So I was in Westfield Bondi Junction today.
This is not an unusual event. I spend a great deal of my free time in Westfield BJ. It has everything I could want in a holiday - er, shopping - destination: a variety of food, excellent coffee, clean toilets, my favourite boutiques, a movie theatre, and a place where you can get a sage Chinese therapist to give you a 20 minute massage that will absolutely blow your mind (or the tendons in your shoulders, depending on how hard he kneads).
Shopping alone in Westfield is wonderfully relaxing. Unfortunately, I only get to do that about once in never-at-all, as I am always burdened - er, accompanied - by one or all of my 107 children. Today, that child was three year old Boo.
Boo can be magnificent to shop with. She stops in the middle of the mall and entertains the troops with spontaneous dances to music in her own head. She tells everyone her name - even without being asked - and offers intimate, unsolicited information about her recent adventures in toileting, and her plans to go to 'big school kindy' next year.
However, Boo can also be fairly exhausting company. She runs away, frequently, to look at irresistible items in shop windows, such as 'Sale' signs and mannequins' feet. She insists on pushing the pram, which is generous and thoughtful, but limits our pace to approximately three steps per minute. And she wants to buy everything in sight, from jelly beans to cheese pockets to Kinder Surprises to fluffy teddies to the mannequins' feet, and will express her discontent rather loudly if her desires are thwarted. Which they are. Er, occasionally. I do give in some of the time. Using 'some' in the sense of 'shamefully often'. She's my baby, after all.....
But I digress.
Today, Boo caused a massive pile up on Escalator 12 of Westfield Bondi Junction (actually I have no idea what number escalator it is, I just made that up because it sounds good). ANYWAY... she insisted on pushing the pram by herself whilst high on jelly beans, and I was too tired (read 'disgracefully weak') to stop her. All went well as we navigated ourselves through Level 2 at around one kilometre per day, boarded Escalator Whatever, and began our descent. The problem began when we reached the bottom. Boo decided she rather liked the escalator and wanted to stay. Of course, as she was holding the pram, this had to stay too.
Unfortunately, the six young men behind us didn't seem as fond of the escalator as she was, because they appeared quite intent on disembarking (not surprising, as the alternative would have been to jog up the escalator backwards at double speed). The result was a massive one little girl / one woman / six man / one stroller pile up on Escalator Number Who Cares. And it was scary. So scary, in fact, that when we managed to disentangle ourselves from the stroller and the six men, my heart was pounding, Boo was quite deflated, and we were both ready to go home for a nap.
So the moral of the story is: always discipline your children, at least more than I do. But if you don't, I really wouldn't worry. Even if you lose control of them, a few rides on the Escalator Of Doom will get them sorted out in no time.
And now, I am self-medicating for shock. Knew those jelly beans would come in handy.