office, so that we have to go and queue for hours at a huge one further away. I am actually starting to order presents for people, etc. online and get them sent directly to the person, so that I don't have to go to the post office any more.

  4. dave - or should I say, Dave-man? (sorry, bit unfamiliar with ghetto, but am trying here!)
    Luckily the pain of the day was relieved by aforementioned glass of the good stuff and blogging it all out.

    Pexiglass post offices - I'd totally forgotton about those....I must be getting a bit too aclimatised sista!

    Tara - You are right to do it all online. I do try and do most of my errands this way, or at least wait until the weekend when I go off solo shopping. I may be a saddo, but I often find myself really enjoying doing the food shop on my own - it's such a pleasure. As you can imagine - going to all the aisles without drama, tears or 15 extra things in your trolley.

    However, there are some things that annoyingly have to be done in person. I just made a bad choice in taking my children with me.

    On the other hand, I should be able to enter a bank or a post office without a scene shouldn't I? I mean, I see plenty of other Mom/Mums doing their errands with their kids, so why is it so hard for me?

    VG - I LOVE online shopping and delivery for gifts, and that's often what i use for friends birthday pressies due to the hell that is visiting the post office. But then I fall in love with something in a store, "Oh that's perfect for her/him" and fool m yself that a 'quick' trip to the post office won't be that bad or expensive.

    I'm always wrong on both counts...

  5. Poor you. Have been in a similar sitution myself. My little monkey was so badly behaved in the supermarket once, that I drove home bawling my eyes out and told my partner there was no way I could ever take him shopping on my own again - and I didn't, for about 3 months! Think I had a glass of wine that night too.

  6. Poor you. I have felt that time and time again as mine have chased each other up and down supermarket aisles screeching in delight whilst everyone else (myself included) huffed and puffed about the annoying children. I also boycotted the supermarket shop with my littlest for a good month because she was so horrendously behaved. My advice? Strap the youngest in a buggy so they can't escape, all they can do is an annoying piercing scream. Bribe them with chocolate sweets or toys. Alternatively...never leave the house again. Sometimes it is the only option for sanity...

  7. TT - thanks you for your comment. It is so giid to know I'm not alone in my experiences of the hell of parenting!

    CTTF - Yes, i should have strapped him in the buggy. But sometimes when I do that he manages to escape and even more hell breaks loose. Next time though I'm just going to LEAVE THEM AT HOME! (not, alone mind, just to be clear).

  8. How about chocolate and wine? Just for you. You definitely sound as if you deserve both. I know all the books talk about distraction techniques but it is easier said than done. Thank you for coming over to my blog...hope your house project gets back on track! Hx

  9. I found you over at Hadriana's, liked the sound of you and came to find out more. I am so glad I did - you are funny and sad and touching and this is a good blog. I'll be back

  10. Just make sure there's plenty more wine - for next time!

  11. Even without the naughtiness shopping with children is a high stress engagement that ought to get danger money thrown at us by all those who benefit from it.

    So when we have to take them with, and they are naughty, we should be sent away for a week of recovery!

  12. Aawh sweetie, I feel your pain, I was always "Queen of the Nasty Whisper"

    far too middle class to shout at my children in public I would whisper very firmly in their ear about what would happen if they didn't do XYZ...

    On a more serious note, we've all been there and as someone who's toddlers have grown into teens, they'll survive and so will you, you're doing a brilliant job so don't beat yourself up about the days it goes a bit pete tong xxx

  13. I'm with Tara and Nappy Valley Girl - thank goodness for the internet. Even Tesco deliver my shopping so I don't have to brave 'boring' shops with daughter.

    PS Is the post any better in the US? Royal Fail just delivered my sister in law's card three days late for her birthday and I posted it two days early!

  14. HT - Ah thank you for your lovley words.I'm keeping my fingers crossed for lots of things and lots of people in these trying times! Bless you x

    FF - Ah hello and thank you so much for visiting my blog and your nice comment. It's great to meet new people in blogland. I will go say 'hi' at your place too....

    TD - I really need to live in a winery. Clearly.

    NDP - Now, I like the way you talk! danger money - yes please! And a week away after the naughtiness? Bring it on! As long as it's somewhere kid-unfriendsly with plenty of sunshine, loungers and sparkling clear water. Oh, and a fully stocked bar of course.

    AG - Hello lovely. The Whisper. Yes, that's the one my mum used with me whe we were in public! I too have tried it on occassion as I hate to be a screaming fishwife on the street. But, sometimes, The Whisper still isn't heard by my rambunctiouys boys.
    I take heart though that you've been there and survived. P H E W!
    There may be light at the end of the tunnel....

  15. hello WM - Honestly, internet food shopping is one of the things I miss the most from the UK. It bugs the 'eck out of me I can't do that online, when I can do so much else online.
    There's not the call for it in Michigan - I guess, being The Motor State and lack-of-public-transport State business relies on the car driver.
    As for the mail (love that you call it the Royal Fail!) it seems to be a bit more reliable than in the UK, but, like everything in the US - you pay bogtime for that premium...just don't EVER ask for 'free' parcel tape!

  16. We should get your kids and my kids together and see if they can manage to burn down a building or something. I think they could.

    Mine are the worst behaved children in America in any type of quiet or business setting. WORST. I like to draw attention to their poor behavior by totally loosing my you know what in the loudest manner possible. It really ties the whole thing up nicely. :)