I apologise for shopping alongside you all today. I apologise even more for bringing my 2-year-old son with me. (Unfortunately it’s frowned upon to leave toddlers by at home alone as a supermarket shop is so much easier without kids, but I don’t make the rules.)
I would like to reassure all of you who took time out of your little bubbles to give us a cold, hard stare, that he is fine. He wasn’t in pain, I hadn’t hurt him. He was simply having a temper tantrum at being taken shopping rather than sitting watching the trains come and go at the station.
Not that I’d even been such a harsh mum to deny him any enjoyment at the station at all. We’d just spent 15 minutes there watching the train come in. (Yesterday we sat on the station platform four times too.) He wanted to wait for the train to leave again and wave it goodbye. I didn’t have half an hour to spare. I had to still buy tonight’s dinner and then pick up my daughter from her after-school club. Life doesn’t always work the way a 2-year-old would like it. It’s a tough lesson to learn. By the looks on some of your faces, I’m not sure if it’s a life lesson you’ve learnt yourselves. We didn’t come into the store in full voice just to spoil your day. It wasn’t my intention to bring him into the store kicking and screaming. We just happened to cross paths and I’d rather he wasn’t screaming so loudly too. Again, I’m really sorry. Still, there was no need for you to look at us with such utter disdain.
I agree, it wasn’t a pleasant noise. But count yourselves lucky. You only had to put up with his yelling and screaming for less than a minute at close range; I had it up close and deafening for the whole of our 15 minutes shopping experience (including queueing at the ‘express’ check-out) plus another onslaught for a good 30 minutes once we got home.
I’m not quite sure what you wanted me to do about it either. Disappear into a vortex? Believe me, if I could have I would have. Anything to have spared myself your looks of icy judgement. Unfortunately, the toddler tantrum has been a long-known phenomenon (quite possibly you used to have them yourselves – I believe we were all children once) but no one has yet found a fail-safe solution, especially when out in public. Personally I think I was doing quite well to remain calm and not join him in his shouting. That definitely would have given you something to raise your eyebrows about.
Maybe my son and I should simply remain inside at all times and I could do my shopping online in case we should ever offend anyone’s sensibilities? But that seems like a defeatist attitude to me. Most of the time there’s no problem. When there is, sometimes you just have to suck it up.
To the old lady who managed to smile at my son, thank you so much. If it wasn’t for you I would have left the store in tears.
To everyone else, I just want to let you know that my shopping experience was every bit as bad as yours. Actually, mine was possibly worse as you didn’t leave feeling utterly humiliated.
May we never have to meet again under such circumstances.
The Gluestick Mum