Grocery Shopping With A Toddler
My husband and I are shopping lovers from way back. Before we became Mr. and Mrs, we each had our own inappropriate love of shopping. Fashionable trends, shiny must haves, impulse buys, and the thoughtful and loving “just because” purchases for our friends and loved ones. This is not solely a love of clothes, shoes and shiny things, we just plain love shopping, period. We make a day out of a Target run, getting groceries, picking produce at farmers markets, and boutique window shopping and errands. We also love sharing, gifting and giving; it’s a blessing and a curse. Together, the hubs and I have become a shopping force, making our way around Lancaster County in search of our weekly menu items, new smell goods, restocked toiletries, cleaning supplies and the occasional need to feed our mix of retro-quirky-preppy style. We love window-shopping, the “one day” dream shopping, online-shopping and shopping-shopping. We are perfectly matched and partnered to cast and reel each other in when one of us realizes the toddler’s closet can clothe the neighborhood, I’ve accumulated five different colored new oxfords or his collection of workout gear has reached Nike factory levels.
The thing I cherish most is that we do everything together. With the husband traveling for work often, it is nice that when he’s home we make every moment count. The man even goes to Ulta with me folks! And I’ll go help him pick out some work out clothes or a new leaf blower from the Lowe’s, we’re a team! After we got married and had a little spud of our own we added her to our love of errands, groceries and shenanigans. She has been carted around quietly and calmly in the car seat, stroller or buggy and she is the cutest little companion we could have ever asked for. She was the perfect addition to our love of cutesy eateries and afternoons of groceries and errand fun. We were fools for thinking our days of shopping fun would remain the same once she was mobile…
Fast forward to her being a nineteen month old toddler who does not like to be contained, wants to touch everything and likes to take off at full speed like a lunatic as soon as she’s left to her own devices. Shopping trips have become a little bit more rushed, frantic, and sticky. There are days, like yesterday where I feel like we are sprinting through the isles like two thick and out of breath athletes, tossing fruit, veggies, juice boxes and toddler snacks in the buggy all while trying to keep her entertained and occupied. “Do you want to go real fast baby?!” I say to her when we get a clear isle. “Yes!” She squeals. I take her down the isle as fast and safely as possible and she just laughs and giggles the whole way down. “More, More!” She says when we’ve reached the end. Two seconds later while I’ m trying to pick out a decent bunch of cilantro and she is fussin’ and whinin’ and asking to “Walk, Walk,” Like we’ve been holding her prisoner for weeks is when I open up my Mary Poppins bag of fun and unleash the mommy trickery. Am I the only awful mother out there that turns to snacks to keep her toddler distracted? “Baby girl, do you want a snack?” Umm, duh, yes she wants a snack! Snacks are this kids only weakness! While the hubs is mulling over which deal on meats is best or which Halo flavor we’ll be trying this week I’m shaking cereal, gummies, raisins or a juice box in front of her like she’s a damn labrador. “Who wants a snack?”
After making it through the grocery store and checking off all the items on our list, and feeling like we’re winning at this parenting gig because we managed to distract her this time from the giant caged ball display (she’s gotten three this summer), this kid goes into overtime at the checkout line. Why, oh why do they put all the magazines, junk food, and tiny bullshit items at the checkout? Pre-baby I never thought twice about all that crap at the end of the store. “Oh, I meant to get some gum, let me grab that. Purell, travel sized tylenol, why not?” That, however is when the toddler turns into a daredevil, trying to hurl herself out of the shopping cart to put her chubby, sticky little fingers on whatever she can grab. She’s never even eaten candy before, and she still thinks whatever is up there she absolutely needs. That’s the moment I toss the reusable bags at my husband and our VIP card and take the toddler out of the cart to burn off some energy before we try to strap her into the carseat and she acts like we are trying to murder her.
As soon as her little feet hit the grocery store floor she takes off running and I go after her, because its my job. She is grabbing at magazines, chips, and whatever else she can get to before I veer her into another direction. This little lunatic just takes off down the isles laughing and giggling like she’s at Disney land. After what seems like an eternity I spot a little kids area with tiny seats and a table. Of course she sits down and wants to hold all twenty-four of the colored pencils in her hands at one time and draw on anything but the paper that was provided. “Color! Color!” Yes, baby girl. Please color. At this point I’m in a full sweat and I’m just glad I had on workout clothes, to give off the impression that I went to the gym. When in reality I was just chasing a nineteen month old ball of pure energy around the grocery store. As I start to catch my breath a mother of three has just finished checking out. She looked beautifully exhausted, carrying one kid with one arm, pushing a cart full of groceries with her other arm, while the kid in the cart was screaming at the top of his lungs. Her third and oldest child was walking next to her whining about something or another that she didn’t buy him. I’m sure it was that bullshit candy at checkout. She, was glowing and looked annoyed and unbothered at the same time. She’s my hero. There she was handling three little lunatics like a champ, and I’m sweatin’ over one pint sized stinker still in diapers. We spot each other and lock eyes, and for just one moment we had an entire conversation with one tired smile and a head nod. The conversation consisted of us laughing and crying in solidarity of the chaos and beauty that is motherhood.
Keep your heads up Mommas! We got this!