Today, as I trooped through the supermarket with Miss Tornado Two in tow. I found myself (when not stressed out of my brain trying to stop the little darling from casing the joint) contemplating the difference between shopping with baby #4 to shopping when the first two babies were small.
Now, I'm not saying the first two were perfectly behaved. They weren't. But maybe I handled them better. Maybe I still viewed the weekly shop with optimism rather than stone, cold dread. I just seemed to get through with my sanity intact and a much calmer demeanour. Nowadays I leave the place sweating and silently cursing the sweet faced child before me.
With child #1, I would pack a little lunchbox filled with organic snacks for my cherub to munch on. My distraction methods seemed to work, she seemed genuinely interested in where eggs come from and how milk is made. Miss TT however, couldn't give two hoots. She wonders what the milk would look like all over the floor. What happens when you throw a carton of eggs in the trolley? 'I helping Mumma' she says as she pulls a glass container of coffee off the shelf.
When strapped into the trolley where all good toddlers in supermarkets should be, she kicks and screams 'I get out! she hollers 'I get out!'
So I do it....I reach into my handbag and I pull out the old standby, the fail-proof, the reliable.....my good friend the lollipop.
With my older children I wouldn't have dreamt of it. They would munch away on their sugar-free, organic rice crackers with gusto. Miss TT takes one look at 'rabbit food' and lets her distaste be made abundantly clear to anyone in the vicinity.
Some may call it bribery....I prefer incentive....incentive to sit down, be quiet, and let your poor Mother do the shopping in peace.