There's something about grocery shopping that brings out the wacky in son. He loves to eat and I think all that food in one place makes him nutty. It would be like releasing me in the pharmacy. Or a shop with shelves full of frosty margaritas. In the fruit and veggie aisle he runs from the string beans to the bananas grabbing and eating everything. He begs the deli lady to give him samples. (And I swear if my mother is reading this it will confirm her grandma-stricken fear that I don't feed the children.) So I'm constantly yelling, "Son, put down the beans we haven't PAID for that!", "No, no not the bananas we haven't PAID for that yet." Eventually, I give up and just teach him how to be more sneaky when he's grabbing a grape to sample.
SuperNanny would tell me to engage my children as we shop. Ask them to get things for the cart. Uh, right. When I do this I sound like a very special mommy. "Sweetie, why don't we put some apples in the bag. Can you put some apples in the bag?" Son will run over to the most expensive $3 an apple pile and start grabbing handfuls. "Noooo sweetie, put these apples in the bag.", motioning to the sale pile. At which point he loses interest and wanders off to steal a carrot.
As we enter the first aisle of dry goods both kids are munching their shoplifting hearts out so I make a big exaggerated show of saving their banana peels, "OK KIDS LETS SAVE THESE PEELS SO WE CAN PAY FOR THE BANANAS YOUR EATING" (nervous laughter as I look around). A few minutes later I turn to see a wall of cardboard walking, no spinning in my direction and ricocheting off the aisles and knocking down bottles of salad dressing. "What the fu...." It was son, who had placed a life sized, cardboard, Kraft dressing display over his entire body and was laughing and weaving. In moments like this I'm torn. Part of me knows this isn't proper behavior and I should nip it in the bud. The other part of me doesn't want to squelch the hilarity and joy that he's experiencing. I mean, how often does a person see a life size cardboard bottle of Ranch Dressing and think, "Hell yes I'm wearing that!". And maybe I should bring him shopping at 2 am and freak out the drunk people looking for munchies. "Holy Christ is that, is that, bottle of dressing...COMING TO GET ME! Aaaaah!".
In aisle three I pull out the best defensive maneuver known to parenting, the Fake Left/Fake Right move. Son likes to weave, wander and full stop directly in front of the grocery cart. If I dare to suggest he move the hell outta the way "sweetie" he cries and demands to know why I don't want to be with him. So I pretend like I'm going to turn the cart around, or swerve to another aisle and then quickly straighten up the cart and haul ass toward my actual destination. By the time he's figured it out I've selected my soup and can give him a bright "There you are!" smile. But I think he's catching on to me. The last time we were shopping I turned back to the cart and realized I couldn't see where he was. I grabbed the handles and prepared to rush down the aisle looking for him when he popped up! He had been crouching in front of the cart so I couldn't see him. I'm like "Dude, I almost ran you down!" and he says, "I know, good thing I popped up in time right!". And I have to pause and think about it before I can answer.
Daughter is strapped into the shopping cart for the duration which sound easier than it actually is. Son loves to run and jump up onto the side of the cart for a ride. Son knows he's not supposed to do that ever since daughter was 8 months old and sleeping in a baby carrier while we shopped. Son leaped on to the side of the unsturdy cart. The cart flipped over and daughter's car carrier launched into the air and skidded down the aisle. So, yup he knows I'll kick his heiny every time and yet every time we go he leaps. So I have to be tensed and ready to Halt, and quickly pull the cart backwards so he leaps and falls into empty space landing on the floor. Feel free to write these parenting tips down.
Daughter also says, "I walk, I walk?!" for the entirety of the shopping trip. She also knows how to time her escape with the exact moment I'm paying for the groceries. I hear the bag boy screaming, "Oh my gosh" and I know I've got a jumper. Now getting her back into the cart is like trying to hogtie a greased pig. The bag boy naively offer her stickers and tells her how pretty she is. Buddy if that worked she'd be wearing nothing but her birthday suit and layers of Elmo adhesive. So I ignore them and vainly attempt to get daughter to bend at the waist so I can clamp her back into the cart. Meanwhile, daughter offers the cashier a bite of her banana. The cashier gamely plays along not realizing that once you have placed the offered food item into your mouth and she sees you chew daughter will wail "Give it back! Mine! Mine!".
Then we get home and I have to be the food police. God forbid I have to take a moment to myself in the bathroom. To scream. Because when I come out there will be cartons opened diet yogurt strewn across the coffee table because they "tasted 'isgusting!". And unripe bananas with their tops squished as my kids tried to open them too soon. Or best day ever, a floor filled with orange juice as son tried to pour a new carton into a wobbly plastic cup. Over and over again, till he got it right dammit.
So when husband comes home and asks questions like, "Did you get what I put on the list?" and "Why don't you use coupons?" or my favorite "Why are we spending so much on groceries." he doesn't seem to understand why I hurl open yogurt cartons at him. Sigh.