IKEA, the place where dreams and £800 kitchens become a reality. Incidentally, it’s also the only known location in existence where you can pick up an industrial pack of DAIM biscuits and new toilet at the same time. With two children under five in tow, the superstore started to feel like one of Dante’s twelve hells.
It all started off fairly well, with the cafeteria full of punters lining up dutifully for their famed IKEA meatballs. My sons seemed rather unfazed by all of this and I felt relieved, the sight of a fairly large open space full of food usually sets them off in some sort of rabid frenzy. Maybe this time I would be lucky.
I took them to one side and gave them an army style debrief of how the next two hours would go. I don’t think they read the mission statement but they seemed fairly on the ball with the main objectives, unfortunately I forgot my PowerPoint presentation and demo video.
Lunch passed in a fairly uneventful manner and I was looking forward to putting together my dream home in my head, as one does in IKEA. My favourite game of all time is, ‘If I had the money ….’
So we began to walk around. They caught sight of some heart shaped pillows piled up on a shelf and began to pull them out.
‘So it begins.’ I thought.
Then came the sofas. All the more tempting to jump on, the wolf said. They scrambled to sample every single sofa in the vicinity and I had to bark at them like a madwoman to get them off. People were starting to do the ‘She can’t control her kids,’ stare. You know the one. It never fails to make me feel like my children are the very worst behaved in all the land.
The kitchens were of no interest to them, because they weren’t bouncy but they did manage to locate a chess set in a living room that was fascinating. It was then I realised the horrible truth,
‘I can never have nice things.’
That’s right, I was getting a play-by-play demonstration of what it would be like if I actually had my dream home. The sofa would be ruined, the decorations hauled at, the pillows strewn everywhere. I wouldn’t have a kitchen I would have a Picasso’s tribute to a kitchen- with two sticky children hanging from the table like jam covered spider monkeys.
They ran and they ruined, like little tornadoes. Everything had to be touched, exclaimed at. Cries of ‘I want this at my home!’ ‘Mummy! Mummy!’ echoed around the shop. I kept telling my eldest son that I could hear him perfectly well and he didn’t need to shout, but once again I was ignored.
I managed to get one child to listen, and the other would be testing a bed. I got the other to walk nicely and his brother would be hiding in a tent. It seemed I just couldn’t get a handle on both of them at once.
For the first time in a long time, I felt husband envy. I saw men carrying screaming babies while mummy played my favourite game. Lucky bitches.
At one point I turned around and my eldest son was carrying a giant, plush shark. The sheer audacity. (It was kind of cool and I wanted to buy it, because who doesn’t want a stuffed shark-but I didn’t want to give him the satisfaction)
By the time we had reached the lighting section I had reached my click point. You know, where you don’t give a shit if you act like a lunatic in front of total strangers. I made them both stand in a corner and perused the merchandise nearby. The youngest one cried terribly, making me look like a child abuser and the elder one grinned at me. I felt angry, but there’s something about a small child grinning when one is trying to be serious that is hilarious. I had to hide behind a shelf and giggle to myself before I resumed ‘scary mummy’ face.
We almost reached the till when it appeared. The dreaded sweet section. ‘For fuck’s sake.’ There was no way out, we had to pass it. They tried valiantly, but it was to no avail. The four year old even asked to, ‘Just look at the sweets,’ then it became, ‘Just sniff the sweets.’ I sometimes wonder if they put cocaine in those things. Just to keep the kids coming back.
I managed to pick a plate, a bowl and a side plate. I was 0.0003% on the way to my dream home, all for £4.99.