Friday, April 3, 2009
Yesterday, in an attempt to give myself more sewing time in the evening, I took all 3 kids to the grocery store. What was I thinking?!?! I ended up parking far away because I had spied an abandoned "kid" cart. You know the ones, they have the little plastic car down front that two kiddlettes can ride in. Sure it leads to a lot of "she's touching me Mom" or "she needs a time-out Mom" but at least they can be strapped in and safe, leaving room for the baby up top. All the while I try not to obsess about the germs they are touching, telling myself it helps boost their immune systems. Is that really true?
When I reached that abandoned cart, I saw that there was gum by the handle. And even though I wouldn't have to touch it, it just grossed me out. Ewww...Have I told you about my strange, irrational fear of gum? Well, I have a strange, irrational fear of gum. I shudder now just thinking about it. Instead of moving the truck closer to the entrance, I decided that we can all walk from way back here. After all, it's only 40* out and we could use the fresh air. We did just brave another Minnesota winter and I saw neighbors outside today wearing short sleeve t-shirts and people driving with their windows down.
Once we got into the store, I discovered to my horror that there were no more "kid" carts left. Woah...I hadn't expected this. I was left with no choice but to let the girls walk along side of me. I wasn't going back to that horrible, gum-infested cart in the parking lot. No way! What's the big deal you say? Why can't your kids just walk in the store? I know my husband thinks I'm a wimp, but then he hasn't had an experience like this yet.
Once inside the store, the girls immediately turned into space cadets. It became extremely difficult to get them to stay with me, and out of people's way. And dodging the day-time stocking that seemed to be happening in every isle, became an Olympic event and proved to be just as much of a head-ache as the busy Saturday morning traffic I was trying to avoid. I kid you not, we were there for 2 hours. All the while I'm listening to serenades of "it's too much walking Mama" from Emily and "I want a starburst treat" from Allison.
Before we left home, I had told the girls that they could each buy one treat with money from their piggy banks. We've been trying to teach them about money, and tithing to God with the money that He gives us, and how we are just stewards of that money. They each brought along 4 quarters and I had it all planned out. My polite, well-disciplined little girls would quickly pick out one candy bar (preferably M&M's) at the check-out. Then they would each hand their treat and money to the cashier saying "please and thank you" and they would come away having learned an invaluable lesson about the power of money. I'm talking actual cash, not the usual debit card they see me use all the time. Keep reading to see how that fantasy was swiftly dashed.
The incessant begging came to a screaming halt when we landed in the Easter candy isle. Feeling at my whit's end (I didn't have the luxury of reading to the end of the story, had I known what else I was in store for me, I may have put up more of a fight at this point...but maybe not), I allowed them each to pick out a bag of candy. Not just a lone candy bar, but a whole bag. It was on sale. What was I thinking? I was thinking that if they had something big to carry, that wasn't easily opened, it would keep their attention long enough to finish the shopping task at hand and I wouldn't spoil their lunch.
Lunch...lunch...is it lunchtime already? I knew I was forgetting something. No wonder Allison looks as pale as a ghost, the poor thing is starving and probably suffering from low blood sugar. Feeling like a horrible Mother, I check my phone and sure enough, it's almost 1pm by now. Well past lunchtime. I guess that's what happens when my goal of leaving the house by 9am is met by a hungry baby, no clean clothes to be found and the strong desire to take a shower (I did skip the make-up and hair though). We didn't leave home until 11.
Maybe it's the sight of a mother with 3 children, or just the infant carseat, that acts like a magnet to people with more time on their hands than I have. Something makes them want to stop and talk to us and give all sorts of reasons why Sam has red cheeks, or how Emily is wearing 2 left kitty cat rain boots and Allison 2 rights. And some people felt that draw 2 or 3 times throughout the obstacle course. I swear half the people shopping, knew my kids names and ages by the time we left the store. All I could think about was "are the reds in my washer going to bleed on each other if I don't leave right now?"
At the end of our rounds, because they had done such a good job of walking with Mommy and only one box of Scoobie Doo dogbone graham crackers had found their way into our cart and they had only tipped over 999 of the 1000 bottles of shampoo in that last isle, I let them get a cookie from the free "Kids Cookie Club." Always a highlight. About 3 minutes later as we entered the check-out isle, Allison dropped hers on the floor. Oh the tears. They were quickly shut off when I opened her bag of Starbursts....ahhhh...bribery at it's finest.
Just when I thought I was going to escape without anymore uphill battles, Emily announces that she has to go potty. Now there is no hope of them buying their own treats, so I threw them in with rest of our loot. Thankfully she's good at holding it, so I was able to finish up and bag everything in record time. They were good sports about sitting at the end of the bagging isle for me.
When I finally finished, I wheeled our overflowing, half ton cart, over to the restrooms and brought them all inside. All the while, hoping that my $175 cart would still be there when we got out. Of course they both freaked out about the noisy hand dryers and the loud auto-flushing toilets. While washing her hands, Allison's coat got quite wet and she refused to put it back on (it's 40* outside mind you). I'm all hot and sweaty by now and trying to ignore my growling tummy.
On our way to the car, there were two bags that kept wanting to fall off, I had one bag hanging from my wrist and I made the girls each hold one side of the cart. I couldn't see over Sam's carrier on top and the darn thing is super hard to steer by now. Who am I kidding? It was super hard to steer from the first push.
Then the unthinkable happens, just as we are halfway in the middle of the parking lot, Allison falls under the wheels. I didn't see it happen, I only knew that I couldn't push anymore. The poor thing starts screaming and I see her on her knees, with a wheel between her legs which are all crooked and her 2 right-feet rain boots had fallen off. I still don't know exactly what happened. In one swift movement, I scoop her and her boots up and push the cart, one-handed, over to the curb. Once there, we all sit on the ground. I'm holding her and crying myself, trying to assess her wounds, while she calms down. What amazes me is that everyone just keeps walking/driving by us. I guess it shouldn't amaze me, but it did. I mean, if I had seen that happen (and we were quite a sight) I would have at least offered to push the cart for someone in that situation. I had the same feeling I did last summer when I was hugely pregnant and trying to maneuver 10, 50 # bags of cedar mulch into the back of the truck. I guess sometimes I try to do the impossible and that's an understatement.
Realizing that no permanent damage has been done and that she's fine now, we keep moving. We are almost to the truck when my cart hits a pothole. The soda I had on the shelf below falls off, in front. So now I'm trying to get it all back on, lift the half ton cart up out of the pot hole, muttering something under my breath about Minnesota winters and pot-holes and yelling at the girls to stand on the curb and not to move, so fearful that they will step out from behind the cart and get hit by a car.
As I sit here typing this, we still don't have clean clothes in our drawers, and half of the groceries are sitting in bags outside the pantry. I was too tired to devote much time to sewing last night and if I hadn't started my roast in the cock pot that morning, dinner might have been cereal.
In case you are ever wondering what is going through the mind of a mother at the grocery store, who's kids are begging for treats or walking smack down the middle of the isle while looking behind them...this may just be her story.