A User-Friendly Guide To Mall Shopping

Over the last few years I’ve noticed that, in general, people have somehow forgotten how to use a mall. So, I present this helpful guide to using a mall without irritating every other shopper.

1. Parking

Before you even enter the mall, it is wise to start your expedition properly. Your big, fancy car most likely has power steering. Use it to avoid parking with your tires on or over the line.

Also, stupidity is not a disability. Neither is laziness. Leave the handicapped parking for those who need it.

2. Elevator use

Each elevator can only hold a certain number of people. The people who are already inside the elevator when the doors open probably want to exit it. They can’t do this if you are trying to enter before the doors have even opened completely.

If you possess enough common sense to wait for them to exit before you go inside, stretch your brain power just a little more and stand aside so they can actually get past you.

Helpful hint: Pressing the button repeatedly will not make the elevator arrive any sooner.

3. Walking and texting

If your eyes are glued to your phone instead of observing your surroundings, do not be surprised when you walk into something or someone. Also, stopping dead may result in a trolley mowing your down. Again, this is no one’s fault but your own.

4. Touching other people’s children

A User-Friendly Guide To Mall Shopping

Image source: http://www.omaha.com

It doesn’t matter how cute or friendly the children in question are. Do. Not. Touch. Them. Ever. If you do, take note that the mom is smiling at you through clenched teeth and will be aware of your exact location as long as you are in the mall.

Also, do not make jokes about stealing the children, especially if the children are old enough to understand your words but have not yet grasped the concept of teasing. Be prepared for a security guard to follow you at the mom’s request for the remainder of your mall visit.

5. Making conversation

The queue in Woolies is not the place to make friends or score a date. If the person you are trying to engage in conversation has:

a) small children in the trolley,

b) bags under her eyes and unkempt hair,

c) an aura of frazzled-ness about her,

And if she merely grunts in response to you, then stop talking. Look away. Pretend you’ve just received a very important call on your phone. Whatever.

Above all, do not comment that she looks tired, that she must enjoy this age, and that her children are such angels. Sure, they’re behaving now. But the reason she’s frazzled and looks about to snap is because not two minutes earlier the children were screaming for the most expensive and unhealthy cereal on the shelf, the queue is not moving fast enough, everyone needs to pee, and her period is due.

What would you add to the list?


Stop Smoking On My Children


Disclaimer: If you are a sensitive smoker, stop reading here. There is a fair amount of smoker-bashing in this post. This is not directed at all smokers. Some of my favourite people are or used to be smokers.


I just love it when people smoke in front of my children. I want to hug them. In the face. With my foot.


It drives me nuts when someone lights up in front of my girls. I feel anger bubble up inside me but, because I’m not one for confrontation, I don’t say anything for fear of offending. So I sit and seethe in silence. But you know what? I shouldn’t have to say that you can’t smoke in front of my children – the warning label on your pack of cigarettes already says that. As does the law*, but whatever.


Image credit: today.uconn.edu

Image credit: today.uconn.edu


When I was pregnant with Poppet, Hubby and I went to watch my brother’s band play at a non-smoking venue. A girl in front of us lit up a cigarette. In an unprecedented (and as-yet unrepeated) Hulk-like transformation, Mama Bear tapped Smoking Girl on the shoulder and pointed to the No Smoking sign right next to her. Smoking Girl shrugged. I paused to wonder if she could actually read, then tapped her on the shoulder again. She stubbed out her cigarette in the most melodramatic manner possible. I smiled my sweetest smile and thanked her.




I have been to countless children’s parties where the adults lounge around with cigarettes while the children play in front of them. Seriously, people? You can’t go around to the other side of the house? Poppet freaks out when people smoke around her. “Mommy, they’re smoking on me!” she cries. Please, people, stop smoking on my children.


Now, I understand that it’s winter and it’s cold outside. But if you’re going to poison my children then I would appreciate at least being asked, “Do you mind?” before you light up. (The answer, of course, is yes. Yes, I mind. Very much.)


We were at a party this weekend. People were smoking. I was trying to herd my girls away from smoker-occupied rooms, with little success. The day after the party, Poppet’s chest was so tight that we had to nebulise her. The following morning, we nebulised her again and gave her cortisone syrup so that she could breathe without wheezing or coughing up a lung.


Am I being unreasonable and insensitive to smoker’s rights? I don’t know. I’m pretty sure my daughters’ right to breathe trumps your right to nicotine, tar and a bunch of carcinogens.


There are friends and family members who will make an effort not to smoke in front of my children. Thank you. I appreciate your missing out on part of a conversation or spending five minutes in the freezing cold. My daughters’ lungs thank you too.




Operation Sleep Is Not The Enemy


Sleep training is one of those things that sounds way more awesome than it actually is.


To the uninitiated, sleep training conjures images of comfortable mattresses with large pillows and mounds of soft blankets. Sure, a sleeping competition sounds strange, but could be fun. Back in the day, I was a champion sleeper. Once, when I was living in Asia, I even slept through a (mild) earthquake – true story. To this day, I’m bummed that I missed it.

Ahh, sweet repose.

Ahh, sweet repose.


Here’s the bad news. (I hope you’re sitting down.) Sleep training, alas, has nothing to do with sleeping as long and as deeply as possible.


Children have to be taught to sleep. And, like most things that require teaching, is not something that is particularly fun. Especially if you’re the parent.


I don’t remember sleep training Poppet. She’s always been a good sleeper so when she had to learn to go to sleep by herself, it happened quite quickly. She was about ten months old and the whole thing took just a few days.


Pixie has never been a great sleeper. From the day of her birth, she has needed to be held or rocked to fall asleep. There I was, still immobile after my C-section, trying to sleep through the pain, when the nurse brought her back to the room and said she wouldn’t stop screaming. Have you tried to sleep with a brand new baby cradled in your arms? It’s not impossible, but the quality of sleep is on the low end of the spectrum. So much for my hospital holiday.


Pixie is now 18 months old and if she doesn’t learn to go to sleep by herself soon, I am going to lose my mind. I thought the Easter weekend would be the perfect time to attempt sleep training – four day weekend! What I didn’t count on was the Easter Egg Factor. Chocolate + children = chaos. I knew this. Every parent knows this. But it is a perfect example of what sleep deprivation does to one’s memory.

Sleep: harder than it looks.

Sleep: harder than it looks.


Thursday night went well. (No chocolate, you see.) I did what the book said: cuddled until she was drowsy, laid her gently in her cot, said ‘shh’ now and then while rubbing her back, and then she fell asleep by 7pm. She moaned a few times during the night, but I just had to touch her softly and she went back into dreamland. What a wonderful start, I thought. I could smell success!


After church on Friday, Pixie had a little chocolate rabbit. That night, after I cuddled her until she was drowsy, I laid her in the cot – and she laughed at any further attempts to get her to sleep. She finally passed out at about 11:30pm. Sleep training fail.


There is another long weekend coming up soon. There will be no chocolate consumed that weekend, or in the days leading up to it. Well, no chocolate for Pixie. This zombie mom can’t cope without it.