• Why I don’t take my kids to the grocery store

    Date: 2011.10.11 | Category: just blabbing, parenting | Tags: ,,

    I went the the grocery store last night at 8:30. While there I heard two different parents deal with their screaming, whining children. One little boy flung himself down on the ground and insisted that his mom carry him. She had her hands full of grocery bags and couldn’t pick him up if she wanted to. Of course in my snooty superiority I thought to myself, “Hello, it’s 9 pm! Put your kid to bed!” But I also thought ,”This is why I come at night all by myself. I’m so thankful I don’t have both kids with me.”

    There are lots of good reasons to take my kids with me when I go grocery shopping. I know lots of parents who always shop with their kids. They cite a lot of valid reasons. The kids learn to help by getting items off a shelf or “helping” to figure out which item is a better bargain. It teaches them patience. Delayed gratification. That you don’t always get a treat when you go to the store. That being part of a family requires participating in family chores. I know- there are tons of reasons I should take them. But I rarely do. And here’s why…

    Today we had 3 errands to run. We had an hour before Kate’s appointment to fill up the gas and get a car wash, go to the library and go to the bank. Since two of those errands didn’t even require us to get out of the car I was optimistic that it could happen. The fill up went fine and both kids giggled and loved the first part of the car wash. And then it got loud and Kate freaked. The poor girl was hysterical- totally panicked, sobbing, wailing for me. JT was so sweet, offering reassurances along with me, “It’s ok Katie. I know it’s loud but it’s not scary. Don’t be scared Katie.” She wasn’t buying any of it. It was five minutes of total meltdown.

    We pulled out of the gas station and headed to the library. Usually I bring the stroller in, but we were pressed for time and the location of my parking spot meant I would have to walk the long way around the lot if I brought it, where if we all walked we could cut straight across. I decided to carry Kate (and calm her down anyway) and let JT walk. Only Kate, in all of her 20 months has NEVER learned to help hold on while being carried. That girl is ALWAYS dead weight and ends up sliding halfway down my leg (often taking my clothes with her) resulting in a very difficult journey. Especially when my other hand is holding the hand of my three year old. Once inside the library I had to set her down and let her walk (so I could at least return my shirt and ill fitting maternity pants to their proper positions- and when I say proper I mean both their correct and modest positions!) and then I remembered the other reason why I always use the stroller. Because Kate pulls every book, video, CD, etc off the shelves that she can get her hands on. We found a few videos for the kids (the Laurie Berkner Band and the Mr. Ray Show in case you’re wondering), I cleaned up several videos Kate had thrown on the floor, and then we headed to the stacks for the book I was looking for. It was about then that I realized the most horrible stench was coming from my sweet girl. Horrible, gag inducing diaper smell. And I wasn’t even standing near her- she had wandered at least 10 feet away. I quickly scanned the shelf for my book, but nope- all checked out. “Well,” I thought as I returned the 5 books Kate had just pulled down, “we’ll see what’s in the new releases.” At the new release shelf is a bench. JT climbed up called Katie to come up with him. She started wailing and I see that he’s grabbed her by the arm and is trying to pull her on to the bench that way, which isn’t working. I picked Kate up and set her next to JT and she immediately flung herself back off the bench and landed nose first on the floor. Then the screaming really started. Full blown, “I hated that car wash, I’m hurt, I stink, I’ve had enough and I’m not going to take it any more” screaming. I picked Kate up to cuddle and shush her at which point JT decided it was a good time to stand up on the bench and jump up and down and yell. IN THE LIBRARY. I took all this as my cue to leave. We scanned JT’s items and raced out the door. At the car I changed Kate’s diaper on the passenger seat while she squirmed and flailed and tried to flip over relentlessly. With the putrid smelling diaper on the floor of the car I zipped us to our next destination, the bank.

    As we pulled into the bank JT remembered that once (at least a year ago) the nice lady at the drive through window gave him a sucker. He politely requested that we go to the drive up window again so he could get another sucker. Since we were running so tight on time I decided that we were going to use the drive through ATM instead. JT didn’t like my choice and protested very vocally. The entire time. Setting Kate off again. And our whole car smells like that diaper.

    Once home we raced into the house, I brought in the milk from the porch that I had forgotten to retrieve hours earlier and I saw that we had maybe 2 minutes before Kate’s therapist arrived to clean up the tornado that had struck our play room. Just as JT started putting away blocks I got a text from the therapist that she was running 20 minutes late. We finished cleaning up the toys with at least 10 minutes to spare, plenty of time for making a new mess. During that time Kate threw 4 balls out Mollie’s door. Kate and JT fought over every toy either of them touched. Kate fell down and hurt herself at least 5 times requiring me to calm her down. And JT found every way to make as much noise as possible in an attempt to make me crazy.

    Our sweet therapist finally showed up to total chaos. Kate was exhausted, miserable, unwilling to go to her, fussy, and everything made her cry. Plus she keeps saying “Car wash. Scary. Cried. Water loud.” I think I’ve permanently traumatized her. JT on the other hand, was amped, making as much noise as possible, banging on drums, throwing toys, spitting, and causing a ruckus. Toys had managed to spread out all over the floor again. All of this had gotten Mollie excited, so she was jumping up and barking and getting all in our space. Awesome. Halfway through her therapy I finally took pity on Kate and put her down for her nap.

    That was my morning. And that is why I don’t take my kids to the grocery store.