This has nothing to do with genealogy, but I think others might be able to relate my experience.
Tuesday, I took Christian (my fourteen-month-old) grocery shopping with me. Let me give you a quick background: We have a grocery story in our little town that I make quick trips to in order to buy specific things I’m missing. But, this store is a bit overpriced. Twenty-five minutes away is another store: a Super Wal-mart where everything is much cheaper. About every two weeks, I head out there to restalk on just about everything. And when you have four children, this means massive grocery shopping. Basically, I stalk my cart until nothing else can fit in it.
I dread, DREAD going to Wal-Mart. It is crowded, a bit disorganized, and overwhelming. But being the devoted mother than I am, I suck it up and make my trip anyway (only when we are out of EVERYTHING from butter to toilet paper and my husband absolutely CANNOT go). So, off Christian and I went to Wal-Mart on Tuesday with my carefully prepared, long, detailed grocery list.
About one-third of the way into my grocery trip, I realized we had developed a problem. The grocery stack in the back of the cart had now grown high enough that when Christian twisted himself around, he could reach the groceries. As soon as he could grab something – anything – he began his favorite grocery store game: throwing as many things as possible from the cart onto the floor. And every time a new item made a resounding thud on the ground, Christian would laugh gleefully.
This is my fourth child. I am not easily flustered. I tried distracting him. I tried scooting everything to back of the cart. I tried taking things out of his hands before he could throw them (which made him laugh even harder – convinced that this was a really fun tug-of-war game). But no matter what I did, as I tried to choose which spaghetti sauce to purchase, Christian chunked canned creamed corn over the side. Soon, I was not carefully selecting spaghetti sauce – I was grabbing sauce – with mushrooms, the gourmet expensive kind – whatever – as long as it was spaghetti sauce – and shoving it into the cart in an effort to speed up the process.
Before long, our problem developed a new dimension. Whenever I parked the cart near the shelves, Christian began gathering everything he could reach from the shelf and dumping it INTO the cart. As I mentioned before, Wal-Mart is crowded, so parking out of reach of the shelves was nearly impossible.
A few minutes later, Christian became fixated on my pen and grocery list. I was still not flustered, but I was distracted. So, I let him hold the grocery list. Can’t hurt, can it? We turned down another aisle and then one more. I needed my grocery list again. That’s when I noticed that Christian didn’t have it anymore. I went back to the previous two aisles, but it was nowhere to be seen. (I still can’t figure out what he could have done with it….) I was about half way through the grocery trip, and I had no idea what to buy.
We finished the trip quickly, with me doing the best I could to remember what I had meant to buy, and Christian throwing lunch meat, cheddar cheese and granola bars on the floor with amazing speed.
We got to the check-out line to discover there was a long, slow line (surprise, surprise). Christian had had enough of the cart by now and decided he wanted down. I know what happens when you put toddlers down in the grocery line. So, I tried distraction – peek-a-boo with tortillas, guess which hand the green beans are in – but none of it worked. I even tried a pacifier (usually reserved for nap time). He wanted OUT. He screamed loud enough that people around me in line turned to stare at me.
I pulled him out just as my cart reached the front of the line. I tried placing items on the conveyer belt while I held Christian in the other arm – as he kicked and screamed and did everything possible to propel himself down – out of my arms. I found it impossible to pick up food while trying to manage a 24 pound mass of flailing arms and legs.
Now I was flustered. Just a little.
I sat Christian down. He ran behind the cart and began pulling things off the shelf. I pretended I didn’t notice and piled my groceries onto the belt as fast as possible. When I stole a glance back at him, I found that he had stacked teddy graham containers six high, carefully balancing each one.
I paid for the food, crammed the teddy grahams on the shelf, forced Christian in the cart, and headed for my car.
When I got home, I realized I had forgotten to buy toilet paper.