Thursday, June 3, 2010

All That and a Gallon of Milk

I remember the days, pre-children, where Mike and I would often venture to the local grocery store down the road to pick up something we needed for dinner or to get a little treat. After obtaining the item we came for, we would leisurely walk up and down the aisles to see if there was anything on sale. Back then we ran almost all our errands together, it was almost like going on a date.
Flash forward five years. Although my children are usually pretty good on shopping trips, it is certainly not something I want to do more then necessary. Today, however, we were having bbq chicken sandwiches and bbq chicken sandwiches are really so much better on whole wheat buns than on regular sandwich bread. I also realized we were low on milk. I should have went earlier in the day when the store was less busy, but 5:30 found us joining the throngs of people stopping by the store on their way home from work.
As I was getting the kids from the car, our old nieghbor happend to walk by. Upon seeing me he stopped and upon seeing my huge belly he said loudly,
"You guys are having ANOTHER kid?" I rested my hand on my protruding stomach, smiled and replied that yes we were and we were excited.
"How many kids do you guys have now?" was his response.
"This will be our third"
"Three kids! And you all ain't done yet?" At this I managed to stretch my now kind of fake smile even further and said, "We'll see." I didn't see how it was any of his business to discuss our family's size in the grocery store parking lot.
As he left I saw him shaking his head and saying, "Another baby..." I should have told him we were going for the record, I mean with THREE kids we are well on our way right?

We had come straight from the park where Kiwi had managed to step directly into a huge mud puddle making for one very dirty Dora tennis shoe and a muddy sock. Little Man had a hole in the sleeve of his shirt which had not been there before. As we walked in amidst everyone in their work clothes, I realized how "end of the day" my children looked. You know the look; Kiwi's bow had long ago been discarded and more hair was out of her ponytail then in, along with Little Man's hole in his sleeve he had, at some point in the afternoon, changed from his jeans into a pair of sweats that are borderline too short. Oh, well I told myself. We had been at the park, they played hard and they looked it. There's no shame in that. Let's just get a cart, get our stuff and leave. Here is how the rest of the trip went:

*Children start asking for a sample cookie. I am not sure (Pros: they will sit in the cart and eat it and it's normally just a little cookie. They are hungry so does it really matter if they eat a treat before or after? Cons: It just feels irresponsible to let your children eat a cookie before dinner)
*Kiwi starts doing the potty dance on the way in. Before picking up a cart, we head to the bathroom. The combination of Kiwi being potty trained, Little Man needing to go every time she does, and myself being pregnant basically has us visiting the restroom EVERYWHERE we go.
*As we near the bathroom, both kids spot the square button you can push to open the door automatically. Little Man is quicker.
*Kiwi bursts into a hysterical scream. I quickly usher the kids into the bathroom where I tell them that if they can work this out and stop crying and then sit in the cart they can have a cookie. Little Man tells Kiwi she can push the button on the way out, everyone uses the bathroom, everyone leaves happy.
*Kiwi pushes button and exits through the same door she came in screaming just moments earlier now happily squealing (still loud, but much more tolerable of a noise).
*Pile into the cart (often I let them walk, but it was crowded and I wanted to make this trip quick). And now that I had decided I would let them have a cookie, I figured I should get as much out of it as I can.
*Stop and pick up some produce that is on sale.
*Stop to get the sample cookie. Say hi to the nice woman working at the bakery that recognizes us. Find out that it is not a small cookie being offered today, but a cupcake with swirls of frosting on the top.
*Bakery lady sees my face and offers to take off the frosting (I'm not sure if she was also envisioning my children, especially Kiwi, with frosting in all over their fingers, the cart, their faces, ect. but I'm thankful she offered)
*I gratefully accept offer, partly because of the mess and partly because I am now feeling serious mom guilt about this treat before dinner which is becoming much more of a treat that I had planned and the frosting being scraped off makes it seem a little better.
*Little Man is on the verge of tears about the no frosting development.
*When given the option of cupcake without frosting and no cupcake,the threatening tears immediately dry up and he chooses cupcake.
*Make our way to bread aisle to pick up buns.
*Kiwi drops cupcake on self and picks it up
*I am handed two cupcake wrappers which I am not sure what happened too. I don't remember getting rid of them, I better check my jacket pocket.
*See that the whole wheat "sandwich thin" buns are on sale and buy those (they are really quite tasty)
*Move to milk section, pick up a gallon of the "pink"milk. Our two year old milk addict lets out another happy squeal when it's set in the cart. Little Man keeps reaching his hand out of the cart and trying to touch any signs he can reach. He almost knocks one down in the middle of the aisle.
*Head to the front of the store, kids get the idea that it is fun to run their fingers on the cold outside of the milk carton and lick them.
*For sanitary reasons and because I didn't want a gallon of milk covered in spit, I ask them to stop.
*We get in line.
* I ask them to stop again and tell them this is their warning and if they don't stop they will receive a time out when we get home.
*Children are issued a time out. Milk cartoon licking stops.
*Little Man grabs a Butterfinger from the candy at the front and puts it in the cart. I put it back and tell him we will be discussing how to act at a grocery store when we get home.
*He replies by crossing his arms and stating if Kiwi doesn't need to talk about how to act neither does he.
*While checking out, Kiwi and Little Man are playing some game that consists of sticking their fingers (yes, the same ones that had just been on the milk cartoon and in their mouths) into each others ears and poking each other's faces. They are laughing.
*Teen-ager loading our bag of groceries and milk into the cart laughs uncertainly at them and smiles at me.
*I smile uneasily back and hope that we are out of the store before the game turns from laughing to someone crying.
*We make it outside. The kind old man sitting in his truck who smiles at my kids as we loudly go by makes me feel a little better.
*While getting into van, Little Man manages to stomp on a little bush on one of those islands in the parking lot which we were right next too.
*When we get home, I go to gather groceries and water bottles from the park only to discover that the seal on the milk somehow opened and milk has spilled into our car.
*We go inside and kids do time out. I talk about how to act in a grocery store. I get kids playing and go clean the milk and then come in to start on dinner.
*I feel like I need a nap.
All for a gallon of milk and some sandwich buns.

The next day: I fell asleep writing this post last night and when I read over it this morning I realized that for the most part my kids were just being kids. It's just that sometimes kids being kids in a crowded place at the end of the day when I am already tired can feel overwhelming. We should probably just stick to running errands in the morning when my patience and energy levels are up (I am thirty two weeks now and the tiredness from the early months is creeping back in especially around dinnertime on). Still, sometimes I can't help but wonder when I will be able to visit the grocery store without feeling as if I am accompanied by a ticking time bomb that could go off at any minute...


  1. This all sounds so familiar! What a day! Just wait until baby comes and you'll be searching out the stores that have those obnoxiously huge carts with little cars in the front so you can keep the big kids entertained, have the baby carseat on top and still have room for groceries! Get some rest this weekend!!!

  2. Hilarious! I was laughing so hard! I get anxious with just one little baby and every time she makes a noise I think, "I've pushed it too far, here it goes!" but she usually makes it, but I usually never finish the grocery trip. It works better when I do it myself when dan is home, but it doesn't always get to work that way.