What it's really like to shop with a baby in tow
It's 5pm in the middle of Aldi and our six-month-old shot-puts the only dummy she will take into the never-never, nowhere to be seen.
Awash with anxiety at the thought of no sleep without dear dummy, dad spends 30 minutes pacing the aisle looking for our only lifesaver at that time. Now, usually we'd forget it and go buy a new one because, eew, germs.
But the baby shop is shut and by this stage baby is losing it, when finally, dad spots it under a shelf. Unable to reach it, he turns around and right behind him in the special buys is a grip 'n' grab reacher. You wouldn't read about it, until here. Crisis averted.
I'll admit I used to cast a judging eye toward mums whose kids were out of control in the supermarket. Now I salute them.
The thought of taking kids grocery shopping is enough to give any parent grey hairs on the spot. It's usually out of necessity. The pantry is as arid as the Sahara Desert. A 10-minute whiz becomes a 45-minute expedition with a child in tow.
It takes lots of silly dancing and games of peek-a-boo to reach the checkout.
A toddler will eat a hole through your shopping list, coat-hanger an entire shelf of rice thins on to the floor from the trolley throne or frisbee the contents of your wallet across the aisle, all while you turn your back to grab a block of cheese.
It's even an offence to open the biscuits you intend to pay for to distract your hangry highness. Then, you see someone you know and notice your shirt's back to front. Ugh.
My neighbour, who has three under fives, hasn't set foot in a supermarket for three years. She saves the hassle and opts for online home deliveries.
Before child, I had no idea how much effort the once simple task of grabbing groceries with a grommet could be. Nor could I imagine the community of mothers willing to offer a hand, because hey, they've been there too.
One day, a mum saw me baby-wearing and working the shelves with one hand in a haste to get out of there. She offered to pushed my trolley.
On another occasion, I had another mother kindly offer to pack my groceries into bags because if you think the Aldi checkout is hectic enough when the cashier is swiping cans of beans at you like a game of tennis, try doing it with one hand and baby strapped to your chest.
Another kind lady once saw me wrangling the squirmy baby into a carrier and helped clip her in. Those small gestures can make a mum's day.