Is early afternoon too early to start on the vodka shots? Because I need some form of Mommy's little helper right now, and since my doctor is one of those inconveniently modern-thinking types I'm unlikely score any legal supplies of Valium in the near future.
Yep, we've just got home after a morning of consumer hell.
Whatever possessed me to set foot in Waitrose on a Saturday morning I'm not sure. My only conclusion is that I am certifiably insane and my only comfort, if that is the case, is that I have a long stay in a very quiet room of my own to look forward to.
And as for flat renovation shopping... all I know is that I might possibly kill anyone who even mentions the word 'porcelain' to me ever again.
Imagine: pristine bathroom showroom, populated by grinning salesmen and West London's finest, not a child in sight. Then we come through the doors... one baggy-eyed wild-haired harrassed mother and two children engaged in full-volume grumbling; Firstborn because she has a "hurty scratchy thing sticking into my bottom" (it turned out to be the label on her knickers) and the Small(er) One in a screeching back-arching rage about the indignity of being strapped into the buggy.
I went in prepared. I had a list; a proper sort of list with dimensions and sketches and negotiation entry and exit points. But what I hadn't bargained for is to what extent two frisky and determined children can scupper the best laid plans.
Waiting for one of the many salesmen to stop looking busy and serve me was enough to bring me to simmering point. I don't dress up for Saturday shopping expeditions, there's not much point when being smeared with ice-cream and other toddler byproducts is inevitable, so I suppose my scruffiness was a bit of a turn-off for these shiny-suit-clad minions. I'm not totally insensitive, I can see where they're coming from on this one, but there came a point where being bypassed in favour of yet another smilingly smug couple (sans offspring) started to look like a pointed insult. Bear in mind that as I was tapping my feet and trying to catch the eye of each of the salesmen scurrying past me, Firstborn was busily trying to push the Small(er) One head first into a Victorian-style claw foot bath (don't think too badly of Firstborn for this ungentle activity, the Small(er) One was a more than willing participant).
Finally, just as I had managed to collar one of the salespeople - only achieved by literally grabbing his sleeve and refusing to let go - I realised that Firstborn had vanished. Oh My God. The Mummy Fear took hold, a frosty fist squeezing my beating heart. I scooped the Small(er) One up under my arm, rugby style, and raced around the showroom bellowing Firstborn's name at the top of my voice. A little voice piped up, "Here I am, Mummy. Over here!" Firstborn was eventually located in one of the bathroom displays, perched on a sleek white contemporary-style loo with her pants and knickers around her ankles.
Yes, Firstborn did a wee in one of the display lavatories.
We left quickly and I don't think we'll be going back there in a hurry.
So now we're home. The house is in the sort of state one would expect only in the immediate aftermath of a historical re-enactment of the Charge of the Light Brigade. The Small(er) One is expressing her creativity with a chewed-up carrot stick collage on the kitchen wall. Firstborn is in full-blown hysterics because she's just realised that she's not going to school today. There are three messages from Alpha Male asking if I bought the bathroom fittings because it's essential we get started on the new bathroom by Wednesday at the latest. Or what, may I ask? Hell will freeze over? A camel will fit through the eye of a needle? Jordan will be the next Prime Minister? All I know is that there is no way on Earth I will be taking the children to any kind of showroom - carpet, lighting, bathroom, kitchen, whatever - ever again.
Slay me for saying this, but I'm starting to think the Victorian attitude to child rearing was spot on.