For my youngest son, the idea of going shopping fills him with dread on many levels.
Firstly, he would have to spend a more than reasonable amount of time with me, which is not good as we spend a lot of our time at the moment locked in battle over homework, screen time, getting up in the morning, etc.
Secondly, he hates shopping. He will be a serial online shopper when he finally takes over the reins of his personal shopping.
Finally, his ‘spare time’ is his time for Xbox or chilling with his mates. That time is precious to him, so why would he waste any of it doing something he doesn’t like.
So why, therefore, did I not settle for the online option myself? Well, my son is not a fan of surprises. He isn’t really keen on birthdays or Christmas. I mean, he loves the idea of them but the change of routine that they bring and the extra people and stuff just unnerve him. And with his dislike of surprises coupled with extreme anxiety, it is a bit of a recipe for disaster. And has been on a few occasions.
But we are always learning. We tread carefully. We try to limit the surprises and the changes of routine. I have also learnt that he changes his mind about what he wants, so it is best to buy everything last minute to avoid any stress on the day.
This year, he has become a proper teenager and clothes are everything. Gone are the days where he would happily wear any old football top and a random pair of trackies. Now he is a fan of the ‘brands’ like his brother, so the top of the list this Christmas was clothes.
I had a successful trip to Solihull a few weeks ago with the older teen, many pounds were parted with in Foot Asylum and JD Sports and it struck me that Touchwood is a great shopping centre as it is really accessible with a nice selection of shops and restaurants.
Tentatively, I suggested that I take the younger teen. He wasn’t convinced. I pointed out that the Foot Asylum was amazing, that we could have a nice lunch somewhere and slowly he came round to the idea. He wanted to go on December 23rd. That made me feel stressed. The thought of all those people manically shopping for last minute gifts. I persuaded him that a week before might be a bit quieter and he reluctantly agreed.
Shopping day arrived and it was with more reluctance on his part that I finally got him into the car and off we went to Solihull. His first question was about how long it would take and what time we would be back. He was keen not to miss too much precious FIFA 19 time on the Xbox.
But when arrived in Foot Asylum and he was completely in awe. There were so many things he wanted, he didn’t know where to start. Trainers? Coats? Jeans? After five minutes, he asked to go outside. I thought he was feeling a bit overwhelmed by it all. It turned out he wanted to take a selfie in front of the shop to put on Instagram.
I’m not sure how many trips we made into that shop. There were a few. Each time we bought something different and again, many pounds were spent. I really should have shares in the shop.
I hadn’t had to foresight to book lunch which was a bit silly of me so close to Christmas. Our usual favourites were all booked, so we ended up in Pizza Express and had a lovely (if not rather expensive!) lunch and resumed our shopping. I was not allowed to go in any other shops than the ones he wanted to go in and we made one final trip to Foot Asylum before grabbing a Five Guys milkshake and heading back home to the call of the Xbox.
My son was thrilled with our purchases and kept saying how much he had enjoyed our little jaunt. Hopefully, he will remember that when we have to go shopping again. And I am seriously hoping that he doesn’t change his mind about his gifts between now and the big day as I am not going shopping again.