I’m going to start with the moral of the story, just to make sure it doesn’t get lost in all the details:
DO NOT GO SHOPPING WITH CHILDREN. EVER.
We needed a whole 5 items from the grocery store: eggs, milk, bread, chocolate chips, and grapes. Easy peasy. Even with all three kiddos and geriatric cashiers, I figured I could easily make it out of there in 10 minutes. In fact, I thought it would probably take more time to unload/re-load the kids from the van than to actually do my shopping. And maybe it would have worked out that way if only—IF ONLY—I had stuck to the list.
See, there’s a huge difference between taking a quick jaunt to the store to fulfill a list and shopping at the store. If you need a few things from the store and can stick to a list, by all means, go! Take as many kids with you as you want! No problem! BUT—and this is a really, really BIG BUT (pun intended)—if you are unable to stick to a list, if you are going to want to check out the sales and compare prices, if you are going to be friendly and take the time to answer the 57 grandmothers who want to adore your babies, then you need to leave the kids at home.
Because shopping with children is hideous.
Here’s our experience:
Upon entrance of the parking lot, Andy espied the blue car shopping cart. I detest that cart because it’s bulky and hard to maneuver and the seat belts are always broken. Plus it forces the kids to sit in close proximity, and that always means trouble is on the horizon. Unfortunately, I had promised Andy on the last 10 trips or so that we would use the blue cart “next time” because it wasn’t easily located those trips. So guess what? We got the blue cart.
So with two children now side-by-side and unrestrained and the third strapped onto Mama in my handy-dandy Baby Bjorn, we enter Kroger. For 5 items.
While getting grapes, I saw that avocados were on sale and decided to grab a few. Avocadoes are next to the peaches display. Peaches look like balls. Finnick loves balls. The blue cart does not have working seat belts, so Finnick’s reach was greatly increased. Peaches were everywhere.
On the way out of the produce section to get milk, we passed the banana display. I stopped to grab a few since we go through bananas like nobody’s business. Finnick saw the bananas. They are his favorite. He started to scream for the bananas. He wanted one NOW. He was still unrestrained. He lunged for the bananas. Mama began losing patience. Already.
We made it to the refrigerated section for the milk, but Finnick was still mad about the bananas. So he took off one of his shoes, and threw it. Mama chased the shoe, noticed bread was on sale, and grabbed a couple of loaves. We go through bread like nobody’s business, too.
Andy thought it was hilarious that Finnick got fussed at for throwing his shoe and decided he would like to be in trouble, too. So he took off a shoe and threw it. Mama took a moment to threaten the children. Of course, during all of this, 6 grandmothers stopped to tell the kids how precious they are. (Note to grandparents everywhere—GRANNIE, LISTEN UP!—Please, please, please do not compliment someone’s children when they are showing their behinds! I don’t care if they ARE “precious dolls”! They are not being precious dolls right now!)
The shoe—if you’re interested—landed near an end cap display of cereal, which reminded me that we are out of Poptarts. So down the breakfast aisle we went. I guess seeing box after box of all of his favorite breakfast food reminded Andy that he was hungry, because he started begging me to get him a Lunchable. I thought this would be a good chance to teach him about bribery—you behave, you get fed sodium-laden meat and cheese product. He thought it would be a good chance to teach me about persistence—you ask the same question a billion times, Mama will cave.
Finnick threw his other shoe.
Now that I had my poptarts (and two giant, on-sale boxes of Cinnamon Toast Crunch), I decided to jet over to check out the meat. I’ve sort of had a hankering for chicken. Chicken is located (kind of) near the case holding the Lunchables. The fact that we were walking in the general direction of the Lunchables gave Andy some false hope that his persistence was going to pay out. It was definitely false hope because he and Finnick had spent the trek over to the meat department doing The Lean and Scream—you know, where one person lounges up against the other and pushes with all his might, occasionally grinding his elbow into their ribs for an extra little bit of pleasure, and then the other person screams as if they’ve been dealt the death blow. And then you switch.
The Lunchable dream was dead.
Andy didn’t take it well. He threw his other shoe.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Finnick had finally figured out that not only could he lean really far out of the car, but without a seat belt, he could actually GET COMPLETELY OUT. He was pretty excited as he grabbed everything in sight off the shelves. Mama was not excited. Mama was downright cranky.
Fearing incarceration for child abuse if I didn’t get out of that store NOW, we headed to the register. Finnick continued to try to climb out of the car. Andy touched every candy bar in the register display. Not one, single worker took pity on me and volunteered to help me unload my cart.
But I got even! After having everything rung up, I realized I had left my wallet in the van. I guess unloading three kids from car seat belts and herding everyone into the store without anyone being smashed in the parking lot made me forget that you need money to buy things. So I had to leave the cart and drag three kids back outside to retrieve it, then drag three kids right back inside to pay. And remember—my children were now shoeless. So we had to spend an extra 5 minutes putting shoes back on.
Finnick was not happy. He thought we were leaving. He loudly protested when we headed back inside. Reiterate—LOUDLY.
While paying, Andy and Finnick whined non-stop to use the water fountain. Not so much because they were thirsty, but because water fountains are like really tiny water parks that you can splash and play in while fully clothed. Mama said no. They didn’t take it well.
Finally, finally, finally we were done! Hallelujah! I roped a worker into taking our groceries to the van so that I could get everyone restrained and separated in their car seats as quickly as possible. And why did I need help out? Because those 5 items had become THIS: eggs, milk, bread, chocolate chips, butterscotch morsels, grapes, avocados, bananas, biscuits, crescent rolls, Pringles, Velveta cheese, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Poptarts, popcorn, soda, Chex Mix, trail mix, Ramen Noodles, and chips.
Can you tell that I eat when I stress?
Oh, and please note that Oliver hasn’t been mentioned during the entire grocery shopping experience. That is because he slept peacefully in the carrier the entire time.
He’s my favorite.