The Day Grandad Looked After the Children

I was asked to look after 6 of my grandchildren for a few hours, whilst the rest of the family went shopping, something the kids really hate doing. Well I’m with the kids on that one. “Yes that’s no problem, we’ll be fine”. I explain I have to call into the supermarket to pick up a couple of things. I line all 6 of them up and lay down the rules. “When we are in the supermarket, do not ask me for anything, do not poke the packages of meat in the butchery section, do not test the laws of physics and try to

take out the bottom can in the pyramid shaped display, do not play football with oranges in the Fruit and Veg. section, and most importantly, do not open packets and taste things”. OK, the troops have been briefed. It’s time to go. Once at the supermarket, they grab not one, but two shopping trolleys. I tell them, “We don’t need trolleys, as I only need 3 things”. This statement falls on deaf ears. The four younger ones clamber up and sit 2 at a time in each of the trolleys, whilst the two eldest push one

each, then they set off at a pace that Lewis Hamilton would struggle to keep up with, with me chasing after them. At this point, a woman looks at our two trolleys and asks me, “Are they all with you?” I answer good naturedly, “Yes”. “Oh my, you have your hands full.” “Yes, I do, but it‘s fun!” I say smiling. At this point I am still blissfully unaware of the events that are about to unfold. We begin in the Fruit and Veg. section where all these wonderfully, artistically arranged pyramids of fruit stand. There

is something so irresistibly appealing about the apple on the bottom of the pile, that a child cannot help but try to touch it. Much like a fly to a zapper, the child is drawn to this piece of fruit. I turn around to the sounds of apples cascading down the display and onto the floor. Like a captain of a cup winning team, there stands my grandson holding the all-consuming prize that he just HAD to get and gazing at me with this dumbfounded look as if to say, “Did you see that??? Wow! I never thought that would happen!” I give the offending child an exasperated sigh and say, “Didn’t I tell you, before we left, that I didn’t want you taking stuff from the bottom of the pile???” “No grandad, you said that you didn’t want us to take a can from the bottom of the pile. You didn’t say anything about apples”. With superhuman effort, I resist the urge to send him to the moon and instead focus on the positive – he had actually listened to me and remembered what I said!!! I make a mental note to be a little more specific the next time I give them The Supermarket Rules. OK, now onto the bakery section where everything smells so good, all I need is one unsliced loaf, I try to hurry past the assortment of pies, cakes, breads, and pastries that have my grandchildren drooling over. At this point the chorus of “Can we get” begins. “Can we get some cakes?” “No.” “Can we get doughnuts?” “No.” “Can we get those things filled with cream?” “No.” “Can we get pie?” “No.” You’d think they’d catch on by this point, but no, they’re just getting started. In the bakery, there stands a nice lady giving away free samples of coffee cake and of course, my gang all take one. The youngest decides he doesn’t like it and proceeds to spit it out in my hand. (It’s a strange thing but that’s what adults do. We automatically put

our hands in front of children’s mouths so they can spit stuff into them. We’d rather carry around a handful of chewed up coffee cake, than to have the child spit it out onto the floor. I’m not sure why this is, but ask any adult and they’ll tell you the same). Of course, there’s no rubbish bin around, so I continue shopping one-handed while searching for somewhere to dispose of the regurgitated mess in my hand. In the meat department, a lady with one small baby asks me, “Wow! Are all six with you?” I answer her, “Yes, but I’m thinking of selling a couple of them.” (Still searching for a rubbish bin at this point). By now the children’s attention spans are spent. They’re done with shopping at this point, but we aren’t even halfway through the store. This is about the time they start having shopping trolley races. While I’m searching the shop for the last item, (Why do supermarkets keep moving things around so it takes an hour to find what you want) the little darlings are running down the aisles, with the trolleys, in an effort to get us kicked out of the shop. I shout, no I ROAR at them, just as one of them is about to crash head on into a giant cardboard cut-out of Spiderman, who in turn, is surrounded by the latest Super-Duper breakfast cereal. They stop dead in their tracks. “It’s alright granddad, he’s not real, it’s only a cardboard Spiderman”. Agggh!

At long last I find somewhere to finally dump out the squishy contents of my hand. It wasn’t actually a rubbish bin, but one of the staff was shelf filling and had just emptied a cardboard box, so whilst he wasn’t looking, I dropped the coffee cake remains into the box. Just at this point one my grandchildren suddenly appears with two or three tissues in her hand, I gratefully accept them and wipe the remaining mess from my hands, putting the used tissues in the box as well. Hang on a minute……where did she get the tissues from? I go chasing after my little gang, round into the next aisle, just in time to see my dear grandson standing up in the trolley and stretching to put a freshly opened box of tissues right at the back behind all the unopened ones. RIGHT, now is the time for bribes. “If you all promise to behave yourselves you can go and choose one thing each, while I go and find the third and last thing that I need”. I look around and notice that the cereal aisle is completely empty of innocent bystanders, “Meet me next to the cornflakes in 5 minutes”. Of I go to search for my final item. I return to the agreed meeting point 5 minutes later, however I now have to wait for, what seemed to be, an hour and a half while the kids perused the various cereals, comparing the marshmallow and cheap, plastic toy content of each box. “Is this what you want” I ask them. “Yes grandad, there are some great toys in these”.

After a further ten minutes of checking various boxes, I put my foot down and tell them to choose now. Which surprisingly, they did. We now head off to the check-out with two trolleys laden with cereal packets. Just before we reach the check-outs, the passengers in the two trolleys climb out and when we actually reach them I have 6 angelic children walking as if they were a cathedral choir. “We’ll unpack the trolleys granddad and we’ll pack all the stuff into bags for you”. I can’t believe it, not three

minutes ago I had been dealing with a gang of 6 international terrorists, now I’m surrounded by cherubs. I step aside and soak up the admiring glances that I am receiving from all around me. I stand in a dream world feeling as proud as punch. “Excuse me sir, Excuse me sir” I am brought back out of my day dream by the lady on the till. “That’ll be £42-40” “WHAT” I say, no I didn’t say, I yelled. “HOW MUCH” I look down a see a solitary carrier bag. “£42-40 for one bag”. “No sir, there were 7 bags, but the children took the other six and they said to say that they will meet you outside” “BUT, BUT, BUT” I splutter. “Sir you are holding up the queue, that will be “£42-40 please” Out of the corner of one eye I notice and ever growing queue of people behind me getting more and more frustrated. Out of the corner of the other eye I notice a security guard and a man in a suit approaching. I quickly get out my wallet and hand over my credit card, punch in my PIN number, collect my receipt and hot foot it out of the store. Once outside I am faced with 6 smiling faces all shouting “Come on granddad, we’re all waiting for you. I notice that every one of my grandchildren are holding a carrier bag each, everyone of them is bulging with sweets, comics, cakes, plus of course, the cereal packets that I said they could have. I start to ask where all this lot came from. At this point the security guard approaches me “Excuse me sir” he says. All of a sudden my mind goes into overdrive thinking of excuses for what the children may have done. I turn around and notice that all the children have gone. “Oh no, what have they done now” I think to myself. “I believe this is your credit card, you left it at the checkout”. Oh what relief, no not at getting the credit card back, but to find out that nothing else untoward has happened. “Thank you very much” I reply. Just then I turn around to the sound of a car horn blaring and to see 6 shopping trolleys flying around the car park at breakneck speed, each one of them being pushed by one of my grandchildren. “You lot” yells the security guard, “leave those trolleys NOW”! Well they did leave them, they abandoned the trolleys, grabbed their plastic carrier bags and shot off with me in hot pursuit. Whilst running after them, I kept turning round to see if the security guard was following us, thankfully he wasn’t, as his time was taken up gathering all the abandoned trolleys. By now Frustrated, Exhausted, Sick to my stomach, we wind our weary way home. Arriving home, the eldest of my grandchildren makes me a cup of tea, sorts out the rest of the gang, by getting out various Videos, DVD’s and such like. I then realise that our little shopping trip had taken us the best part of 4 hours. I look around to see the whole of the floor area covered in Comics, Magazines, Sweets and the most angelic looking bunch of youngsters I have ever seen. My family arrive home and ask “Has everything been alright”? Six faces turn in unison to look at me. “Yes, brilliant, we had a great time” I say.

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