Sweet lord, it has been a long time since I have ventured anywhere near a shopping centre with the bambinos in tow. However today proved unavoidable so beautiful baby was tucked into the buggy and twin one and two were issued with several rules and regulations about behaviour, running off and inappropriate bogey licking and off we went.
First issue, lifts……. sounds innocent doesn’t it? We had to use three lifts today before we even made it to a shop, one to get out of the car park, one to get into shopping centre and one to get to the correct floor. For me three lifts means six arguments, l will explain but first let me describe to you the scene I first saw between Ms YummyMummy and angelchild at the lift.
Angelchild: Can I press the button mummy please?
Ms YummyMummy: Of course darling, oh well done
Enter stage left in direct contrast me and my family, picture it in slow motion. Twin boy spots the lift and makes a break for it, hurtling himself towards the lift with finger outstretched to press the button, Twin girl realises she has got a late start and sets off gaining speed running between cars desperately trying to park and not collide with her. I follow behind yelling like a banshee for everyone to stop, my fit flops not living up to their name as I seem unable to get enough speed up to catch them (it may be because I am burdened with a bag containing nappies, milk, wipes, toys, money, bibs, muslins, and a Buzz Lightyear and a Princess Aurora).
Both of them arrive sweating, dishevelled and panting at the lift doors elbowing and kicking each other in order to press the button. At this point allow me to remind you that this is a button for a lift, a lift that goes up and down in a car park. It is not the lift in Charlie’s chocolate factory, nor is it the lift that takes you to the Promised Land; it is the car park lift. However to my four year olds it is an indescribable pleasure to press this tiny metallic circular button. It is better than a day at Legoland, it is better than Coco pops for breakfast, and that pleasure is increased if one gets to press it before the other does. And the fun doesn’t end here, once we are inside the lift the battle starts again but we are now in a confined space so I am often victim to a few stray kicks. I have tried to introduce taking turns but someone always has to go first and occasionally one of them quite blatantly ignores me and just jumps the queue and then it all starts again.
In the midst of all this chaos beautiful baby sits in the buggy making mental notes on how to ensure she will reach button first as soon as she can walk.
So three lifts later and six reoccurrences of the above we arrive at our destination. I now look ten years older than when I left home and my throat is crying out for buttercup syrup to ease the pain of all the yelling. Twin girl’s hair has come out of her pigtails after twin boy used one as a rope to yank her away from the button in lift two. Somewhere in the chaos twin boy has removed his flip flops presumably so he can use them as a weapon later, and baby still sits beautifully in pram.
Our destination happens to be the post office, which on the Tuesday after bank holiday is quite the place to be. In fact after seeing the crowds of people huddled inside I check the window to ensure there isn’t a 2for1 on stamps happening.
Once inside I narrowly evade disaster as twin boy spots a shall we say ‘larger’ lady and is just opening his mouth wide to speak when I see what he is thinking and whip him off to the other side of the shop. Since I have last been to the post office they have undergone a technical revolution and now you have to obtain a ticket from a machine which tells you how many people are in front of you in the queue. In case you are wondering how one obtains said ticket, it is by pressing (you guessed it) a button! This button also seems to have magical powers as well and a good five minutes is spent arguing over whose turn it is until I press it (it does feel quite good actually) and then both kids crumble to the floor in tears. However by being such an awful mother and removing the fun of button pressing the post office takes the side of the children and has the last laugh – I read the white slip of paper it spits out at me.
You are number 129
There are 47 people ahead of you today
Lets just say I left the post office a different (exhausted, emotional, weary) woman.