The Joys of Shopping With a Toddler
I am one of those salmonella and germ phobic mothers. You know the ones that grab at least three or more sanitary wipes and scrubs down the cart before placing our child inside? Yeah, that is me. If we do not have the seat cover with us, I guarantee you that cart will be scrubbed down as though I am trying to pass a sanitation inspection! I get many looks from people. But, that is alright because I can shop assure knowing my child’s rearend and hands (because they always end up in his mouth) will be touching a clean surface. But, anyways, back to the joy of shopping…
We go through the aisles, he is hanging out the side like a monkey in a tree. Why? Because, in my family we do not give birth to children; we birth wild animals. And ones that have more energy than ten children combined. You also want to avoid clothing aisles because those little monkeys will drag hangers and all with you as you pass by, leaving a trail of clothes behind you, to which you must turn around and place back on the racks, meanwhile trying to hold them back and push their hands away from grasping the objects again. And also hoping they have not tossed anything out of the cart that you have placed in…because they. will. do. that. Why? Because their soul purpose at this stage in life is to give you heart attacks and drive you crazy.
You will learn to put all items that they know are theirs at the bottom of the cart and anything light enough for them to pull to the front with them or toss on the floor. And you will ponder to yourself things like: “I wonder why someone has not invented a shopping cart with a plexi glass window on the back of a child’s seat for occurrences such as these?” Or “Dear lord, what is that smell? I hope it is gas because I really do not want to leave my entire cart full of groceries in front of the bathroom. I am nearly done.” But, that is part of the Murphy’s Law for Children. They never have to go potty before they leave or enter a store. It is always in the middle of shopping, right before checkout, right when you are LEAVING the store, or when you are on the road and there is nowhere to stop.
You will also learn to pack an extra outfit because surprise messes only occur when you do not have a back-up outfit because you forgot to put another one in from the last “accident.” It’s the only time explosions ever occur.
So, now you are at the checkout and your toddler decides those coupons in your hand look like a fun thing to play with. And so begins the tug-of-war with his little hands…and those little fingers which can be compared to vice grips because you just about need the Jaws of Life to pry anything from them.
You pick up the ripped coupons from the floor and hand them to the cashier, explaining why they were ripped and apologizing for it, for reasons still unknown to you. You began “trying” to place your bagged items in the cart whilst trying to dodge small grasping hands. You pay for your purchases while trying to hold down a wiggling tot with the other because they are flexible little wonders and can stretch and wiggle out of seat belts even when strapped in firmly. Yep, try to explain that one.
And on the way home, you rattle your brain because, somehow, shopping is more tiresome than cleaning. And then your thoughts wander to what you are going to fix for dinner the entire week and what chores await you tomorrow…until you snap back into reality as your husband is asking you to please exchange toys from said toddler because he is shining his toy flashlight (with many different settings for colors) on the windshield, in front of his father while he is driving (of course because why shine it anyplace else? What fun would that be? Right?) So, you do your best yoga stretch to retrieve the toy. But, kids can read minds so the toy goes to the other hand, pulling it away from your reach, only for the light to begin bouncing across the windshield. Now, you packed it because he enjoys playing with it. Did you mean to come home at Sunset? No. But, when shopping with children you need to multiply your trip by like three or even five because it ALWAYS takes longer with children. Always.