Thursday, December 6, 2007

Shopping with Kids is not for Sissies

There are many days when I feel like I'm a pretty good mother. There are certain situations, however, that cause me to seriously doubt my parenting abilities. Shopping with the kids is probably the main one. I generally try to avoid it at all costs.

Against my better judgment, we made two excursions to three stores in the past 24 hours. Yesterday was to Kohl's. Fortunately we had Grandma meeting us there to provide reinforcements (and her senior citizen discount).

It started out a little shaky, and went down from there. I didn't bother to bring a stroller in because Kohl's always has those handy shopping cart/stroller combos parked by all the entrances for your shopping-with-toddler convenience. All the entrances except the one we came in, that is. Or the one we hiked to clear at the other end of the store. I looked through the line of people waiting to check out to see if there was one about to be available, but no luck there either. I spotted a kid who looked to be about 10 pushing an empty one around and briefly considered swiping it from him. But then I spotted his mom nearby and she looked like she could hurt me.

Back to the first entrance, still no carts. It seemed like I remembered seeing one in the parking lot on the way in, so out we went, back into the snow, to retrieve it. Happy Day, it was still there.

So 20 minutes after we arrived at the store we had our cart and were ready to begin shopping.

Almost. . .

"Mommy, I have to go potty!" Why did I ever potty train that kid? Diapers are much more convenient while shopping!

So finally, we had our cart, J had been relieved, and Grandma had joined us. We're off! I had already broken out the m&ms I brought to keep the kids entertained because, even though we had just started shopping, we had been in the store for more than a half hour.

Just past the PJ's, in front of the bedding, I stepped in something wet. "Hmm," I thought, "someone must have spilled their drink." But I look closer, and no, this is slimy and chunky, and clearly was recently inside someone's stomach. Gross! I stepped in vomit! While I was frantically wiping my shoe off on the carpet a sales lady happened by. I told her I thought someone threw up over there. She looked at us with a disgusted look on her face and pulled out her phone to call someone. A minute later Grandma says, "I think I know who threw up." H had it all down her coat, her clothes, and the stroller. I guess the m&ms didn't sit well. I felt very slightly less grossed out knowing that at least it wasn't a stranger's vomit I had on my shoe.

I don't know if the sales lady I talked to had noticed H, but I was so embarrassed just thinking about it. "Yeah, lady, someone threw up over there - it was your kid!"

Today's excursion was no less disturbing. Our first stop was at Kroger and that went fairly well. I mean, J knocked over the whole display of raisins, but who's kid hasn't done that? It was otherwise fairly unremarkable.

The next stop, Meijer, ended with a bang. I was trying to rush, but once again we had to visit the public potty. It's no quick trip when you have to hike back up to the front of the store, get both children out of the cart, go, wash hands, wash hands again because when you're 4 you can't help but touch everything on the way out of the bathroom, get everyone strapped back into the cart, and go back to where you left off.

By the time we were checking out, both kids (no to mention their mother) were feeling pretty fussy. It was getting close to lunch and nap time. Since I was in the lane directly next to the purple dinosaur, I figured it would be ok for J to go over and ride while I checked out. H tried to follow, fell, cried, and I had to abandon the groceries to go retrieve her. The cashier was half way through the next lady's order before I got my bags into the cart (They don't do that kind of thing for you at Meijer anymore. You're lucky if you even can find a human being to ring up your groceries for you. Don't expect any help loading them back into your cart while you're trying to put your receipt and wallet away, balance a toddler on your hip, and keep an eye on your son riding the dinosaur. But I digress. . .)

J had had one ride on the dinosaur, and I told him to skooch back and let H on in front of him for the next ride. I thought I was being pretty generous letting him stay on for her turn at all. He didn't quite see it that way. He's at that annoyingly disagreeable stage where whatever he's told is the opposite of what he wants. He didn't want H in front. He wanted H in back. I wasn't going to argue with a 4 year old, so I plopped him off and put H on to ride all by herself. This of course prompted a throw-yourself-on-the-floor-and-scream fit. Which drew the attention of all the nearby customers and employees just in time to see the grand finale of our show: The part where I looked away for a split second to try to reign in J and H went tumbling off the other side of the dinosaur. Thankfully, it's about 10 degrees outside today and the multiple layers of clothing and puffy coat she was wearing padded her fall.

I'm not sure if I was more horrified at what had just happened to H, angry at J, or humiliated by the whole spectacle. Suffice it to say we'll be staying home the rest of the day.


Julie said...

I feel your pain. Shopping is an Olympic event with kids.

Please tell me J didn't knock over the raisins doing cart wheels down the aisle.

SJ said...

No, it wasn't a cartwheel, but now that you mention it, I recall doing a cartwheel into a wine display when I was a kid. I guess they come by it honestly.

julie said...

Yes. I remember you had to write an essay in third grade about an embarassing experience and that is the story you told. I know. I'm a freak. I can also tell you what I wore on the first day of school in fourth grade.

SJ said...

You're amazing, Julie. If it weren't for you and Brian, I'd have little memory of my school years!

Ro said...

Try taking your HUSBAND and Mark Hunter to Meijer and having to walk away because they are ROLLING - yes, literally rolling- in the aisles! Children are a piece of cake - THEY can be disciplined!!!!!!!

SJ said...

I'm laughing at the thought of that! Fortunately, Brian's pretty well behaved in public.

R said...

Lucky you!

Anonymous said...

I chuckled through your entire missive - only because I've been there more times than I care to admit. They always know that they're not going to get a spanking in public, and if they still think they might, they'll scream, "Please, Mommy, don't spank me!" so that everyone from the front to the back of the store can hear them!!