So Lesbian Dad posted about an adventure-filled visit to the grocer the other day on her blog.
I piped in (a bit too soon, and certainly too insouciantly, as you'll see) about how it gets easier. Not so much that kids don't bolt when they're Eight, its just that you don't worry (care) about it as much. To reiterate my comment over there, you come to realize that there's a window that kidnappers don't want them (when they're not cute babies or cute teenagers I suppose) and they KNOW you have no ransom, so why suffer through the tantrums of a two-year-old or the whines of an eight for a few lousy bucks? With Eight who regularly pushes the limits with how far she'll fall behind on an outing, I suspect to exercise a bit of freedom and personal choice, I usually resort to the "natural consequence" discipline and perk my ears for the potential comment on the loudspeaker blaring my name and my lost child's waiting for me at checkout.
It's actually win-win when you think about it. . .
Anyway. The other night (while the three additional kids and two adults) were visiting we realized at quite a late hour that there was in fact going to be a National Night Out celebration on our block. Big had not napped and was quickly loosing gas, yet I needed to go to the grocery store. I didn't dare leave the one kid nearly voted off the island over the past few days to even my worst enemy and BioMom was not yet home from gathering the bacon.
So off we headed.
The whole way there I attempted to tee up a "quick shop" with him in the big grocery cart, and how we'd go fast like the wind.
When we got there, however, he immediately saw one unused kiddie cart with his name all over it and promptly demanded that he push that instead.
Lesbian Dad's commitment to not use her size/power/strength over the little ones is always in the form of a little devil or angel over my shoulder in such situations, giving advice where needed. Here, I had the time, and possibly the energy to let him push his own cart but, in retrospect, I clearly didn't have the judgment to direct his attention elsewhere and quickly grab him up and into the big cart's kidseat.
Oh, Retrospect, what a frustrating beauty are you?
It all started out okay. He was only distracted for a few minutes with the corner of breakable kid's toys early on in the store, before the veggies and fruit, and I faced an army of friendly shoppers admiring my patience and willingness to shop at a child's pace, and his tedious but determined attempts to move the cart from point A to point B without running over tender Achilles' heels.
He picked out one of those huge bins of organic strawberries on sale now, some onions and asparagus, a lemon and some apples to replenish the refrigerator.
All was going well.
We ran into a parent at Eight's school whom I haven't seen this summer and we got to chatting a bit about the Star Wars Exhibit going on at the Science Museum and Big headed toward the Jelly Belly display, bringing back various options for my review to take home "for the other kids"!
How generous was he to bring a FIVE POUND bag!
I quickly switched it out for a small bag and that marked the beginning of our descent to hell.
He doubled over and screamed that piercing scream that makes you wish you had needles to poke into your eyes and ears to make the pain go away, or at least to inflict more pain in order to make that sound seem relatively less onerous. A veritable symphony in comparison.
The mustard isle distracted him, but now he was on to the Indian pre-made dried meals and got stuck on where to return the box that I refused to purchase.
He gets a little O.C.D.
Two isles later I realized that I had forgotten the pickles. Eff it. There's no going backward now!
We're picking up speed now and I'm leaning down and guiding his little stroller while pulling mine behind me with my less-coordinated lefty, so that it won't hit innocent heels, or dump shelves of canned goods, all to his increasingly loud insistence that HE DO IT!!! Combined with him pulling his little cart away and attempting to fly in the opposite direction: FAST!!! FAST!!! He says.
At this point, the clientèle's are not as impressed and isles frantically clear as we turn corners into them.
I find myself allowing Hershey's strawberry flavor into his cart, something I've never noticed before, let alone purchased, in an attempt to appease his energy and try to tell myself that it is really a feminist purchase as it is pink and I am expanding his options of gender expression through his drink choices.
The syrup bottle had not landed in the basket when Big took the ginormous bin of strawberries and in slow motion, turned it over spilling the entire contents. I felt like Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible dropping to within one inch of the floor with my entire body spanning open and reaching for loose strawberries as they rolled aimlessly.
One woman gave me a sympathetic look and I thought: THIS is my life???
By this time, with my attentions occupied, Big was entirely revved up and began, literally, running up and down the isles giggling and screaming with delight. I would see him at one endcap, grabbing product willy-nilly only to immediately toss aside, head that way, and by the time I got there, he'd be at the opposite one.
His glee growing with geometric proportions to my frustration.
At that point One and Two-Of-Four showed up as though planted there in front of me by GOD himself, a chorus of angels and a beam of light shining down on them.
I'll buy you each anything in the store if you help me now!
For a bottle of liquid yogurt and a box of Mike and Ike's I got my pickles and Big through the checkout and into the carseat.