Friday, April 9, 2010

School Holiday Survival Strategy #2



I am no night time shopper. Night time is my time. Not even the prospect of dragging three kids kicking and screaming (bickering), to hunter gather shopping supplies, can convince me otherwise. These holidays, it presents a real challenge – honestly, you should hear the collective sighs. So, I turned it into a kid challenge.

Limiting our first two challenges to the fruit and vegie shop, I wrote out the shopping list on 24 strips of paper. The eldest and middle kid each took turns choosing a slip...



Did their best to fathom their task...



Groaned if it involved cauliflower...



Chuffed to bits if it didn’t...



With minimal coaching from me and the small, snack-eating kid, there were big grins, NO WHINGES (except for the cauliflower bit) and NOT A SINGLE SIBLING BICKERING ARGUMENT.



I high fived myself.


(THE NITTY GRITTY)

On the Up Side
• A whole heap of incidental learning (the reading, the learning not to squeeze the living daylights out of an avocado, the understanding that tossing the melon into the shopping trolley from the three point line is a bad idea
• The sense of kid achievement, the feeling capable, the awareness of, interaction with and good behaviour around other shoppers
• The fact that we can go through 33 apples at a ridiculous rate because the kids chose ’em

On the Down Side
• Every so often an avocado suffers from an exuberant squeeze so that’s what you’ll be eating for lunch
• You need to be on guard for kid light bulb moments (i.e. melon = basketball, trolley = hoop)
• I avoided the usual small store I shop at for, oh, so many reasons – but mainly because I knew a larger shop would prove more of a hunter gathering challenge and if we were early enough, fewer fellow terrorised shoppers
• If you are going to include ‘8 of something nice’ in the challenge, consider introducing small print terms and conditions, or get praying you don’t end up with eight whole watermelons

One Small But Important Detail to Note
I knew I would inevitably be purchasing apples with an occasional bruise, or rock-hard nectarines. This was fine with me – I didn’t want to start playing art director and taking away all the fun. Now the kids know what to look for from experience – at least as far as apples and nectarines go. The kids were also given a very sound behaviour and etiquette briefing, I was proud of them and nothing/nobody was hurt in the process.

One Other Small But Possibly More Important Detail to Note
Just because everyone is beside themselves chuffed over fruit and vegie shopping, “Can we do it again tomorrow?”, doesn’t guarantee the visits to the fishmonger, delicatessen and then supermarket (in the same outing), is going to be any walk in the park.

42 comments:

june at noon said...

Good for you! Ups and downs, yes, but it still sounds much more potentially tolerable than doing it the boring way! Good luck with the next trip.

beccasauras said...

The photos are hilarious!! They don't look set up at all haha. Super Nanny would be so proud of you!!
PS I groan like that about cauliflower too!

Cath @ chunkychooky said...

why, with this, and the ten minute tidy up- I feel a parenting book is in order... or perhaps a blog series- you come up with some great ideas- did you feel weird taking photos in the grocery shop? Only other bloggers would understand...yep, I am with your lot on the cauliflower- ugh...

Tanya said...

that is an absolutely hilarious cauliflower photo! I wish someone would do a shopping game for me because I hate shopping, but your challenge looks pretty fun. If I lived closer, I would invite myself 'tomorrow'!!

Lola Nova said...

Well done Mama!

ohjoh said...

Fabulous! If only it would mean that they would eat them too.....
In our house it's puree and hide!

Drewzel said...

I LOVE that cauliflower photo! ahahahh

Gina said...

Look at you, you uber-unschooler! Well done for resisting the art direction and other control-freakish tendencies. Sensible move keeping no3 all locked up in the trolley though!

Storing this one away as yet another brilliant M&E sanity saver, for when the boys are just a wee bit older.

33 apples. Huh. Well, I guess that IS only 6.6 apples per capita until next outing.

Cathy {Tinniegirl} said...

I agree with Chunky Chooky. You should be publishing a book. You have so much to offer in the 'diverse approaches to parenting' department. Even without children of my own, I enjoy seeing what you get up to.

Andi said...

Superwoman!

One Flew Over said...

Mother of the year award goes to you!

I'm off to Chaddy this afternoon to get the groceries, my kids will be fed (probably junk) whilst I zip around in a speed that only be described as 'drug induced'

Sophie Isobel Designs said...

Outstanding! I love the idea! I'm going to put it in on my to do list when I one day have kids and am feeling adventurous!
Sophie x

peppermintpatcher said...

The cauliflower photo is fabulous! I hope it was on the menu that night because I am the sort of mother who would want to see that face again!

zofia said...

This is SO good, love it!
Hmm, I think my little man would be tempted to hold onto his loot and say 'mine'...but for the other schoolies this would be a lot of fun...now if I can just muster the strength..;)

Frog, Goose and Bear said...

love it!! made all the more entertaining by the way you told the story in pictures. thanks. will hang on to that ide for the when my kids are older.

edward and lilly said...

How fabulous! You are one clever Mum!

Tas said...

That, my dear, is just awesome. In spite of knowing what my kids are capable of, I might give it a go. I'll high 5 you right back. You deserve it. I'll avoid the local supermarket for some of those oh so many reasons...then it will be safe to return to after my kids have trashed the one from the neighbouring suburb :P

Fer said...

More good Mum-stuff to store in the memory banks! Thanks Tania!

Mel said...

OH. MY. GOD still reeling that you actually left the house with three children let alone shopped with them! Awesome, awesome parenting moment! I know you high-fived yourself (what's the sound of one hand high fiving?), but I'm sending you a cyber one anyway!

Kate said...

Hoorah! This way you avoid two fates: my 19 year old sister having to follow me around the market asking ;and how do you tell if an ORANGE is good? How about a tomato?' because my mother is anally retentive about what she buys and therefore allows no one to assist.

And, the new worker in the fruit and veg market who picked up my bunch of bsail and asked 'what's this?'.

Thea said...

You're getting good at this - you should write a book!

Trudi - Me and Ewe said...

Awesome post Tania. Great idea and love the photos. I am with your daughter - cauliflower is blahhhhhh!

Mama Mogantosh said...

Once again, absolute gold.

I've been thinking along similar lines, but with pics for the three-year-old.

So impressed!

Sue said...

Fabulously creative parenting. Well done. These guys will remember this childhood. I guarantee it!

Kylie said...

Oh Tania you are a treasure!
For about the one millionth time I am seriously wishing my kids had you as their mother!
And those photos... I was just thinking what a wonderful resource they will have to look back on and marvel at the amazing woman they were lucky enough to call their mum.
Kx

PottyMouthMama said...

High five! You are the bombfunk MC! Go you! I dread going shopping with two smalls, and yet, I don't want to be knightrider either. What a waste of my time! Love this task.

Nikki said...

Yay team!

Also loved your skirt yesterday.... even though it wasn't the ...ahem... one "we'd" planned! ;) Been menaing to answer your email (or did I actually do that?). All hunky-d.

nikkishell said...

Great idea! My hubby takes my girls shopping and gives them tasks such as picking out the fruit and veg etc. I will have to share your idea of picking a slip.

Anne Thompson said...

What a fabulous idea - I'm going to give it a go.

beck said...

Nice one toots, did you dream this one up when you were on a coffee high? I love it, whatever the circumstances...and the photo's are so funny and joyous. So, tell me, how are you feeling about Monday....? xo

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

It all looked fun and is a brilliant idea ! I did wonder why more adventurous veggie eating coincided with moving out of parental home !
My youngest ( not so young ) now loves Brussel sprouts , even when cooked by me .
Sonata.

Amanda said...

Great photos, I do someting similar with my 9 yr old when I have to take him grocery shopping, It saves a lot of 'Mum are we done yet?' 's OR 'Can I have a ....?'

Carolyn said...

Excellent! Loved the photos. Are you eating all those apples or making a pie?

ecoMILF said...

This game belongs on your 'creative space'. Genius and I would high five myself three times if I'd come up with it. Must remember it for the future. Now the question on my mind, did they end up enjoying the cauliflower snuck into some kind of delicious meal?? xo m.

Stomper Girl said...

I think that is a GREAT idea. My kids LOVE helping me do the fruit and veg shopping, they would love it times 100 if I printed instructions on coloured slips of paper. Genius.

Anonymous said...

Hey Tarn,
What a great idea! I may have to wait a little while to do this with my girls however as they don't read yet...but hey I can always prompt!
Your eldest girl is looking like you more each day! Love the photos!
Hope for another catch up soon..
Love Jen xo

Di said...

Gee, you can be my parent any day. What an inspired and thoughtful strategy!! Many birds with one peach stone...

Sandrine said...

What a holiday activity planner Extraordinaire Tania!!They all had big beautiful smiles (ok apart from the choux fleur bits) and that must have taken one whole day! :)X

Nikki said...

You
Are
Amazing.

And
Clever.

Those photos are beautiful... they would make an awesome story. Maybe you could make one....

Jana said...

I'm new here! Love your blog....and such a clever idea to involve your kiddos!
Jana

quirkygranolagirl said...

that is the coolest idea!

heather said...

you performed a miracle here!!