What do you understand by the meaning of “treats”? Are they something you carry around in your handbag to entice stray puppies? Or not so-stray-but-easily-distracted puppies? Maybe that’s just me. Anyway, I’ve been musing on what a 3-year-old might consider a treat. Well, Reuben is trying to teach me anyway.
My mother – canny as she is – convinced us as kids that both service stations and supermarkets were fun trips out. It’s stuck. I still consider a trip to a really good supermarket as a treat. Not yer day-to-day Tesco Metro, but something like Sainsburys in Vauxhall, where the photo above was taken. It has a cafe! And clothes! And homewares! And – what’s that Roo? Octonauts toys? Nope, think you’re seeing things there. Let’s move on…
Or how about Asda, Old Kent Rd? I love that place, although it is also terrifying. We once took our friend Lottie there at midnight because I wanted to buy “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” as soon as it came out. Lottie was at our Camberwell flat for the evening and we offered her a lift home to Peckham “dropping by” Asda on the way. Two hours later, we emerged from Asda clutching a copy of the book but also a new suit for me. Slow moving queues are good for selling stuff and the whole book-buying process had taken a *little* longer than I anticipated. Needless to say, this was before we had children. By the way, if anyone knows which DVD I have in my hand, do let me know…I think it may be “Police Squad”
So, I enjoy going to supermarkets and service stations. And I’m trying to pass this joy onto my children, but I’m not sure they’re feeling it. Roo liked going to Sainsburys the other day, to ride on the Thomas, but I think he was disappointed with our last trip to Leigh Delamere. Never before have I seen such a desolate “Play Area”. it was literally just an area. There was a DVD player which, if fiddled with, produced a Postman Pat DVD menu. There was an easel, with no paper or drawing stuff. And there were some tables and chairs. As Play Areas go, it was a bit BYOFun. No wonder that on our last trip down the M4 we instead opted to stop at my friend’s farm for lunch.
Anyway, I was building to some kind of point on the treats thing, so I’m just gonna get straight to it. The week we came back from Wales, we had a lot planned and did a lot more spontaneously. Tuesday was the New Year’s Day Parade. Wednesday, I took Eva to the cinema in Greenwich, so Nathan took Roo to the cinema in Brixton. Thursday, we went to Seussical. We were maximising those days in London with Nathan off work. It was non-stop fun.
Except it wasn’t. Roo was grumpy and tired from walking so far on New Year’s Day. He got scared of “Rise of the Guardians” and asked Nathan to take him home before the end. As for Seussical…well, that’s been discussed already. For a while there, I was angry with him at being so ungrateful.We’d arranged all these fun, special things and he was moaning and whinging through them all. On Thursday evening, Nathan and I had a crisis meeting and decided not to go to the zoo on Friday. We’d over-offered on the treats and we just weren’t getting the reception we were hoping for. He was just too tired and over-stimulated to cope.
So, on Friday we just went to Kennington Park, at his request. On the way down, I texted a friend of mine to see if she and her kids wanted to come too and it turned out they were already there. The look on Reuben’s face when he saw his lifelong friends was something special. Better than a hundred theatre trips. That’s when we realised that he’d been pining for 3-year-old company and no amount of parental attention could replace his friends. We just aren’t willing to run around in circles with him like they are. An hour or so of playtime in the park and he was a changed boy. It’s the little things…
On Saturday I took him and Eva to Sainsburys. He loved it.
(Oh, Sainsbos…I hope you and all the people around you at 8 this morning are OK. And all the other people in Vauxhall. I can hardly bear to check the news.)