“I don’t want to be here.” Says Middle One getting out of the car near the shops on Saturday afternoon.
“Why did you say you wanted to come with me to buy some shoes then?” I say.
“I didn’t.” He says.
“Yes you did.”
“I didn’t. I said I want some new shoes,” he says, “it’s not the same thing.”
I decide not to reply to this. He’s being unreasonable. He knows he’s being unreasonable. It’s because he’s twelve and hormonal and stroppy. I remember being twelve and hormonal and stroppy myself. Well, probably not twelve, probably more like fourteen, but children are much more advanced these days aren’t they? It all starts sooner.
We walk past a children’s shoe shop, that one called One Pound Beyond, or something and I turn to go in.
“I’m not going in there.” He says.
I ignore him. He stands outside with his arms folded.
“Do these come in size 5?” I ask an assistant.
“I’m not going in that kids shop.” Says Middle One from outside on the pavement. He can be heard through the open door. I smile at the assistant.
“I think so.” She says.
I pick up the boots and look at the price on the bottom. £55.
“Is there anything like this in the sale?” I ask.
There isn’t, of course, so we go on.
Now we’re in Blacks looking at ski jackets for Eldest who’s due to go away on a ski trip with school at the end of January.
“I don’t want to look at ski jackets.” Says Middle One.
“Do you think this will fit him?” I ask.
“I don’t care.” Says Middle One.
We go to TK Maxx and look at shoes. Middle One says: these aren’t shoes they’re trainers; those are women’s shoes; those are crap; I don’t want to look at any of those; I want to go home; I don’t want to be here.
I say very little.
We go upstairs to look at ski jackets. I say: what d’you think of this one; do you think he’d like this; do you think this is too big; how much do you think this one is, can you see a price?
Middle One says: I really don’t care.
We go to Debenhams. I take back a dress I bought the other day. (I bought it in two sizes because I couldn’t be bothered to try it on. Just for the record, I’m keeping the smaller one.) We have to wait in a queue. Middle One says: I’m so bored; this is so boring; I’m so hot; I can’t believe how bored I am; I wish I was at home; why did you drag me here; it's so hot; you’re being selfish.
I say nothing.
We walk back to Blacks and buy the ski jacket. It’s reduced, £34.99 down from £79.99 and since husband doesn’t have a contract of employment at the moment I think this is probably a good thing. I say: this is a good price; nice isn’t it; do you think he will like it?
Middle One says: I don’t care.
We go into Clarks. I say: what about these; when I was here with Eldest we got a nice pair; these might come in your size; what do you think?
Middle One says: these are man's shoes; it's all crap; I hate those; those are hideous; don't be stupid.
We walk down the street.
“You are very rude.” I say.
“I know. I can’t help it.” He says.
I know this is true. He didn't used to be like this. He used to be a delight to take shopping. I try not to say anymore. I try to be understanding.
We go to the pet shop to buy saw dust and food for Middle One’s gerbils.
“I like this!” Says Middle One, “Can I have it!”
It’s a plastic ball for the gerbils to play in. It’s £2.99.
“No.” I say. “You can’t. You’ve been horrible and rude so you can’t have it. Normally I would have bought you that,” (I would as well) “but I’m not going to because you have been horrible.”
Middle One says nothing. We drive home.
“Did you have a nice time!” Beams husband as we walk in the door.