IKEA and the art of public transport.

As a single mama who rebelled against getting her license since the day she turned 16, I’ve had to make use of one of the finer attributes Melbourne has to offer, the tram. It often amazes me, when I rock up to a playdate at the museum or a random suburban location that the other mothers are in awe that I’ve taken two, sometimes three different modes of transportation to get there. To directly quote one of my girlfriends; “One day I’ll have to get up the courage to take the stroller on a bus.” Courage? I’m brave because I’m too lame to drive a car? I guess if I had a ticket to drive and a fully loaded station-wagon, I’d be looking at the situation a whole lot differently.
So today saw us catch multiple modes of transport (through one of our increasingly rare storms) in search of an apple slicer, because I’m pathetic with knives and I’ve decided that wasting so much apple with really pissy cutting techniques should be some form of crime, punishable by law. So of course, instead of just walking around the corner to the supermarket to achieve this, I set off to IKEA, because any excuse to go to IKEA for us is like a trip to see the Holy Grail.
Beatrix was at her most snotty, she had woken up crappy from her nap and decided that today was a day to be dedicated solely to watching Teletubbies and nothing else. I tried to excite her by letting her wear a really wretched Wiggles jumper that I hate and bring her security blanket outside, but she really wasn’t into the idea of leaving the house and the heater and the TV. (The kid is smart.)
The fussing didn’t stop on the train. I usually try to ignore public displays of whining, but 50 people staring sort of gets to me after a while. So, without completely becoming a doormat, I decided to just talk calmly to her.
Me; “We’re going shopping.”
Beatrix, through sniffles; “Shopping.”
Me; “We’re going to go on the train and then the tram to IKEA, did you know that?”
Beatrix; “Kea.”
“We’re going to see Grandma,” I added, trying to sweeten the deal further.
“No,” she said, very plainly, looking at me as if I’m some sort of moron that didn’t know Grandma was at work all day.
“You’ll see,” I said, feeling very self confident in the fact that I am an adult and I know I’m right, and she would think I’m so great when Grandma magically materialises at IKEA. Ho ho, yes, the cards were in my favour.
The train to tram trip was thankfully without downpour, and I should probably thank someone for that but I’m an agnostic and I’m not quite sure who. On the walk to the tram stop, and after hearing “walk, walk!” at least forty times, I decided to stop and let Bea walk some of the way. Going by the shop windows always takes 15 minutes longer with her walking, because she feels the need to stop and point to every item in the window, making sure I repeat what she has said. Slowly making our way down the hill past a Paul Frank retailer, I suddenly noticed something on the ground; a red Paul Frank sock monkey, just lying stray on the ground. Now, do I hand said-monkey into the store? Do I take it to information? Whilst approaching the monkey and trying to decide what Jesus would do and wondering why I would apply that rule here, Beatrix suddenly cried “MONKEY!” and rushed toward it. I scooped it up before she can touch it, and was met with the most god awful scream I have ever heard. People turned in the street and looked at me as if I’d just murdered a cat. I do the opposite to what Jesus would do, I do the bad mother thing, I do the easy thing; I give Beatrix the sock monkey and make my way down the hill to the approaching tram.
On the tram I felt horrible, I kept visualising some poor kid crying over his lost sock monkey. I tried to justify this with the fact that no children were in sight, the ground was wet and the sock monkey was dry, meaning that it had only just fallen not so long ago, and this therefore, in Nikki logic, meant that some random hyper-cute Japanese school girl had bought said sock monkey and dropped it on her way to get sweet bread items across the mall. Hyper-cute Japanese school girl has more money than me, she probably has 50 sock monkeys! And while I told myself this and continued to feel terrible, Beatrix made kissy faces at the sock monkey and made her blankie cuddle it, and I just knew I was never getting the damn thing away from her. No going back! I declare her my partner in immoral crime and we forget the incident ever happened.
At sunset, we finally arrived at IKEA and I told Bea again that we were about to see Grandma inside.
“No,” she said, looking at me. Her expression clearly read; “You are a dumb-arse.”
I let her out of the stroller in the elevator and lead her to the designated meeting area. My mum was waiting there, as planned.
“Who’s that?” I said, fairly smug and self confident.
“Grandma!” said Bea, after some looking around blankly.
“See, I told you were were going to see Grandma,” I said.
“No,” Bea replied, looking at me fairly sternly.
And with that, somehow, she won. And it drives me mental.

Now for some random photos of the day;

A rare girly moment this morning; my girl in pink jammies, wheeling Elmo. I wish to add that I do not force or encourage the motherly, baby and kitchen things that little girls are expected to do, however I do not feel it’s my place to frown upon it when she enjoys these activities so thoroughly.

The world’s most bitchin’ drummer. She yells at me when I try to play them. She dances when Ross does. I think this is a clear sign that she already has a musical talent; the kid ain’t tone deaf.

Those red circles under her eyes are what happen when you’re two years old and you walk the entirety of the largest IKEA in the Southern Hemisphere.
Those smudges on her face are Swedish meatballs, the only reason anyone goes to IKEA other than the heavenly and totally awesome kid furniture.
That monkey is THE monkey that will never be discussed again.

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