The thing I have come to learn about the human type that come with dangly bits (aka males) is that they need to be trained. The younger you can start them the better, but that said I have had some great successes with the more mature kind as well.
Now the use of the word training sounds a little sexists doesn't it? But trust me on this one as 'training' was way better than some of the other words I came up with like manipulated, coerced, and brainwashed. For all intensive purposes let's stick with 'training' shall we?
There are many areas that males can be effectively trained in and I may very well decide to explore more of these with you down the track, but if you are an avid shopper like me who likes to notch up a few hours here and there wandering through shops and markets looking for inspiration and bargains, then it is imperative that you get on to this particular type of training asap.
Sure you could fly by the seat of your pants and just wing it, but generally I find that as soon as I mention the word shopping my hubby suddenly has lawns to mow, cars to clean and grouting that needs to be bleached. Ok he doesn't really bleach the grout but you kinda get the drift right? More often than not, the kids have to come with me on my shopping expeditions.
So the hubby has racked off suddenly very busy like and you are faced with company on your shopping trip - what does a gal do?
Well you can bribe, you know the drill - good behaviour whilst Mummy shops means you have a greater chance of (maybe, perhaps, possibly, we'll see), getting one of those disgusting sherbet clown ice-creams or spider sodas when I am finished.
You can try the fear factor and point out random cleaners and janitors and tell the kids that they are secret agents employed by the CIA (Christmas Intelligence Agency) to report back on naughty kids to the big guy in the fluffy red PJs.
Just make sure you tell the kids these agents only speak North Polish and don't understand a word of English, otherwise they will follow the poor cleaners around harassing them for skateboards and Pokemon cards to be added to their wish lists. You could end up being kicked out of the joint or mysteriously run out of toilet paper when you visit the bathrooms!
On the subject of the CIA, you were aware that between the months of May to January all light fittings and security cameras worldwide are used by the International Santa Cam Network to track the behaviour of children right? Good! So you will also then know and will remind your kids of course that all the images and data is collected and sent back to the pole for analysis.
Oh and by the way, the Easter Bunny has just renewed his contract and rents the camera network for his own intelligence collection between the months of March and April. He wanted February as well, but the cameras need to close down for annual maintenance and the operators need to take some annual leave. The cleaners and janitors pull double shifts during this period.
If you know what shops you want to go to and you know you are going to be pretty quick, you could try giving your munckins 5 bucks* each to play along with your charade and deposit them at the Centre Management office and tell the staff they are lost kids. (*note older children may need a few extra dollars to be convinced).
If you remind the kids to cry a little, they usually get ice-cream or a lolly pop from the kind people for their efforts. Worth noting!
Just a remember that by the third call over the loudspeaker for the parents of these lost children to please come to Centre Management, your free time is pretty much up and its a race between you and child protection services as to who gets to the kids first, so don't debate over whether that Louen Hide handbag is a bargain or not - just buy the damn thing and run.
If you're lucky there will be a different staff member on duty when you pick them up. If not don't panic, just blame poor eyesight, new unfamiliar haircuts and a mild case of amnesia for forgetting they were your own flesh and blood, grab the kids and get the hell out of there.
A fresh Cappuccino and a thank you card left on the counter is a generally a great distraction and buys you a few extra minutes for your escape. Pulling the fire alarm just before you go in to get them could also work, but is probably a little radical.
If all else fails, you can generally find a couple of spare seats at a table in a cafe with all the other abandoned husbands, partners and kids. If you approach one with a couple of kids and offer to pick up their tab and provide them with your mobile number in case of emergency you can usually convince them to watch your kids for you for 30 minutes or so.
Just joking, I wouldn't leave my kids with strangers.
They are fine to sit there by themselves and busk or play their iPods.
***Disclaimer: Please don't call Docs, This is mostly all tongue in cheek and I really am a semi decent Mum who rarely needs to resort to any of the tactics above as my lovely husband
What techniques do you employ to ensure good behaviour when you take the kids shopping?
Or how do you con your other half to mind them whilst you duck out on your own?
Just a reminder I also have 3 fabulous giveaways running at the moment.
Have you entered yet?