I wasn’t going to blog again, but Hubby did two things that changed my mind.
He came back from the pub saying: ‘Mandy’s REALLY sad you’ve stopped blogging.’ I am a sucker for that. Thankyou to Mandy and all those who made similar noises.
He also went to read a bed-time story to Toddler, plonked his bum down on her miniature Toddler-bed and…. broke it.
Yeah. I’m surprised too. He’s only, like, six-foot something and fourteen stone. All I can think, is that Toddler’s tiny bed must have been made from inadequately weak wood.
Toddler was gutted. ‘Mummy, you need to mend my bed.’
I looked down at the wreckage. It probably wasn’t a possibility.
‘We’ll go to Ikea and buy a bunk-bed. We’ll need one anyway soon.’
‘When will we, Mummy?’
‘Er – Now?’
It was, you understand, an emergency. Assembling kids’ bedroom furniture can’t be done when they are sleeping or napping, so a second adult to babysit for as long as it takes to put the damn thing up is essential. And hubby was about to go North for winter. Toddler would be doomed to sleep on the floor for three months if we didn’t act…
‘You’ve slept on floors,’ says Hubby. ‘Do you remember that vets’ flat in Newcastle, when you broke the bed and had to sleep on the floor for weeks, when you were really pregnant….?’
I remembered. Physcially Getting Up in a morning has never been so challenging. I also remember the practice handyman telling everyone suggestively that the heavily pregnant locum vet had broken the bed when her hubby visited. (Honestly, on that occasion it really was made from weak wood).
But it seemed a reasonable expectation for Toddler to have a bed, so Ikea it was.
A car pulled out in front of me as we drove into the carpark. I slammed on the break. ‘What’s he doing?’
‘He’s getting the hell out as fast as possible,’ Hubby said. ‘Who can blame him?’
Why did the kids look so happy all of a sudden? Ikea’s one-way system is famous. Shoppers are paraded past a number of show-rooms stacked with things that they definitely DO NOT NEED to buy, at a speed that most funeral processions would be impatient to overtake.
But of course, within two minutes we’d left the main wake, having spotted a sofa for £75 that would actually fit in our lounge. It had a washable cover, too. We sat down, experimentally….
When I looked round, Tiddler and Toddler were also trying out sofas, the enraptured looks on their faces betraying the fact that they had mistaken this bloody-minded commercialism for bloody soft play.
‘No! We hate shopping, remember?’ We got back on to the main path.
Did I mention that it was moving frustratingly slowly? You know that annoying bit on Strictly when they announce who it is that’s leaving? Well, even that has more of a rollick to it.
‘Do we actually need a bunk-bed?’ I was saying. ‘I mean, can you imagine putting her on the top bunk and him on the bottom one? You wouldn’t get to the light-switch before Tiddler’s on the ladder mounting a raid. What if she booted him off?’
‘There there,’ said hubby soothingly. ‘We don’t need the upper bunk yet. There’s a while to go before he can climb out of his cot….’
Once we’d found a bunk-bed, however, it turned out to have an ingenious bit of wood hooked over the stepladders, to stop any kids from climbing on them. ‘I want to buy one of these!’ I said to the nearest assistant.
Turns out there IS a bit of design innovation that you can’t buy at Ikea, after all.
The bunk-bed had a name. Mydal. The mattresses were called Moshult. Hubby wrote these names down and went off to find sheets….
Meanwhile, I pretended not to be with the kids and the kids amused themselves by stepping between adjacent pillars of carpet tiles, of varying colour and height. Pleasingly, said tile-pillars were arranged in a convenient circle. An exacerbated parent watched them sideways for longer than necessary and I prepared to receive a tongue-lashing, but moments later she whipped the shoes off her own three year-old and he joined in the game.
Hubby came back. We decided that it was a good time to buy a Tiddler-chair, and some crockery. A bit of stealthy Christmas shopping might also have occured….
The second half of the Ikea one-way system is harder than the first. The buggy was now too cumbersome to sneak through gaps: with a giant bag of goodies hanging either side and some plastic boxes (useful for Todder’s craft stuff) balanced on top of the rain-cover. Tiddler was desperate to walk so I let him stand up, and of course the whole thing collapsed backwards without his weight. We piled the crockery on the seat. Now Tiddler had to walk. “Heel!”
At this point Toddler wailed, ‘but Daddy’s forgotten to bring the bunk-bed with us’ and we navigated to the warehouse while trying to explain the concept of flat-pack to an inconsolable three-year-old.
Of course, now we had to carry the flat-pack bunk-bed too. Much trolleying of children, stuff and more stuff; much time amassing said stuff in a pile and guarding it while having the children sang ‘When you’re Happy and You Know It (boop your nose) to stop them from climbing the shelves; much checking of lists; much bribing with cinnamon rolls, much Tiddler-racing up and down, until…..
….Eureka! We were at the loading bay ready to pack the car.
Advice to all other future Ikea shoppers, particularly those with two small children in bulky car-seats: always unload the buggy and the rubbish from your car before you set off…..
In fact, filling the car could be another blog-post. It’s a good thing I’m no longer blogging, really.