Sunday, March 15, 2009

Baby you can drive my car

This is the sort of thing that happens to me in France.

This afternoon we dragged ourselves off to the shops for one last time to stock up on cheap vino to take back to the UK and to purchase a few delicacies for dinner tonight. As the frog was cooking for everyone, this meant small tubs of meaty things and tins of duck in fat; all on a par with the embryo that fell out of the spud's boiled egg at tea but that's beside the point; I was eating some fennel and green beans thank you.

The local Carrefour (if Carrefours can ever be 'local'; I've never been in one that couldn't quite happily fit a fleet of 747s) has an array of the below contraptions laid out temptingly right by the entrance. These are shopping trolleys disguised as cars: crack for little boys, in other words.

We dished out our 2 euro coins (now, distressingly worth a whole £2) and the spud clambered happily in however things went wrong fairly quickly. The trolley is a normal four-wheeler with a three-wheel Robin Reliant tacked onto the front. Crucially however, the car part has four fake wheels which spin uselessly in mid-air as you push the thing along. This, it seems, was Not Right.

First, the spud leant dangerously out of the car and started spinning the wheels, complaining that they were broken. He sat back down, still complaining because amazingly, it wasn't a Real Car and the frog hared off to another part of the shop where he wasn't being stalked by a madwoman and her screaming root vegetable. The the minute he rounded the end of the aisle, the spud started kicking off in earnest. First he thrashed about a bit in the car, whinging that he didn't want it anymore and threatening a screaming fit while I did that useless Mummy shushing noise. Then, he stood up with his head through the windscreen and started screaming that he wanted to get out. More importantly, I could see that his nose was running everywhere. We were attracting attention.

I dove into my bag for a wipe and he chose that particularl point to duck back down and make a break for it out of the door which had usefully been screwed shut. As I dug ever more frantically in my bag I saw him launch out and land on his face and then have hysterics in front of an enormous knot of elderly Frenchwomen. They immediately advanced on us clucking and oh-la-la-ing and giving me generally filthy looks as even though I had picked up the spud and was making the right sort of noises. I was still digging in my bag, clearly for a lipstick or perhaps a waft of perfume and had suddenly lost all command of French, leaving me totally defenseless.

It wasn't until I produced a wipe and started dabbing at his face that they backed off muttering darkly about Les Anglaises and I realised why they were so anxious. You see, yesterday in the playground he had fallen off a ride and done this:

...and we had brought him out in public to frighten the locals.

All was not over however as once his tears were dry he insisted on lying on the floor like a mechanic to check the wheels, rolling around in front of our bemused audience who were clearly at this point adding up the germ count. He refused to get back in, necessitating forceful migration into the trolley amidst all the wine, a move he reacted to by hitting me repeatedly.

I want my Good Mother badge now, please.

By the way, this is the state of the croissants today. I have eaten one. One.


Jonny's Mommy said...

I think I'm addicted to your blog. I swear, usually I'm not on this often on a weekend, but daddy and son are watching some Superhero cartoon and that's left me with some free time. Which is nice, considering I've been suffering through an incredibly annoying toothache tonight. Argh! Well, anyhow, I just had to comment on how funny this post was and how I could just picture those ladies all flustered, thinking you had let your kid bash his head in right there in the super market. And is it just me, or do 2-year olds always throw these fantastic fits in front of everyone in God's green earth? I mean, they throw fits at home, but the big ones...yeah, they save them up for public.

Looks, by the photo of the croissants, that Frog may be on a diet next week. :-)

Have you seen this man? said...

Hey Sparx! Just wait till you've got two spuds or a whole bag full! Then you really earn your Good Mummy Badge!

Helen + ilana = Hi said...

I once left the dreaded Walmart with a screaming, snot spraying Hair One tucked under my arm like a football; legs and arms flailing.

And why do you ask??????????

Because the steering wheel on the shopping cart car didn't turn the wheels.

In one year and 3 months he will be eligible to drive MY car........

And big enough to tuck me under his arm when I throw a fit about it!

Rose said...

OOOhh don't get me STARTED with those Bloody Awful, Evil Carts!!! They are outside every grocery store in greater Seattle, regardless of whether they can fit through the aisles, and they don't cost a thing, so I can't even plead broke. Lauren starts up a whine before we've even turned into the parking lot, as soon as she thinks we might be shopping. Yes, just wait til there's two of them, one significantly larger than the other, who both want to ride, pretty much on top of each other. It's not pretty. I don't have a grocery list longer than 10 items these days, and the last half is optional, depending on the screaming and humiliation I feel I can take that day.

Michelle said...

What drama! Glad to know that I am not alone in experiencing toddler meltdowns in public.

Anonymous said...

Bless, glad to hear you susvived the drama! I don't usually take my 5 year old to supermarkets anymore. She is past the stage of making a scene but I tend to get very worked up when she constantly demands new toys and chocolate, and I end up making a scene myself!

Sandrine said...

Hi Sparx,
Croissants and Pains au chocolat, my favorites! Especially with warm Chocolat au lait. :0)
One time,I had to leave "Dandy Bear" (game place) with my oldest daughter yelling, on my shoulder, with everybody watching,like I was kidnapping her.It is now on the list of the"I will never go again by myself with all the kids"places!
Take care.

Rob Clack said...

Such a pleasure not to have children/grandchildren. All I do is stare accusingly at anyone whose child makes a noise!

Jen said...

All I can say is "Thank You". After the weekend we had, my husband is convinced that Dylan is the ONLY 2 year old child who ever gives his parents any trouble. I will have him read this immediately!

Buck said...

Bravo! Yr bravery in the face of a gaggle of elderly condescending french women is laudable. AND that you did not succumb to the all soothing mountain of croissants is well beyond words... I can only say Bravo!

Sparx said...

Jonny's Mommy - glad it seems funny now... wasn't so funny at the time! Great to see you on a weekend too!

HYSTM - Two spuds!! Wouldn't that e great...

Helen - I can completely believe that... and he's nearly old enough to drive? Heavens!!!

Rose - Oh cous... holy cow. Those things are both great and evil, I think... once the spud settled down it was heaven...

Michelle - I think it was written in the toddler owners manual 'Will have meltdowns in public'...!

Rosiescribble - you mean it doesn't get easier? What have I DONE??

Sandrine... yes, that's the trouble with good play areas, leaving is a nightmare. Pain au chocolat!!

Rob - oh so that was YOU in that Carrefour!!!

Jen - You Are Not Alone!!

Buck - thank you my dear, I bow in acknowledgement.

Wikiplugs - despite the fact you are a spammer I will perhaps have a look.