This is a Guest Post from Mr katese11, aka Nathan. Londonwithatoddler accepts no responsibility for the contents of this post, and views expressed represent the author’s own. I was planning on merging this with my own version (which you can read here), but it made me laugh so much I decided it needed its own post. So, here goes:
I was surprised when LWAT invited me to guest-blog again after last time, insert “pingback” here, but I suspect it’s a ruse to find out what I bought her for Xmas. So this is “Christmas shopping on Oxford Street”. Kate & Eva have gone to church early in order to rehearse for a Carol Service (Kate’s in the choir, the baby isn’t) and the plan is that me & the boy will watch a few more Fireman Sams and then arrive in time to remove said baby from the choir before the service starts at 11. However, Fireman Sam is on one of those pesky channels that have ad-breaks and Reuben has discovered how fun it can be to request that we purchase every toy that appears on screen… ‘Let’s go shopping’ he suggests and, like a man who has yet to get his wife a Christmas present and is starting to panic about that fact, I hastily agree.
This new plan is perfect on so many levels: our church meets near Oxford Street and I’m otherwise unlikely to be near any shops of a higher quality than the Elephant & Castle shopping centre, the boy seems keen to get Mummy a present and we’ve got a spare hour – quick Roo; to the car! Once in town, with Roo in buggy, we discover our first problem; shops don’t seem to open very much on Sunday mornings. We stroll down Oxford Street hoping maybe one or two might be open? No. Not unless Kate wants a Union Jack mug or a Big Mac for Xmas. Dejected, we retire to a café for a coffee & a gingerbread snowman, and form a new plan to maybe try again after church when the shops are actually open.
One carol service & a Nandos lunch later and we’re off again. Reuben has decided we’ve got to get Eva ONE present and Mummy LOTS of presents. Lets MAKE some! He hasn’t suggested what they might actually be but my plan is to find some clothes shops. Women like clothes, right? We have a quick look round WH Smiths first though. I’m not quite ready to suffer the horror of clothes shopping just yet. Roo suggests we get a game for him & me. I remind him we’re looking for something for Mummy. He helpfully suggests a Peppa Pig boardbook or a game for him & me.
Okay, time to man up and go to Ladieswear. (There are a variety of different high street clothes shops on Oxford Street but, as they’re all essentially interchangeable from this shopper’s perspective, for the purpose of this prose I’m pretending they are all one.) There is mania in here. Roo suggests that we should play on the escalators. We battle our way round as best we can while assuming that the best stuff will be on ground level (we’ve still got the buggy with us, and while there is a lift or two, my instincts are telling me not to get in too deep or we might not get out again). Most of the items on display are horrifically overpriced and/or horrific to look at or touch. Some things look like possibilities, things that might’ve been bought if this were a previous year but fail the current need to be practical for a baby-feeding mumma.
Feeling hopeless, we head off to So Tiny on Great Titchfield Street: maybe if we can get something cute for Eva we will have Made A Start, and might regain some lost enthusiasm. They have some Stone Roses ‘I Wanna Be Adored’ baby-vests that I like but Reuben turns them down for being to boyish. It’s a small shop and someone else trys to come in so we leave in failure. Kate calls to check how we’re doing; she’s done loads of shopping, we’ve not effectively started yet so we get an extension.
Back in Ladieswear, Reuben rejects outright all my suggestions and recommends we get Mummy a toy horse. I think he’s tired of Ladieswear and would prefer to be in Toyshop. He finally agrees to getting her a ***SPOILER*** then promptly falls asleep. Turns out he was just tired. I decide to sack off my now unconscious shopping colleague and call in the professionals (that’s you: the internet). Specifically one friendly Facebooker who is helpfully online and helpfully inspirational.
Armed with ideas, a child who can no longer disagree with me, and the knowledge that even if I can’t find these on Oxford Street then I can merrily purchase these online, we trundle off to our final shop. Obviously they don’t appear to have what I’m looking for so we head back to meet Kate & Eva and drive home and finish my Christmas shopping on my smartphone.
Editor’s note: No, that’s not a picture from this shopping trip. We may be bad parents but we wouldn’t send him out in December in just a t-shirt. Turns out that Mr katese11 was too stressed to take many photos….