I find I shop better when angry. There's no messing around.
So after dropping off my screaming not-quite-three-year-old at child care this morning, I storm off to do the grocery shopping.
The beauty of shopping mad is that you make no unnecessary product comparisons, weighing up the unit price versus brand reputation.
There's no aimless wandering down needless aisles. No gaily spinning the trolley in circles to 'The Gambler' by Kenny Rogers.
Just hardcore shopping.
Pensioners look alarmed as I approach. Shelf stackers eye me suspiciously.
Mums with toddlers on leashes pull them nearer, lest I run over them. (TIP: Never put your child on a leash. Just think about it.)
Just as I was calming down a little, my trolley rattling with this week’s bargain of 10 little tins of tuna in olive oil for $10, who should I almost bump into at the end of an aisle? A dad bounding around the supermarket with a newborn happily bobbing about on his chest in one of those baby carriers.
This annoys me on a number of levels. Most superficially, those baby carriers smack of showing off. ‘Look at my new baby. And look at me. I’m a modern dad bonding with my child.’ Plus he wasn’t pushing a trolley. 'I’m just popping out for a couple of items, honey!' And to put on a show.
On a practical level, chest mounted baby carriers are not suited for the long haul. I’d be surprised if this dad was still bouncing on the balls of his feet in half an hour's time. More likely holding his aching back as he hobbles towards the doctor's surgery.
Nor are these carriers any good if you have a big baby. Anything over 10 pounds on the old scale and after two trips to the shops, he’ll have that baby carrier posted for sale online quicker than he can say 'skinny decaf soy latte please'.
I’m probably being a bit harsh on the poor sod. In a few months’ time he’ll be shattered from no sleep.
And in a few years’ time, he’ll be shattered from three years of no sleep on top of dealing with toddler tantrums, toilet training and the latest medical advice that anything more than two standard drinks a day is dangerous to your health.
Being woken up at 4.30am every day by your screaming not-quite-three-year-old is dangerous to your health, but I don’t see any public health campaigns about that.
As you can see, I was already pissed off at The Big Fella for waking at 4.30am for the 7th consecutive day. This morning I tried patting him for a while, lying slumped at the foot of his bed, in the forlorn hope he might fall back asleep.
After much twisting and turning, several monologues about what scared him (“spiders, bats, tomatoes”) and questions about “what are we doing tomorrow?” (he means today), by 5am I decided we may as well get up and face the day.
At least standing up I can make coffee and leave a message on my chiropractor's answering machine for an emergency appointment.
As we attempt to leave the house for child care, he cries about putting on sunscreen (yeah, old news). He cries about getting in the car. He cries about putting on his seatbelt. He cries about being in the car. He cries about getting out of the car. And he cries about going inside the childcare centre.
By the time he was crying about me leaving, well I just had to leave and not look back. Hence the angry shopping trip.
And hence me taking the piss out of the bloke with the newborn baby carrier. It really is a wonderful time, buddy. Enjoy it while you can.
TIP: Don’t buy a new baby carrier. Just borrow a friend’s, as it will be barely used. In fact, avoid buying new pretty much everything your toddler needs, except maybe food. They really don’t know the difference. Invest the savings in their university fund, or buy a new widescreen TV.
The Complicated One marching around the house singing the national anthem. He and The Big Fella learnt the words at childcare. He usually asks Sherrie and I to join in, so the four of us march around the house singing “Australians all let us rejoice…” Heaven knows what the neighbours think.
Not so loving….
Thinking less-than-flattering thoughts about the new dad with the baby carrier. I must be more tolerant. Poor sod.