Friday, September 23, 2011

New Thing #47: Hangin' in the grocery cart & in the park

If you are one of those well-organized people, you probably have an ongoing list of things you need to pick up at the store. You probably go out on a regular basis and you never have one of those "okay, everybody! Tonight we're having water chestnuts, chick peas, tuna and rice for dinner because that is all we have left in the cupboard" moments. I bet you even menu-plan so that you know what you're having for dinner every night and you're not scratching your head at four o'clock, wondering what you're going to make tonight.

While I have big dreams of being one of those well-organized people, I am definitely not there yet. Oh sure, I can take note that we're running low on milk or diapers and make sure either Daddy or I pick some up before we end up giving the LP water and using old tea towels to keep them dry. That part I've got down pat. When it comes to grocery shopping, however, it seems to be something I get to every three weeks or so. And usually by the time I realize it's time to go, we're running low on absolutely everything and are making creative dishes out of what we have left. Just the other night, Daddy made a salad for us that consisted of lettuce, green peppers and shredded cheese. While it was delicious, it was a reminder to me that once again, we were low on everything.

I love grocery shopping. Wait...let me correct that. I love grocery shopping by myself, leisurely touring up and down the aisles, reading labels, thinking up new ideas for meals that are both healthy and delicious. I love grocery shopping with Daddy because we joke around with each other, sample things and mutually come up with new ideas for meals. I love grocery shopping with Daddy and the LP because it usually becomes a streamlined, efficient venture that leads to us buying new and interesting things. I do not love grocery shopping when it is just me and the LP. I'm going to be straight-up honest about that. It becomes a frantic beat-the-clock experience, where I am simultaneously trying to figure out what to buy while trying to keep them happy and quiet. I usually end up with a mish-mash of items in the cart and I always forget some essential item. There is usually at least one open box of baby cookies that goes through the checkout with many of the cookies missing. My whole goal is to get through the experience without anyone melting down or destroying something, myself included.

I've been trying to get us to the grocery store a few times this week but it hasn't happened yet. Today, therefore, had to be the day. I put LP2 in the front of the cart and LP1 in the back and we set out. LP2 was happy to sit in the front of the cart and tell me stories. LP1, on the other hand, wanted her shoes off. She wanted to try to eat everything that was put in the cart. She didn't like the way I was arranging things in the cart. Sigh. She spotted some small pumpkins stacked up and promptly announced that she NEEDED a pumpkin. They were 99 cents. A small price to pay for quiet. The pumpkin went into the cart with her and there was silence for an entire aisle as she played with it. Naturally it became LP2's turn to make some noise. He started to fuss and cry, tired of sitting in the cart. He came out of the cart and LP1 went into the front with her pumpkin. Have you ever tried to push a half-full cart with a baby on one hip and a toddler in the front? It takes work.

When both of them began to fuss again and LP1 started yelling that she was hungry, I smooshed (technical term) both of them into the front, ripped open a box of baby cookies and gave them both one. We had peace again and I was able to get us through the store. We talked about things we needed to buy and LP1 gave suggestions about things she thought would be good. I must confess, I was pleasantly surprised at what a fun time we were having today. We got through the checkout and bagging with no problems.

It was not until I was trying to load the groceries into the trunk that the problems started. I had put LP2 in his car seat, left the door open and was about to put LP2 in her seat when LP2 decided he had reached his limit for the day. I can't blame him; there is only so much you can expect from a ten month old. He was tired, he was hungry, he likely had a wet diaper and the sun was directly in his face. He didn't just begin to wail, however - he let out a full-volume I'm-terribly-upset howl. Loudly. So loudly, in fact, that a man two rows over stopped what he was doing to check us out. He had such a look of concern on his face that I am convinced he thought I was abusing my children. I felt his eyes burning through me. I wanted to yell "everything is fine! He just wants to go home and not be in a carseat anymore!" I tried to settle LP2 down, got LP1 in the car, fired the groceries into the trunk and got out of there as fast as I could.

Once they were home, freed from being in a carseat or cart and had some lunch, the LP were fine. They happily went down for naps and I started the process of putting all the groceries away. I feel like that takes almost as long as the shopping itself. Auntie K sent me a message, noting it was a beautiful last official day of summer and wondering if we would like to go for a walk with her. I knew the LP would absolutely love this, so I invited her over. She arrived just as they woke up from their naps. We put the LP in the ninky nonk and set out for the park.

There were some other kids playing at the park. When LP1 saw them, she said "excuse me big kids, but it is my turn now!" Auntie K and I dissolved into laughter at that. I took LP2 and played on a car made out of metal and benches. He liked turning the built-in steering wheels. Auntie K took LP1 on the monkey bars, the slide and the zipline. When I noticed the two of them yelling into this flower-shaped thing, LP2 and I snuck over to the other one on the opposite side of the playground. I knew that somehow these things were set up so you could have a conversation through them and I was reasonably sure that neither Auntie K nor LP1 were aware of this. As they were leaning close to theirs, I got close to ours and yelled "HELLO?!" I think it startled both of them. It wasn't long until all of us were laughing uncontrollably. We played at this for quite awhile.

After a brief interlude on the swings, we reluctantly headed home. I think some free time at the park was just what the LP needed after their imprisonment in the grocery cart earlier in the day. Now that they are getting a little bigger, perhaps grocery shopping with them will just get easier with time.

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