Every time I take my kids with me on a quick trip to the grocery store, I have this delusion that they will be well behaved and that I will somehow get through it with a shred of my sanity still intact. Alas, that has yet to happen.
I am reminded of the quote, which may or may not have come from Albert Einstein, “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” It probably comes to no one’s surprise, that by this standard, I am quite insane.
Take today, for instance. I wanted to dash ever-so-quickly into the store, grab some milk, grapes, and whatever will help make the polar vortex (part deux) bearable. My son suggested at first that I should leave him and his sister in the car.
There is no way on God’s snowy Earth that I would do this. Now, I know my parents left me in the car to run quick errands, and while they were gone, I’d read, pretend to drive their brown whale of a Cadillac, eat all of the Certs I could find, and play with the cigarette lighter. No kids were harmed in this act of temporary abandonment and I am clearly not too scarred by this. Now, I, on the other hand, have two bundles of joy that would get bored in about two seconds, find some way to put the car into gear and proceed to run into other cars, shopping carts and delicate old ladies.
So, I try to nip that in the bud as I find a parking space. Since the world figures it’s OK to park like an a-hole because it’s snowing, it takes me awhile. The whole time I hear, “But mom, we’ll be good. I mean, Papa lets us do it all the time.” Papa is my father-in-law. I make a mental note to have words with him later. Or, have my husband talk to him, because I am a wuss.
I bundle the kids up and get them out of the car. The stomp on, squish, and shuffle their way through every pile of black, scummy snow in the parking lot. Of course they do. Because that looks like oodles of fun.
The first fight we have is about what cart to get. They want to get the cart with a car attached to the front. I hate these things with a passion. They are unwieldy, the cart part itself is smaller than a standard cart, and my kids only stay in them for approximately three aisles, or until they see something they just have to touch. Repeatedly. That I means I am left pushing this monstrosity into cereal displays, canned goods, and generally looking like I am a character in a comedy sketch, rather than the super competent mother I am. I would rather shave my eyebrows than get one of these damn carts.
Somehow, I win the cart battle but then lose my daughter to a pouting fit because I won’t let her ride one of those germ-infested kiddie rides the grocery store has that, frankly, she is too big for. I need milk, not pinkeye.
I could regale you with my adventures once I was in the store, but I don’t want you to suffer the way I have. You might start to twitch and feel compelled to soothe yourself by singing “Soft Kitty” or with a magnum of wine. It was pretty much an endless stream of, “Please don’t touch every apple… No, we do not need doughnuts… I am not buying a $20 piece of As Seen on TV crap, I don’t care how silky it makes your hair… Where the hell did you wander off to now?”
I finally get to the checkout and think I am just a credit card swipe away from freedom, when the kids see it. Sweet mother of all things holy. It’s a GIANT flipping plush animal display. Surrounded by candy. The grocery store wizards decide to put their Valentine’s Day goods right next to the checkout lanes. Oh, I know why. It’s so children, just like mine, see the teddy bears the size of a calf and want them with every fiber of their little being. They LOVE these smiling pink unicorns SO MUCH that they become limp, crying noodles at the sight of them. Now, Jeremy Renner with a pink unicorn? Then we can talk. Until, then kids, get it together.
Let’s just forget for a moment that if I did buy the damn thing, wrestle it home in my car and lug it up to my daughter’s room, she would play with it for all of a day and then move on to another plushy friend.
Typically in these situations, I create a little song and dance about how we can’t get it right now, and what ever holiday may be next on the calendar is coming, so we can get it then. Every time. I don’t care if the next holiday is Arbor Day. I will say anything to get them away from the shiny, pretty thing they have fixated on. I know that some people are thinking, “Just say no. Discipline your children and they will learn they cannot have everything they ask for.” Uh huh. Because I’ve never tried that before. My children have worn me down to the point where I am a desperate woman. I am almost at the point where I will offer them Doritos and a Mountain Dew if that’s what it will take to move them along. I am not proud. I am practical. I value my sanity.
I make it out of there by the skin of my teeth. But, like any good horror story, it’s not over. Not by a long shot. Because I’m pretty sure we’re going to need dog food, toilet paper, or wine. And I am willing to risk a expedition to the grocery store for wine.
To be continued…