Shopping with kids is kind of like trying to shop with a bunch of kittens that keep running away. There’s nothing quite like it and nothing can prepare you for any particular trip to the store, except perhaps previous experience. But sometimes, even that doesn’t help prepare you for the hurdles you are about to encounter.
Today we HAD to go to the store. We had about 2 ounces of milk left and any parent will tell you, that is a perilous milk level.
So, after 45 minutes of taking everyone to the bathroom multiple times, getting shoes and coats on, wiping milk off of my boots after a toddler spill, and getting 2 little ones buckled into their car seats….we were off! On a whim, I say, “Hey, let’s stop by and get a couple of things at Hobby Lobby before we get groceries!”
That was my first mistake. As a parent of littles, you can’t do things on a whim. This needs to be carefully thought out. Too much time shopping can make kids REALLY grouchy…parents too.
As we stroll through the aisles, my 4 year old son stops to look at everything. Marvel really. He was absolutely basking in amazement at the aisles and aisles of home decor, kind of like me at Target. “Look! A boat! Mama! I see the letter N! Wow! Look, there’s Santa! Mom! Stop! Look at THAT!” We stop to watch a miniature train go around and around a mountain. Xander exclaims “We NEED that!” It was pretty cool….but not $179.00 worth of cool. I tell him it’s too expensive, but that I would let him watch it for a while. So we took in the sights and sounds for several minutes.
As we move away, he continues to exclaim over every object. Looking but not touching. At this point, I’m not even holding his hand or having him touch the cart. He’s enjoying himself thoroughly, examining every item he sees. I feel like I have momentarily attained parenting “Pro” status. Every elderly person in the store smiles at Xander and waves at our 2 year old Ruby adoringly.
My son asks to go down the clock aisle. “There’s a clock aisle???” I respond. We find the clocks and Xander is filled with wonder as he admires each clock. He’s so cute I take his picture. I take a video of him saying “Look at all the CWOKS!” I treasure every moment of listening to him mispronounce words. It’s so cute.
We move on and I stop to look at something that was actually on my list. I look up and in an instant, my cart, with Ruby sitting in it, is flying down the aisle by itself. Xander had suddenly decided to push the cart HARD and it was accelerating away from us and straight toward a girl with a service dog. I fly after it, sprinting. I catch it just in time and apologize profusely to his “almost” target. Luckily, she and I were able to laugh about it, and move on.
I reprimand my son, who reluctantly says he’s sorry to Ruby. Then he proceeds to ask me for everything in the aisle. “We don’t need that. Nope. Not that either. Why not? Because we don’t have room in our house for all of that. Nope. We don’t need those either. We need to save our money for milk and Christmas presents.” He persists over one particular item, so I offer to add it to his Amazon wish list. That suits his needs and mine. (It is after all, my best parenting tip. To avoid tantrums in a store, offer to add the random item to your child’s wishlist. If they persist, take a picture. Works every time.)
I grab the last thing on my list and we head for the checkout. Unfortunately, we were not the only ones thinking it was time to leave. Apparently everyone and their aunt needed to check out at that time. The lines were backed up as if a snowstorm were approaching.
Xander decides he needs to examine the candy. “You can look, but don’t touch” I remind him. He’s touching things. “Xander! You can look. No touching, okay?” He continues to touch things.
He says, “Mom, I need to go pet those dogs over there.” Ruby pipes up, “I need to pet those dogs!” Suddenly, she is standing up in the cart. She flings her tiny body into the air. I catch her just in time and set her down. Now there’s two of them, roaming the checkout area, investigating the candy, petting stuffed animals. The elderly lady behind me is grinning at them, watching me try to stop them from touching everything.
The lady in front of me is apparently negotiating a peace treaty for some foreign nation because it is taking FOREVER. She continues to ask if they have random items in the store, and asking arbitrary questions. The associate keeps saying, “I just work the checkout, you will have to check with someone on the sales floor.” Finally, the lady relinquishes her position and it’s my turn to check out.
Ruby suddenly bolts away as I look up to pay the associate. My son sees Ruby and starts to inch away too. I grab onto him. My phone starts ringing and I silence it. I finish the transaction with my eye on Ruby who is several yards away. I smile and she trots towards me.
Having victoriously captured both of my kids, I grab a hold of each of them and we walk out of the store. Breathlessly I exclaim, “I’m exhausted and we still need milk!”
By the time we join the checkout line in the grocery store, I feel like I’ve gotten in a full workout. My cart is so full, it’s ridiculous. I literally did not buy some items because there wasn’t enough room in the cart. That happens pretty often though when you are shopping for a family of 6. But no worries. I’m sure as soon as we get home, I’ll find that we ran out of mustard or ketchup…or something that I was two feet from in the store. Because that’s life. Or at least my life. So, I’ll be back again real soon…shopping with toddlers.
Other Humorous Articles:
Good Morning…or so they say
Road Trips and Bathroom Banter
She who shall not be named
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