So a lot of people have been asking me about my recent trip to the grocery store. What could have possibly made it so challenging—and time consuming? I’d love to say that it was something remarkable. But it wasn’t. It was an ordinary trip to the store. On a sitcom this would play out in a matter of minutes. In my life, it played out over two. very. very. long. hours.
There was a relatively short list on a post-it note. A five-year-old boy who actually enjoys grocery shopping. And an almost-9-month-old baby who doesn’t care where she is, as long as she’s in a Baby Bjorn. We hopped in our chariot for what was sure to be a quick trip.
About a block from the store, Pink started screaming. Being the baby whisperer that I am, I recognized the scream as one of a little girl whose flaming diaper rash has just been, well, reignited. Perhaps it was because I’d changed three dirty diapers the past hour or so, perhaps it was sheer arrogance, but whatever the reason, I didn’t bring the diaper bag.
“Mah-om, Pink’s crying!”
“Do you see any diapers or wipes back there?”
“I didn’t think so.”
A couple loops around the parking lot confirmed the usual Sunday crowd had multiplied into Thanksgiving-eve proportions. We parked. Big, who insisted on sitting in Little’s car seat, couldn’t get the belt unbuckled. We wrestled it. We got Pink out. We walked into the store. We bought diapers. And wipes. We walked out past a sign notifying patrons that the store had applied for a license to serve alcohol. How strange, I thought. We walked back to the car. I changed Pink. Big complained that it was taking forever. I put Pink in the Bjorn. We walked back to the store. We tried again.
After checking off the majority of our list in the produce section, we fought our way out and on to the next aisle. Big started swaying side to side with his knees knocking together. The sound of swishing track pants had me rolling my eyes long before he said:
“I have to go to the bathroom.”
“You’re kidding, right?”
“Ok, I don’t have to go.”
“No, no, of course it’s fine. You obviously have to go. Come on.”
We worked our way through the carnivores—who were much more gruff and aggressive than the herbivores—and went to the restroom. I’d love to say we didn’t know where it was, but it’s as familiar to us as the milk section.
There was the requisite
fight discussion about why he couldn’t go in the men’s room alone. So we all headed into the ladies’ room where he proceeded to examine each stall before settling on a vacant one. A toilet flushed. And if you’ve been with a baby who’s just decided loud noises are as offensive as a burning rash, you can imagine what our wait was like. In order to distract myself, I looked at my phone. Lenny had texted, “Can you please get celery?” Sure. Sure we can.
We headed back out relieved (meaning Big’s bladder and Pink’s anxiety, of course), and went all the way back to the far end of the produce section to get logs for Lenny’s ants. Then tried again.
Our cart was right where we’d left it and ready to roll (in an awkward, lopsided fashion of course, but it rolled nonetheless). Actually, it would have rolled if every single person in the store didn’t seem to be stopping right where they’d block us from making progress—with bold defiance. It was as if they’d made an announcement that the person who most blatantly got in our way would get their groceries free that day.
Oh, and Big heard that announcement. He wanted in on the competition. I’d zig, he’d zag. I’d beg him to walk in a single file line behind me, he’d step on my heel. I’d get ready to go and he’d suddenly be standing in front of the cart.
Meanwhile, Pink’s confidence was building. About half way through the store, she decided to get in on the fun. Cereal boxes were being knocked off shelves. The grocery list was being chewed on. Drool was making the shiny floors extra slick.
So when we got to the baby food, I knew I’d have to be extra careful. In our world, digging through all that pureed goodness is like mining for gold. You see, the only kinds Pink can eat (thanks to her lovely allergies) are pears and squash. Not the pear/raspberry combination that was in the pear slot. Nope, can’t have that. Somehow, someway we escaped with four measly jars of squash and no broken glass. Phew.
More blocking. An accidental tackling of a two-year-old girl whose mother let her roam free in the cracker aisle. And a final check of the list revealing we only forgot one thing. Cream cheese.
Cream freakin’ cheese.
I don’t know about your store, but at this one, the cheese aisle not only draws the most traffic, it has huge poles throughout it to ensure that there’s no smooth way in or out. And, well, I don’t think I need to spell out how well our final acquisition went.
This may come as a shock to many of you, but patience isn’t something that comes naturally to me. Or unnaturally, most of the time. But I kept my cool. I joked. Told Big we’d better check the lost and found to see if someone had come across my mind. He joked back. Saying that I was off-the-charts crazy. But could we buy some gum? No. No gum.
Together we emptied the cart. I glanced at my phone. Another text, “Where are you? Is everything alright?” Big wiggled his way to the end of the checkout line and started packing up the bags (because of course I chose the line with no bagger). He did a great job—and was so proud that he was being helpful when I was feeling so frustrated. And I couldn’t help but feel the same way. A shining moment.
I handed over a ridiculous amount of money and realized that they didn’t ask for my ID. Not because I didn’t look 40 (obviously people around our parts have had serious work done if that’s the criteria for carding), but because I didn’t buy any wine. Right.
We loaded up the car and finally headed home. As soon as we walked in, Lenny, who had been relaxing on the couch with a sleepy Little said, “You should have had me go. I like grocery shopping.”
Do tell, what was your most memorable shopping trip? (Please tell me I’m not alone!)