Shopping in Waitrose. 3yo chooses 'off the shoulder' style In fact off the shoulder, below the waist & off the hips We got some looks!
In the early days of each of our children's adoption we would scrutinise their mood closely before going shopping.
As time has gone on the need to do so has lessened. Or so I thought.
Our nearest town has two supermarkets. Waitrose and Aldi.
For those who don't know the brands (and there are a fair few people following this outside the UK). Waitrose is the quintessentially British Middle Class supermarket. Not the cheapest place. Packed with Kalamata olives, many and varied types of hummus, 'ripened vine fruits' rather than mixed fruit. The supermarket for the genteel. The well behaved. Those who conform.
Aldi is just a bit different. German owned. Unashamedly in the 'pile 'em high, sell 'em cheap' corner of the retailing world. Their products vary in quality from the superb to the, well, less good. The clientele is more mixed. A whole range of people stand trying to catch the items shoved past the scanner at a furious rate by checkout staff incentivised to speed customers through.
So, mood dependent, we would decide whether to brave Waitrose, where only the best behaviour would be tolerated. Or plump for Aldi where if the little darlings did decide to kick off their floor flailing, dervish like tantrums would most likely go completely unnoticed.
The weather has been beautiful for a couple of weeks now. As so often is the case in England, successive days of sunshine results in a steady climb in both temperature and humidity.
Such was the case by Thursday when our daughter and I braved the heat to go and complete some shopping for grandad.
Grandad will only accept products from Waitrose. So thence we went, braving not only the usual clientele, but an even more critical and challenging subsection of them. You see, Thursday is pension morning.
We should of course point out that pensions are now paid electronically into the recipients bank account. No more queues of elderly people at the Post Office on the allotted day to draw the cash due to them.
However, for many older people the habit of shopping on a Thursday, the traditional day upon which many weekly pensions were paid, remains.
Entering Waitrose we were presented with a sea of grey heads. Slowly, (oh, so slowly) methodically making their way through the aisles. Ladies in Summer cotton dress suits. Men in shorts and long socks. Pearls, walking sticks and hearing aids abounded.
Our daughter was already suffering from the heat. I could tell this when, as we reached the ice cream section, she opened one of the freezer doors and stood staring at a tub of rocky road.
"We don't need ice cream," I told her, moving on with the trolley.
"Not looking at ice cream, this is nice and cool," she called back.
One of the little old ladies smiled indulgently as she passed.
Further on, dodging around the blockades of chatting Grand Dames and randomly slewed floral shopping trolleys, we reached the cheese section.
The cheese section forms one of the rare open spaces in the store. Arranged around two sides the Fromagerie forms its own little amphitheatre in the store.
So, of course, it was here that our daughter decided the heat was getting too much for her. Wearing only a thin summer dress, walking next to me, she declared loudly, "it's too hot!"
"Daddy, I'm very hot!" She repeated, this time from just behind me as I reached for some cheddar. "Daddy!"
I turned to see her stripping her dress from her shoulders.
"No, sweetie, you can't take that off here!" I managed to reach her just as the dress reached her mid-drift. Clucking sounds erupted from the numerous elderly ladies around us.
I turned back to the cheese selection.
The hissing sound of air being drawn swiftly through clenched false teeth made me turn back again to the trolley, next to which our daughter remained standing, dutifully. In her pants. Her dress folded and placed on top of our shopping.
"See, much better!" She said.
Witnessed now by a gathering crowd of disapproval I managed to struggle our daughter back into her dress. However, not before she had turned to the nearest pair of sandals, socks and shorts. "Do you like my Peppa pants?" She asked, pointing dramatically at her underwear.
Of course, it could have been worse. Much worse.
Our then two year old daughter and I. Shopping in Waitrose. In the cosmetics aisle. Me in loose fitting gym shorts. She deciding to swing on my pockets which meant they fell swiftly around my ankles.
I still expect the CCTV footage to appear on a funny home video show any day.