Why am I a moron? Because I went to the grocery store tonight. With everyone. I thought I would be okay. I really did. We went to the store that has those mini shopping carts for Evan. Not the plastics ones, but the ones that are exact replicas of the big carts. We stopped at a restaurant to feed the boys first, thereby eliminating Zachy meltdowns, and away we went.
And it worked. Smooth sailing as I went to the baby aisle to get diapers and wipes refills. And to the detergent aisle to get…well, detergent. And dish soap, and more hair elastics for moi. I was doing great. And I was starting to feel all smug and uber-Mom-ish. And then we made the mistake of going into the ice cream aisle. And despite my protests that, “No, Evan. That is not good for our bodies”, my oldest child started to run with his little mini cart. To which Zach responded by trying to turn around in the cart, going “BaBaaaaa?”. And then, while he was turned around, he happened to notice that, hey, there’s stuff in there behind me. And he started to try to reach into the depths of the cart to retrieve what I could only assume was the most fascinating fucking packaging ever because the little one almost fell out of the damned cart a gajillion and one times. And then Evan got more bored as the Mario-Andretti-hits-the-Supermarket act got old. So he started reciting what he saw on the shelves like he was announcing fabulous prizes on a damned game show. “And what do we have here? Why it’s pepperoni sticks, folks. Made by Hormel for the price of $3.29!”.
Yeah, I’m not kidding.
So John and I develop this dance: Since I cannot take a hand off of Zach, he steps to the cart when I stop, so his protective hand replaces mine, freeing me to step to the shelves and do silly Mom stuff like read nutrition information or compare prices. Once done, I resume my place as restraint of the Zachary, and off we go. In the meantime, Evan gets tired of Gameshow routine and has now caught a case of the “Can-I-Can-I-Can-I’s”. Can I have the all Crunchberry cereal? The Pop Tarts, the chocolate chip waffles? Can I have this Hot Wheel? How about this brand of pizza because I don’t like the whole wheat crust you picked out? But Mo-oooooom, I will die if you don’t pack a Lunchable in my lunch every day.”
All while I’m trying to keep Zach’s head from splattering on the floor while keeping track of my non-list in my head, accompanied by the budget I have set for myself. (By the way, why is it that in my probable OCD state, I make lists all the time, but I never. ever make grocery lists?) So what does Uber-Mom do in this situation? Well she turns it into a lesson, of course. About sugar and the Krebs Cycle and cell metabolism. How we don’t need that sugar, and though whole wheat tortillas/ bread/ pasta/ pizza crust may not taste exactly like the crappy white kind, it is better for our bodies because it isn’t refined and over-processed, contains dietary fiber, which prevents heart disease. Blah blah blah. I might as well have sounded like Charlie Brown’s teacher. You know. Wa Wa Wa Wa Waaaaaaah. And in the meantime Zach is getting antsy and fussy because, dammit, he still cannot get at the bright packaging that has now been covered with healthy food choices, much to Ev’s dismay, So I get the brilliant idea to let John push the cart while I hold Zachy’s hand and let him walk throught the store with me.
Because now not only can Zach see the bright packaging on the shelves, but he can reach it too. Smart one on my part. I tried to distract him by handing him a bag of pretzels to carry. He got pissed instead, throwing the pretzels to his feet and giving me that Zachy grunt that basically means, “Go to hell, Mom.” He wouldn’t budge from his spot. He wanted to get at the stuff. I tried to pick him up, but he screamed and flailed and arched his back, and I was afraid I was going to drop him. So instead, I grabbed some Goldfish crackers from the shelf, ripping open the bag like the cure for cancer was in it and I was Stage 4. And I proceeded to back my ass through the store while luring Zach with “pish crackers”. Think Hansel and Gretel with their bread crumbs, only I didn’t throw them on the floor, but instead held them out for Zach to see. Sure enough, offer him food, and he will come running. The benefit is that this little song and dance distracted me from the Can-I’s from Evan.
Lo and behold, we made it to the checkout before Zach threw himself prostrate on the floor in a screaming hissy fit. I hissed at John to give me the shopper’s card and the debit card and sweep and remove. Meaning: “Take his screaming ass to the car! Now!” He did, but he took forever. And Zach’s screams could be heard for miles. In the meantime, Evan is emptying his mini cart onto the belt. But not the normal way. Nope. He’s tossing frozen pizzas like frisbees, shouting, “I’m the PIZZA MASTER!”. And I must look like I am about to die as I hand the cashier the open bag of pish crackers to ring up, explaining that I was desperate.
“Honey, don’t feel bad. Earlier, we had a mom in here who had to open a gallon of milk and give her kids Lunchables to get through the store.”
At least I’m not the only one.
What about you? Do your shopping trips involve extreme tactics? If not, how do you do it?