Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Ikea with children. Just don't.

There is something about Ikea that induces a level of anxiety in me that is just not natural. I don't know what it is. I like the place. I like the products. We have a lot. Unfortunately, we needed more. Need is an exaggeration but there was a deal in May that I wanted to use. 

There were five things on the list. One required me to go to the spare parts desk, the other four were all in the market hall. We didn't even need to go to the display floor. It should have been a stealth mission. In and out. 

It was not. 

I knew things weren't looking good. We went to the toy library on the way. This usually takes about twenty minutes but just as we were ready to leave, the nice lady said to the children, "Would you like to stay for storytime?". Like moths to light, they all flocked into the story room. It was great. Everyone had a fantastic time. 

Unfortunately it meant we were over an hour behind schedule. 

We pretty much had to drive directly past our house between the toy library and Ikea. I had the opportunity to abort. I decided to push through. Wrong decision. 

Upon arrival in the car park, "Mum, I need to go to the toilet." 
"Ok that's fine, we'll go in a minute." 
"No, I'm busting. I need to go right now." 
I'd taken the other two to the toilet while we were at the toy library. Apparently I should have reminded Miss 4 as well.

She was panicking. It wasn't good. She really was busting. I had a pretty good car park. I only had to do the hold one, drag one shuffle for about 50 metres. We got to the bottom of the escalators. 

Miss 4 does not like escalatorsI cross my fingers in hope that her need to wee will make her forget her need to worry about the escalators. She looks up at me. She sees I have the boys in my arms. She tells me she's really busting again. I say we have to go up the escalators. She says ok. We do it.

Everyone has a go at using the toilet and we find a trolley. We're back on track. Just terribly behind schedule. First stop is the spare parts desk. We wait 15 minutes. This isn't good. It's basically lunch time. Have you ever noticed that there are pictures of food throughout Ikea? My children did. They are pointing every single one out. Every. Single. One. They need to eat. 

Finally we actually get to do the shopping part. I'm winding the child-filled trolley through the market hall like a professional rally driver. I feel like I could be on some kind of reality tv show. I'm doing really well. I'm winning. 

Where is the last item? I can't find it! I'm panicking. It's just a role of easel paper but I really don't want to go home without it. I ask a guy. He starts to tell me it's upstairs in the children's display area. I really don't want to have to go upstairs. I definitely don't want to go to the children's display area. Please no. Another staff member approaches to tell us that sometimes they have them near the check-out. I must be looking at her like some kind of crazy woman. She hesitantly asks me if I want her to call ahead and ask if it's there. Yes I do. Of course I do. That is what service is lady!

It's there! We're on our way out. I pick up three rolls of paper. 

Now the children can actually see the food. We're just in the checkout area. I commit to buying them some food. I'm pretty sure they are actually salivating. It's not the proper dining hall area, just the impulse buy on the way out. I glance over at the place we're meant to sit and eat it. We have a problem. There are no chairs. It is literally standing room only at high tables. I ask the staff member. Apparently there are a few seats around the corner. Ok, we can do this. 

There's a bench seat. I line them all up with their chips. Twin 1 drops chips. I pick them up. Twin 2 drops chips. I pick them up. "I need sauce," says Miss 4. I go to get sauce. Twin 1 falls off bench. Chips are everywhere. This isn't working. I feel like the entire store is looking at us. I'm pretty sure at least 20 people are. I feel a tap on the shoulder. I brace myself. This could go either way. It's ok, it's positive. Someone is telling me they're leaving and we can have their seats. Thank you.

Ok, we're sorted at a proper table and chairs. Everyone is happy. 

"Wee" I ignore. 

I pretend it's not happening.

"Mum! S needs to do a wee." It's getting harder to ignore.
"Mum, you need to take him to the toilet right now."

How is this happening!

I take a deep breath and calmly explain that if I take S to the toilet that J and L have to come too. "I don't mind to come," says J.

Ok that's a good start. I then explain that we also need to take all the food that we've just found a table for as well as the trolley with all our stuff in it.

"Mum. It's too hard. You need to ask someone to help," says the wise four year old.

She's right. I look around. All of a sudden nobody is looking at us. We've gone from being the entertainment to being invisible.

I take another deep breath. I stuff all the food back into the packaging it never fit into, pile it on top the trolley and off we go to the toilet.

Again, all three have a go. 

We return to our table. We eat the food. We leave.

Everyone is happy in the car. I wonder if it was as traumatic for them as it was for me. That afternoon the boys napped for an unprecedented solid three hours. I guess the trauma is real.

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