It is the place guaranteed to reveal any flaws (any flaws whatsoever) in your parenting skills. The place in which, if you enter in a lighthearted I'm A Mummy And Aren't I Doing A Great Job mood, you will be crying and trying to sell your children to any shopper that dares show an interest by the end. The supermarket (or child market as I prefer to call the bit near the exit) is the place that Super Nanny always takes the parents and Very Bad Child at the beginning and end of the programme. A before and after shot, if you will, designed to show that ordinary parents Fail at the supermarket, and anything they Fail at will be highlighted here in a way that no other situation can show. By the end (shot at the same time as the beginning in different clothes with the children on Benylin? You decide), said Very Bad Child has become Reasonably Good Child, but only because mummy/daddy has engaged them in several highly intelligent games involving helping with the shopping. Now, I don't know about you, but I always make it a point to have a peek into the parent's shopping trolley at the end of the scene. It's nearly always empty, if there is anything, it is Jammy Dodgers, Dairy Lea Unmentionables or Barbie/Postman Pat spaghetti. In other words, things the parents have said yes to just so that the cameraman can get the shot and they can all go home. Anything else they may have wanted to buy has had to go by the wayside, simply because they were all too busy playing those stupid games to actually get around to buying anything.
Have you ever devised a Super Nannyesqe shopping game? I'll save you the trouble and tell you about mine. It took two hours of pre preparation at home, making and colour coding the chart (pink for Isla, blue for Jack - I have no imagination or issues about genderising the future population), another half an hour to get said chart into the car and away from the children who wanted to play it now. I then had to find a shopping trolley with two seats, one small enough for a one year old and one large enough for a four year old, Isla refused to walk you see as the chart game was a lot more fun than walking. We then spent a fruitful hour perusing the aisles looking for any of the things that Mummy had drawn on the chart and ticking them off. And here lay the flaw, neither child can read so the drawings were all they had to go on, and Mummy can't draw (do you see where I'm going with this), well Mummy can draw some things, but not can of coconut milk/smoked haddock/hair gel, so we ended up with a trolley of Jammy dodgers/Dairylea unmentionables/barbie and postman pat spaghetti, anything to end the chart game. Once the last unintelligible picture had been ticked off by each of them, I cheered wildly in the aisles, congratulated them both on a good job! lifted Isla from the trolley and proceeded to attempt my usual shop, just an hour later than usual.
Jack sat, gurgling and dribbling while trying to eat the trolley, bending double to get to just the right angle to cut his lip/lose a tooth, while Isla skipped beside me shouting slogans about why I should buy Cillit Bang/Philadelphia/Liletts and pointing helpfully at things we had no use for and suggesting we buy them. The only hairy moment was Isla disappearing, lost in tune, flapping her arms like wings, the sound of I feel like chicken tonight floating over the toilet roll aisle. But I had an answer to that; I steered them both skillfully to the cake aisle and let them choose whatever they wanted, anything that would get me round the supermarket without embarrassment or having to shout. Ha! One in the eye Super Nanny I thought, all your years of 'experience' and a cake would have done the trick just as well, and you could have filmed the before and after shot in a few hours. Cue scene with no cake and crying children, cut to scene with cake and biddable, quiet children. Job Done. And I didn't even try to sell them at the exit. Now where's my television contract?
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