Supermarket Sweep

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.

17 comments:

Mamma said...

Okay, french fries are now splattered all over my screen.

"I mean, how often does a person see a life size cardboard bottle of Ranch Dressing and think, "Hell yes I'm wearing that!."

All the time Lotta, all the time.

This was one of your funniest posts ever. Seriously, I don't know how you do it. You've outdone yourself once again!!!

Please can you move closer so we can drink margaritas once a week--at least?!!!!!

The Monkey House Chronicles said...

Seriously I was crying a half hour ago from exhaustion and now I am crying from laughter. Thank you! You have hilariously described a shopping experience much like the ones I take with my two kids. Which is why I now shop at night with the drunk people looking for munchies without the kids. But I have not the huevos to wear the cardboard cutout!

Betsy Wasser said...

I discovered a while back that my son and I are much better friends if I go to the grocery store alone. I have no idea when I'll be brave enough to bring him back again.

Kelly said...

I'm telling you, you only have to send the husband once with the kids...just once. And then those silly type of questions will stop!

Kristin said...

Wait, you have bag boys?
Hilarious post! I would like to agree with Kelly about sending husband to the store with the kids, but my children amazingly find their inner saint when out with Daddy. Plus, I'd just have to go back later to get all the things I really wanted to get b/c he bought the wrong thing! Happy Shopping..

Oh, The Joys said...

So funny and so FAMILIAR! Oh, the crap I bring home just to keep them happy!

Wendy said...

Everytime I enter the grocery store, I think I have it down. Then the kids throw something new at me. I thought the plastic car attached to the cart was going to be my savior. Then son decides to ride hanging half way out and daughter thinks it is fun to touch him the whole time, which is torture in this next of the woods. Or course, those things are like trying to steer a semi through the tight aisles.

And just so you know, I tried that SuperNanny tip of making my daughter her own grocery list. I put fun things on it and spent an hour searching the Internet for pictures then placing them in a word doc. Yeah, she lost interest about 2 minutes in and decided to challenge me on which items to get. I say SuperNanny bribes those kids on the show or she has the best editing crew in the world.

Anonymous said...

I'm right there with ya' girl. Last week I had 2 ladies laughing at me in the store (as I was threating the 4 and 2 year olds)saying " Oh honey, I'm just remembering myself 20 years ago". I thought my two year old was still eating on the roast beef from the deli isle....no. She had been sneaking grapes from the cart. Then after checking out we had to go to the bathroom to let her poop. She smelled her poop and proceded to puke on her pants and the floor. My four year old was running around the bathroom like a caveman. It looked like the scene from Mr. Mom when they're in the bathroom screaming and toilet paper's everywhere. Absolutely, the worst day ever!- Bama

BoggyWoggy said...

Now that my kids are in high school, I shop alone...and I get to read labels! Do you hear me!!! I get to actually check out what I'm buying! I went for 14 years without being able to do that. Now, it's a blessing!!
Great story!

Angelina said...

I have managed (somehow) to shop without my child for a long time and suddenly this week I had to do it again and it was a total nightmare.

It was like a love-fest with crap for him. Suddenly he'll die if he doesn't get that box of weird processed packaged powdered donuts, which I can actually guarantee he wouldn't like anyway since he's an amazingly picky eater. Then he wants crap toys, or weird crackers, or funky ass body sized tubes of sugar with stripes on them.

I was exhausted.

debbie said...

I totally relate to this one, I used to shop with 4 kids and two carts. I had the screamer laying in the middle of the floor by the registers with everyone wondering, who's that screamer with?, while I pretended to look for her mother. Then after unsuccesfully running my credit card through, then frantically searching for my checkbook in the car, while they held my carriages,dragged the kids out and back in, I paid for the groceries, got home,dragged everything into the house, and realized I forgot one whole cart of groceries. Hubby still tells this story 20 years later, he thinks it's so funny, he wasn't there....

kimberly sherrod said...

I wish you had your camera with you to document the "life-size bottle of ranch dressing" ricocheting down the isle. I bet there is some way to sell that idea to Hidden Valley for their next commercial. That would win awards, I tell ya! Maybe you can free lance in advertising- send em an email and see what happens. You have to look on the bright side- they will go to school some day and you can go to the store then- ALONE!!!! May that dream help you hang on to your few remaining threads of sanity! Please, write a book- you are frickin hysterical. PS The Nanny Show is scripted and edited. Not like real life. Keep your chins up, it can only get better!

jakelliesmom said...

Why are you never at the store when I am, because when my kids are like that, people look at me like they've never seen kids act out in a store EVER BEFORE!

The other day at Target, I taught Jake my cell phone number. Why? Well, the way he was running about he was likely to get lost, and I wanted him to be able to say,"My mommy's name is Karen, and her cell phone number is ...."

Jen said...

This would be funny, if it wasn't true.

Why not send the DH? Because he would come home with a pile of junk and nothing from the list, plus presents for the kids and I'd have to go back for the rest of it anyway.

Jenifer said...

And you are a walking ,talking(writing) example of why I thank God every night for 17 year old step sons that watch the children while I shop!!!!

Julie said...

Oh my...this is why I don't take G-Man to the store with me. We inevitably end up with banana peels and opened bags of chips in the cart with us. Oh, and an opened bottle of water with us, and before he could drink from a water bottle...I always had straws that I've thrown down into milk cartons to stop the tantrums.

So, now I quit taking him. I'd rather shop at midnight than take him to a grocery story.

Ugh.

butterfly girl said...

I know it might not be so funny in reality but I laughed so hard I nearly choked on my chips and dip and by the time I finally read every last word I was out of breath.

Maybe the next time I safely make it home from the store with three ounder five i will be able to laugh instead of freak out by just remembering this particular post.

And on the really bright side, this is why we stay home with them. These are memories you don't get so much when you pack them off to daycare forty hours a week!