Last week I celebrated a major achievement. No, we haven’t finally moved house. I haven’t managed to get my fussy toddler to eat broccoli, and I certainly haven’t climbed Kilimanjaro (although it often feels like it come bedtime). Nope, my friends, I managed to ‘pop out’ to the post office with my 24m and six month old.
*bows to rapturous applause*
‘How did she do it?’ I hear you cry.
A week’s worth of preparation
It turns out, sending birthday presents requires almost a week of pre-planning when you’ve got two kids.
Day 1: I had to abandon my first attempt when I realised I’d left the wrapping paper in G’s room during nap time. Rustling around in cupboards and sleeping toddlers do not mix. Instead, I wrapped presents that evening once the kids were in bed.
Day 2: I forgot I’d booked an online shop so we had to stay in. Otherwise I’d have had to cancel the slot, and ‘popping out’ to the post office would have become popping out for formula and nappies, too – i.e. not popping out.
Day 3: This is the day the presents SHOULD have arrived if only I’d managed to do everything on Day 1. Mission abandoned as G wouldn’t nap at her usual time, and I wouldn’t dare wake her once she’d finally settled.
Day 4: The Popping Out Angels were on my side. Parcels were wrapped and waiting in bags in the car (put there two nights previously). Toddler and baby (miraculously) napped at the same time and woke up at 3pm. I managed to give R his bottle and by 3.30 we were ready to go. Yey, let’s do this!
Our flat is sandwiched between two primary schools. Which meant we’d never be able to get down the street without G picking up a few choice swear words and me losing a wing mirror (again).
So, I had 15 minutes to kill. Knowing that starting a new activity would make it nigh on impossible to convince G to leave, I did what any other experienced parent would do. I gave her a
really healthy snack packet of Pom Bears. Ahhh the bribes you resort to as parents.
Completing the mission
The coast was finally clear, so we made our way down the 42 stairs from our flat to the car. This typically involves me carrying R in a sling on my front, a rucksack of baby crap on my back and balancing G on my hip. Now you see why every day is like climbing Kilimanjaro (we soooooo need to move!)
I managed to wrestle the kids into the car, by-passing the neighbour’s cat, which could have fatally scuppered our ‘pop out’ attempt, and off we drove.
Of course the sod’s law of parking meant there were no spaces outside the post office, so I had to park around the corner and get out the buggy for R (I’m still not at ease holding G’s hand when R’s in the sling on the high street), then off we
marched dawdled, stopping outside M&S for five minutes to say hello to a dog.
We finally made it!
I’ve never been to the post office without G being strapped into a buggy, so I knew I had to make it as fun as possible to
stop her pulling everything off the shelves keep her entertained while I packed and labelled up three parcels. You know those gushing mums who exaggerate how fun everything is? That was me. “Ohhh look G, this is where we put the address so the postman knows where to send it to. Do YOU want to help mummy…? Ohhh look at how well you’re helping mummy….”
Thankfully the post office was empty for once and G enjoyed putting the gifts in the envelopes. And taking them all back out. And in. And out. Then she liked scribbling on the envelopes with my pen, as I tried to prise it out of her hand with a half crazed ‘this-is-about-to-go-t*ts-up-but-I’ll-pretend-I’m-in-control’ smile on my face.
Finally, we made it to the counter and G wanted to be lifted up to see the man. She’s not the shy, retiring type, put it that way. The lovely man behind the glass kept G amused as she proceeded to pass him all the strips from the peel and seal envelopes that she’d swiped off the floor and into her little handbag earlier (the one she now insists on carrying EVERYWHERE). I’d better keep a close eye on that one in the shops.
Quit while you’re ahead
Parcels were successfully despatched, G was pretty well in check and, at this point, any novice mum might have easily been fooled into thinking she could pop into M&S for some milk on her way back to the car.
SO WHAT WAS I THINKING?????
G wanted to sit in the trolley, then wanted to be down. Then screamed when I wouldn’t let her out. This was when I realised she was probably getting hungry. What a difference ten minutes makes. The sweet little old ladies who normally coo over my kids in their double buggy were suddenly nowhere to be seen. I dumped the milk and made a beeline for the car.
When we got home, I realised it was 5.30 (yes, that’s two hours since we’d left the house. How is that even possible???) and there were dirty dishes and piles of laundry everywhere, thanks to my eagerness to get out. I heated up an emergency toddler meal which G
wolfed down refused to eat, as usual.
Then suddenly (early!), in walked papa, to find both toddler and baby kicking off and the flat looking like a bomb site. You know those images from the 1950s where the wife greets her husband at the door with a G&T, a home-cooked meal and an oasis of calm? Well, that wasn’t this (it never is).
“What do you mean you just popped out to the post office?”
I couldn’t even explain how or why it took that long. It just did. All I know is that I need to start thinking of sending my Christmas presents now, mid November, if I’ve got any hope of getting them there on time.
What are the five minute jobs you now find impossible since becoming a parent?