This is a repost of one of my FaceBook Notes. I have two other posts ready to go, but they need the pictures first - have to bake some cookies for those! In the meantime, here is one to lighten your day and remind all you moms-of-toddlers out there that we all have one of "those days" sometimes!
I know I cannot compare having my four children with those of my sister-in-law and brother (with 7,) my mother (6,) or my grandmother (10,) but with my "paltry" four, every day has the promise of adventure. On some of the most adventurous days, a sense of humor is an absolute requirement of parenthood.
On one day in particular, I needed to go grocery shopping. I left my two oldest children at home, where their pop was sleeping for work. They were instructed to get a couple of chores done before I returned. So instead of taking my two biggest shopping helpers, I took Bruiser and Buttercup, the two youngest. On the way to the store, about 25 minutes away (and yes, the prices are often worth the drive), Buttercup fell asleep (YAY!) She continued to sleep on my shoulder for the first fifteen minutes of grocery shopping ease.
Then... she woke up. Now (I thought) I have my hands free to get everything faster and can move more quickly. Nothing but a good thing, until the 5 yo spoke from somewhere around my mid-section, "I'm hungry."
Okay, we'll finish up and get a snack to eat on the way home. No sweat, right?
Special Mom Tip 1: don't leave your oldest helpers at home without bringing snacks along for the younger children. They WILL get hungry and shopping WILL take longer than normal!
In the produce section, the peaches were on sale, next to the not-so-cheap cherries. I drifted toward the peaches and as I finished bagging up a couple of pounds worth, I noticed my darling son's bulging cheeks, and guilty countenance. Commence Operation "Remove Cherry." I took the half-chewed cherry from his mouth (Warning: Only daring mothers should attempt to remove food from the mouth of a hungry 5 year old!), explained that eating produce that needs to be weighed to pay for it is stealing, and guiltily threw away the remaining portion.
Special Mom Tip 2: Keep an eye out for ways the oldest child available can help out. Even a five-year-old can be kept busy looking for the ripest peaches or run to get produce bags. Alternately, be prepared to push one of those monstrously heavy two-seater carts, but be warned: they come with problems of their own toward the end of the store!
A kind store employee happened to be cutting up peaches to give out as samples nearby. She gave one to the child and I accepted one for the toddler to refuse. Instead, Buttercup was pointing to the bag of *whole* peaches in the cart, saying, "Appo' Appo'" while I smeared peach juice on her mouth in an effort to show her that it-really-does-taste-good-and-you-DO-want-to-eat-it.
Thankfully, she got the message. Buttercup ate two pieces while Bruiser had three. So far, so good on the solo grocery front. As the peaches were nibbled away, I ran to the deli to get some special cheeses and hummus and then headed for the tomatoes and avocados. I got the avocados ice cream and turned to get the tomatoes - just in time to see Buttercup munching on one as if it were an "appo!" Take the tomato, put it in the bag with the rest and just keep moving.
Special Mom Tip 3: Most free samples are a good thing, even better when they're healthy, but keep wet-wipes handy!
While I fetched the onions, she was pulling bits and pieces, bags and boxes up out of the basket of the cart. Soon she found the feta from the deli and proceeded to pull the price stickers off (including the bit with the bar code!); over in the egg section, she took hold of the four bananas, bit into the skin of one and started peeling it open; freezer section: open the veggie-chicken patties and tear into them. What is this?! Todd-zilla??
We finally reached the last hurdle: Lobsters. Quick peek at the lobster tank should satisfy her, right? No. Three or four (or five?) minutes later, I pried her away from the tank to continue to the check out line, she screamed. Quick! Grab a cranberry drink on the fly, pop it open and shove it towards her - ahhh, blessed silence. In the check out line, the saga only continued as she tried to help put groceries on the moving belt, stood up in the basket seat to help and had someone come to "help" her sit back down (we're good, thanks,) and the bagger pointed out that the veggie-chicken patties were opened. (Yes, thank you, I'm aware.)
Meanwhile, older moms all through the store are giving me sympathetic nods and cheering remarks ("I've been there - keep it up!") while the men were giving wide berth as they worked to move around me in the confines of the aisles.
Final Special Mom Tip: When you think things are at their worst, remember that you're not the first to struggle through the store with younger children. Yours are not the loudest, the most ill-behaved, etc. and your perception of what is "bad" can always be corrected by the employees, who can tell you stories of other children that will make your hair stand on end. In the case where you think YOUR child is the hair-raiser, remember to laugh, whether or not you feel like it - in the end, it's a great story for later and if no one is dead or injured, life is going to continue on and all will be okay.
The coup de gras came when I took my own groceries to the car (I can arrange the groceries the way I like them!) I left the cart behind the car while I strapped Buttercup-turned-Todd-zilla into the seat. As I rounded the car, I noticed that my groceries had gone missing! The cart had turned about and headed back down the hill towards the store, groceries and all. I can only assume that the peaches didn't want to be next!