Friday, September 10, 2010

Grocery Shopping

As most mom's do, I do the major bulk of the grocery shopping and errands that keep our house running. And, as those of you with small children do, I do most of the running around with children in tow. But, as only some of you can understand, doing those errands with two small boys who have their fair share of issues becomes an exercise in patience and sheer determination.

So, this is how a normal trip to the grocery store shakes down in our world. First, I get my self ready, have my list, clothe bags and coupons and keys laid out. Now I have to get two boys to put on their shoes. Oh me oh my. They are both totally capable of putting on their shoes, but this one simple act can turn into a 30 minute battle. Shoes get torn off, socks thrown, there is kicking and tears and general unhappiness. By the time we all get into the van, I am already stressed and grumpy.

Next comes the battle of the carseats. Again, they are totally capable of getting into their seats and fastening the seatbelts. Instead, someone climbs over someone else and kicks them in the process, the seatbelts won't fasten, the carseat is crooked, etc etc etc. The van doesn't move until everyone is properly belted in. Safety above all else. Besides, I tried hooking the carseats on the roof rack but they scratched the paint.

Now the drive to the store. Mommy, can we have a surprise? Mommy, can we get candy? Mommy, there is a blue car. Mommy, mommy, mommy. They yell at each other because they keep interrupting each other with their non-sense jabbering. Someone is kicking the seat, someone is trying to roll the window down (they are locked) someone is tattling on the other someone. I listen to the radio and breathe deeply.

We have a pretty good parking lot routine. I get the boys out of the van and they have to hang onto my pockets while I get my purse and bags. Then we all hold hands and walk into the store. Seth goes in the seat of the cart and Ahren in the big basket part. If I need a lot of groceries I get another cart to pull along with us. Now the fun starts. I begin turbo shopping, moving up and down the aisles with stealth precision and a deadly determination. Along the way I deal with the constant double stream of jabber, the in-appropriate topics of conversation that pop up and make others stare at us, the super-loud voice of Seth and the constant whining of Ahren (he thinks if he tells me his butt hurts I will let him out of the cart) I have to keep an eye on the food because they are prone to mashing the food or opening items when my back is turned. (Did you know a 4 year old is capable of taking a bite out of a package of hotdogs, plastic and all?)

The check out routine is also pretty good. As I unload the items, the boys get out of the cart and then move to the sacking area where they have to stand with their hands on the edge. This works as long as I do not try and use the self-check lane. I did that the other day and Ahren began twirling all over the place, knocking over a display of gumballs. I kept reeling him in and having him stand next to me, but he was just too out of control to stay put. At one point as another woman barreled through, he flung himself right in front of her cart. I reached out and snatched him back, but instead of getting his shirt collar, I got him by his hair. Well, that woman gasped and looked at me like she wanted to smack me. How dare I pull my childs hair like that! Ahren, in the meantime, kept on twirling and bounced off another display case. She huffed out and I got the rest of the groceries and booked it to the car, looking over my shoulder for the police coming to bust me for abusing my son.

Again with the carseat battle, the jabbering drive and the fight to get mommy's attention. Unloading the groceries involves trying to get the boys into the house and stay there, don't let the dogs out because the little one runs away, try not to trip over boys with my arms loaded down as they plop in the hallway to take off their shoes, and fend them off as they try and eat everything I just bought.

What does help? Make sure they are not hungry. Make it as short as possible. Have a routine, like our parking lot one, that is never broken. Keep a sense of humor. Have a list so you don't forget something and have to make extra trips. Try incentives like they get gum if they do something, but be very specific about what it is they have to do. Just telling them they have to be good doesn't work. It's too vague. And if everything else fails, pull hair and buy wine.


Krystal said...

Wendy, it is a little creepy just how similar all of this sounds to me taking my kids out. I'm so impressed that your boys will hold onto your pockets in the parking lot routine. I cannot open the van doors until I am completely ready to enforce the death grip on my little runners!

I'm glad your having fun :)

Reba said...

Sounds VERY familiar. The last time I remember going with all four (sometime last year), I said I would NEVER do it again. Ever. My six year old (Guatemalan) has NO awareness of personal space. She also has a knack for walking while looking behind her so she runs into things, people, whatever. Both of my young ones (3 and 6) also have some of the loudest voices I have ever heard. Now I often go to the store late at night when hubby is at home and the kids are headed to bed. If we really need something, I go on my lunch hour or send an errand list to hubby to do on his way home. My nerves couldn't take any more trips. I so understand where you are coming from.

Bethany said...

Your grocery store trip almost made me spew my coffee all over my computer! LOL! I only have one, so I don't really know what you're up against, but I know with one how difficult it can be. I can only imagine with two little boys! Love the wine comment though! :)