Today I found myself stood at the checkout a broken man, my hollow eyes staring into the abyss (or whatever Tesco call their café).
Around my ankles a battle ensued. Power Ranger versus Sonic. Cucumber versus swinging bag of carrots.
Shoppers looked on incredulously, clearly thinking,
“Surely you’re going to do … something?”
So I did. I shrugged my shoulders. You see this fight had been lost many aisles ago.
It hasn’t always been like this.
Last half-term the three of us skipped through the town centre holding hands. The Mancunian Von Trapps. A vision of resplendent smugness.
But that was then. Today, and for the first time in public, I’d well and truly lost control.
It all started in the precinct. They’d bolted in opposite directions and were lying flat on their backs on the pavement, eyes closed, playing dead.
Concerned onlookers who bent over them were met with a loud,
Eventually I rounded them up after a prolonged game of One Man and his Feral Children.
Once in the supermarket they thought ‘why walk when you can slide on your knees!’
Nothing I said stopped them. Polite requests became threats, threats became pleas, pleas became outright sweet bribery.
“If I have to tell you again…”, repeated over, and over, and over … I really do need to come up with an end to that sentence.
They blatantly ignored me, instead taking it in turns to walk slower so they could continue sliding behind my back.
There was a brief moment of amusement to be taken from Sonny’s panic-stricken face when he over-committed on a newly polished aisle and slid way past me before crashing into a shopping trolley.
It was very brief. Before I’d had a chance to berate him for the umpteenth time I caught sight of Luca juggling pears. Juggling pears like the three year-old non-juggler he is.
The Kung Fu started at the bread counter. We didn’t need bread but this was where I finally cornered them after a game of chase that had started five aisles away by the milk.
My constant reprimands barely registering, blinded by the basket of consumable weaponry I was now carrying.
After finally paying for our battered fruit and veg Luca broke free from my grip once again, this time running head first into a swinging sign. I say swinging, to be fair to him I thought it was a swinging sign too. It wasn’t.
Dazed and confused he staggered back to howls of laughter from Sonny.
“Do it again Luca”, he baited.
So he did. Twice. It was like Hole in the Wall less the hole.
They finished with a game of ‘how many ways can you say’,
There’s more than you care to imagine. Way more. Like 15 minutes more! Boonana. Banini. Banoona … how many do you want, I’ve hundreds!
In fact enough for an entire queue at the lottery desk. And then Boots. Made worse by the poor couple unfortunate enough to share both queues with us, their initial amusement quickly descending into utter despair.
In an attempt to break the mental torture I let them help me at the cash machine. Something I immediately regretted when they turned my pin number into a song to be sang at the top of their voices all the way back to the car.
Is post Tesco stress disorder a recognised condition? Well it is now, I’m suffering from it!
I’m also thinking our daily shop may need to become a weekly one until they’re back at school. Ordered online and delivered.
In the meantime I’m off for a lie down. Just as soon as I’ve changed my pin number. Again.