While perusing my Twitter feeds today, I spotted a link from @timesparenting promoting an article called ‘Nappy Brain’: when Mummy loses her marbles. Gosh - I can identify with that particular complaint. During a foray to Carrefour in Granada on Monday, I did more than lose my marbles, which departed a long, long time ago. I actually lost my youngest son’s nappies: a whole, brand spanky-new pack of them.
This may not sound significant but let me tell you, it was highly annoying: a blot on the landscape of the parenting week. Remember that we are dealing with a Spanish store and Spanish speaking staff here. My Spanish isn’t great and I had painstakingly negotiated the ‘language barrier’ to exchange an erroneously-purchased pack of Carrefour own-brand nappies that proved an inferior type and fit (we don’t want that – wee can come out of the side) for the usual favourite, nappy pants that Archie can’t tear off as soon as he ‘does something’.
This still may not sound too onerous but it’s irritating beyond belief to spend 15 minutes at customer services (called ‘atention al cliente’ over here) obtaining a refund ticket and a further 15 minutes arguing with the checkout assistant in broken Spanish about a discount that wasn’t applied to the nappy pants, which were advertised as “buy one, get one for 2.70 Euro” – a discount to which I was not, apparently, entitled when returning goods without the original till receipt. By this stage in the game, the father of my children and my little boys had all run off in the general direction of a sweetie counter where they could wreak maximum havoc, leaving me groping to find the correct words re my missing “descuenta” (discount). After concluding that I had, indeed, been overcharged around 10 Euros for a second pack of nappy pants, which I promptly discarded with the intention of taking just the exchanged pack away with me, I marched out of Carrefour with a smug look on my face... until... gah!... we arrived home, a 40 minute drive away, and I realised that I’d left the darn nappy pants on the checkout. So, to recap, the customer services enterprise that had taken at least half an hour and much sweating over in-store terminology had left me precisely 11.70 Euros and one missing pack of pull-up pants lighter. Grrrrr. Nappy brain – they’re not kidding. To add insult to injury, I later mislaid Archie’s rainproof trousers after changing one of the inferior nappies. I was fairly convinced they’d somehow snuck into the rubbish bin along with some full nappies (could I be that scatty?) but they finally turned up today.
In my case, I’m not convinced that the scientific reasons suggested in the Times article are causing the “nappy brain”. In part, I think the “the mental fog that seems intent on ruining mothers’ best efforts at super-efficiency” can be attributed to the cheap wine in Carrefour, the consumption of which does nothing to sharpen one’s faculties after a visit to the store. You can’t really argue at vino Rosado on offer at two bottles for two Euros: the ‘oferta’ would have Britain’s Nanny State (or perhaps it should be Nappy State?) poohing its pants, for want of a better word, at the potential impact on binge drinking. Perhaps this model could be trialled in Tesco: sell even cheaper alcohol with ‘multibuy savings’ and the customers can absent-mindedly leave their purchases on the checkout where they can be re-shelved and sold to a second customer afterwards. The economy benefits from double sales and, with any luck, Mum can’t remember a thing anyway.