God loves us. Apparently.
Now, I’m no theologian, but if that’s true, why does ironing exist? Or the tele-sales industry? Or those supermarket trolleys with a kid’s car stuck on the front?
With one child, they’re great. With two…well, as soon as they see it you may as well just shoot yourself.
My daughter gets there first, straps herself in and stares grimly ahead like a pensioner who’s just cut someone up. My son’s agony is heart rending. He pounds the floor with his fists. The only sound my daughter makes is “No. Mine.”
After five minutes shopping my son wears me down and I, wisely and bravely, decide to swap my children over.
Ever seen an angry cat being rescued from a drain? My daughter hisses and flails and somehow manages to kick me in the head. My son dives in. My daughter slaps him square in the face. He doesn’t mind, he’s won. I drag her away as she tries to climb in through the windscreen and carjack him.
My daughter is not a reasonable person. She lies down in the central aisle and shouts abuse at god. I think that’s what she’s saying anyway. Walking away doesn’t work. Picking her up doesn’t work. The nice lady who tries to make her laugh is lucky not to get badly beaten by her. I make the brave, wise choice to swap them back again.
My son is devastated. “But we’re friends!” He pleads with me, tears streaming down his face. I have to spend several minutes hugging him. Meanwhile my daughter, in an astonishing turn around, decides she’s bored of the car and starts running up and down the aisles giggling. I start to feel like Nurse Ratchet.
My son gets back in the car. My daughter makes a break for the exit. I have to run after her. He runs after me. I grab my daughter, go back to the trolley, she takes the opportunity to get back into the car. This is too much for my son. He collapses, rolling around on the floor.
I stop. I have a parent moment. You know, that moment when yet again you realise you have no idea what you’re doing. I sigh. I gaze around. This place has everything, right? I wonder if they have a child-size straight jacket?
What did we do, God? Seriously?