Thursday, 2 April 2009

And I must sort that paypal

Tiger has worn three drearily monotonous purple velour dresses almost constantly now for several months. When she peels those dresses off at night I stuff them at the bottom of the laundry basket so I can claim they are still in the wash. After a day or so she will drag them out in all their stinking vileness or, if I win, she will locate the two broken down tee shirts and the pink leggings with the hole in the gusset and threaten to come back later for the dresses because now she knows where I hide them.

Admittedly Tiger does not come from a family of snappy dressers. I sink to three pairs of jeans to wear in rotation, one of which I sometimes sleep in and the others which walk clockwise about the kitchen of their own accord propelled by dirt fuel and steered by ten years ingrained habit.

But we have to do something. Because soon Tiger is away to sit on the back of a horse in a field. She is to do this for an entire week of boarding and will of course be locked in with the Lucillia Hitherington-Smythes of this world who doubtless will sport the finest country jodhpurs. Unless I act quickly Tiger will wear a purple velour dress with the front still melded together from a craft activity that went badly wrong in 2006. We will be social outcasts, excluded from garden parties we are never invited to anyway and all my social dreams and aspirations of marrying Tiger off to a minor member of the aristocracy will be sunk.

But while I clothes shop with Tiger, what can I do with Shark and Squirrel?

Dig of course isn't here. That would be useful because then I would have a child minder, albeit one who doesn't budge from his office chair. Well the children don't mind about that because when they are trashing the rest of the house they can do it undisturbed.

But I have a real fear of shopping with any child of mine near me, let alone all three. I set out with a list of things I want to do and after five minutes the only thing I want to do is come home. The worst is when I took Squirrel shopping for a week's supply of groceries and came back clutching two pineapples. I think the involuntary twitching may suggest it has risen to the level of phobia.

Of course I know people do it and I do not know how. You have my total admiration. And let me say I do not mind shopping near your child, because when your child throws themselves to the floor or hangs off the rails screaming like a banshee I can step over and round them. No problem. Just if mine do it then I can use words like mortified, humiliated, never again, now we have to emigrate to escape the shame.

But urgent action is required. I cannot shop online. That would be sensible and convenient. And the paypal thing is all wonky and I do not have three weeks to fix it.

So I need to plan. If I am organised, I can do anything. First I try and minimise the number of children in my care. I dump Squirrel at her gym lesson with instructions to wait because we will be late. Then I make straight to Tesco kid's clothes department with Shark and Tiger. Tesco is ideal. Tiger, unlike Shark, will wear pink, and Tesco has a lot of pink.

Tesco's pink is heaven if you are a Tiger. If you are a Shark who has seen it last week, then it is hell and you can declare this loudly, along with expressions like Tesco pisses me off in earshot of the floor manager. I tell Shark somewhere there is a blue dress, see if you can find it. Then with only one child left I run down the aisles grabbing all the pink age 9-10 I can find.

Now fortunately Tesco do not bother with stupid limits like 4 garments in a changing room. If they did I would be writing this from a prison cell, because I stack about 30 garments into a changing room along with a Tiger before running off in panic to make sure Shark is occupied in her challenge and has not been abducted by the truancy patrol, the store detectives or a concerned adult seeking vulnerable children to console by suggesting they come outside and help find a lost kitten.

Once I snatch Shark back from the fingers of the police, wardens and crazoids from the pages of the Daily Mail, then we hang around outside the changing rooms where I intermittently shout are you alright? and hope Tiger answers and not the old lady trying on the windcheater.

Now this process of a child alone in a changing room is so open to error and fraught with tension I tap out the words on this keyboard knowing my blood pressure is rising to 4,500 over 2,100. But through much pain and misery and sacrifice on my part I have reached an accommodation. It is that I do not see Tiger getting in and out of clothes but I can see clothes that are on her or on the floor. Thus there is much shouting of are you ready yet? and banging open and shut of a changing room door over the next hour while we identify a complete range of wardrobe items suitable for sitting on the back of a horse in a field for an entire week.

Two hours later we have reached the nearest state of perfection we can attain without a bottle of brandy, and that is four pairs of identical pink trousers, three pairs of identical purple velour tracksuit bottoms, four identical pink tops and five identical white fleeces.

So now it all comes down to this.

Dig, if you are reading this blog somewhere as you wander between hotel rooms complaining about the room service, when you come home on Saturday, you had better say how lovely Tiger looks in her pink outfit and what a big thank you is owed to mama for all her hard work and that her new wardrobe is sure to fit well with Lucillia Hitherington-Smythe and that she will have a lovely time on the back of a horse in a field. Yes. You had better say that. Or I will change the locks.


mamacrow said...

i'm sure it will be fine! That was a hurculean effort on your part and I can't imagine her being any better kitted out unless she was sponsered by team puffa or something :p

and from one horse obessive to another - have a great time Tiger!

and yeah - sort the paypal. makes life SO MUCH EASIER.

mamacrow said...

oh and not every child will be in 50 pairs of the bestest jodphurs and personalisd tweeds. I scraped by annually on a couple of faded sale items and a cheep fleece from down the market and I wasn't the only one by any means!

Mamma Po said...

Thank heavens for Tesco! I think I know the purple velour trousers you mean. I bought the matching jacket with sparkly logo-thing for mine.

Sometimes (mostly, actually) the hugeness and vastness of Tescos really scares me but there are times when it's the only place to go. Obviously, I'd much prefer to wander down my local high street with my rattan shopping basket and choose each potato, carrot and pear whilst chatting amicably with the jolly greengrocer. But as a mother of 2 small ones - youngest of whom screams if he is cooped up in a shop for longer than 30 seconds, a supermarket becomes something of a necessity. By the time Little 'un kicks off I can race down an aisle, grab a handful of stuff and be off before we've deafened too many fellow shoppers.

Plus some of Tesco's clothes are really quite nice. And don't break the bank. They even did a nice line in cashmere over Christmas. My guilty secret...

Wife in Hong Kong said...

Hello Grit!
Thanks for popping by. I came over and am riveted (does that have two ts?) I', looking forward to reading more.

kellyi said...

Did you get horsey stuff from Tesco? Our monster sized store down the road has a horsey section which I am always trying to run past before dd starts whinging for jodphurs/ grooming kits/ chaps etc.

The Gossamer Woman said...

You've managed quite well, Grit and you did it all in one hour without needing a bottle of beer. Those days are long behind me now and I can hardly remember what it was like, but that's probably because I sent my ex shopping with our daughter, because they didn't like the sales racks like I did and have a stupor over them. I said, "Fine, then you shop with her!" It worked out well and left me sane, although they had expensive tastes. But it was not my worry anymore.

Mud in the City said...

If it is anything like Pony Club in my day (aeons ago) smart was passe and everyone coped very well with precisely 2 changes of clothes (made up of 2 jodhs, 2 shirts and a sweatshirt).

Although we did have to take one non-horsey outfit so that we could sneak into the local swimming baths once a week for a wash.

There was no running water. Except for the nags.

Grit said...

mamacrow, only people who have to clothe children truly understand what hard work it is. i am sure you are right about the down dressing. i hope shabby chic is still in.

you are right mammapo; sadly we can be in / out of a supermarket and fully equipped in a fraction of the time than the rattan version with kids pushing each other into the gutters.

hi wife in hk, you are welcome!

wow kelly! horse section. i shall start searching now for one close to us. but because tesco are evil empire builders i will kick myself while i'm looking.

irene, the word 'sale' has a mysterious hypnotic effect, doesn't it? there is bound to be something there for us. it is destiny.

mud, i am sure you are right about this. i have a feeling in my bones that tiger's bum is not going to touch bathwater for a week.

mamacrow said...

i remember coming home from guide camp and horsey camp and my parents thinking my teeth looked really clean - it was merely the tan (usually rust, judging by the weather) that made 'em look so by contrast... i barely cleaned them all week... way too busy grooming etc.

read a 'ways to prepare for parenthood' thing once... one was 'buy an octopus and a string bag. put the octopus in the string bag so that no legs are hanging out any holes. Do it in under five minute.'

oh yeah, I thought!

Grit said...

just ONE octopus?!