Grocery shopping with kids stinks. Surely, I am not the only one who feels this way. I don’t know about you, but I have a system when I grocery shop. It never fails that when I take my daughter, I either forget numerous items or I buy way more than I intended.
So, my solution is to procrastinate. Obviously, not my finest problem solving moment. Sometimes, I wait until my cupboards are bare and we are down to our final, frozen PB&J. We get creative with snacks, like rationing raisins and cutting baby carrots lengthwise so there appears to be more. I try to wait for my husband to be in town, so I can enjoy a quiet shopping trip sans kid. But, more often than not, I take my daughter with me.
Threenagers and Shopping Carts
My daughter is three. Thus, she has an opinion about everything and wants what she wants. I hear it’s normal, but that makes it no less frustrating when grocery shopping. Every single time, she asks for her favorite police car cart. Here is the problem: There is just no room in the police car cart for actual, real life groceries. Seriously, who designed that thing?
Do I appease my child and cut my list in half, then half again, and then quarter it for kicks and giggles? Or do I stand my ground and have a
debate heartfelt conversation at the front door about why the world will not stop turning in spite of our choice to use a regular cart (all the while blocking other patrons’ access to said carts)?
I usually choose the latter. There are usually tears and promises of shiny coins for the candy machine; and then we settle on the tiny “customer in training” cart. Everyone gets their own cart. Problem solved, right?
Don’t get me wrong; I absolutely love the fact that my daughter wants to help. It really is adorable watching her rearrange her produce and
tear through walk down the aisles grabbing items left and right like she’s a contestant on Supermarket Sweep. You just can’t help but smile. That is, until that precious little shopping cart rams into your Achilles tendon when you least expect it!
Shopping in a State of Fear
Regardless of the smiles from other shoppers — because my kid is just so cute — I worry that my daughter is annoying other shoppers when she rams into their carts or randomly stops in the middle of the aisle. I smile and park her along one side as hurried shoppers pass. Sometimes, it takes 10 minutes to make it down one aisle from the periodic stopping and waiting and forgetting what I needed in that aisle.
I worry that my daughter will send an extravagant display tumbling to the floor with one wrong turn; then, there’s my potty anxiety that I have developed over the past year. First, she hated the toilets and screamed bloody murder at the flush. Now, she loves them and needs to relieve herself five times in one shopping trip. I never know when I will need to abandon my cart and rush to the toilet. Don’t you just love the suspense?!
Loading and Unloading
After all is said and done, we make it to the checkout line with two carts. My daughter, the perfect little helper that she is, loves to unload the groceries from her cart and mine. We all know those checkout lines are tight. Now, add an overzealous little creature darting in and around carts, trying to stack heavy cans in her arms, while you are scrambling to lighten her load and protect your eggs all at the same time.
Once again, my system is foiled by little hands haphazardly tossing items on the belt. Chips are crushed. Frozen goods are mixed with perishable goods, deli meats with produce and toiletries. Oh my! It is absolute chaos, and I’m positive the bag boy or girl will scramble my list making my job at home that much harder. Some shoppers leave the line and find a shorter one, and others stay to enjoy the show. So, at that point, I’m tired and just stand back and let it all happen.
How the Cookies Crumble
Literally. My daughter hasn’t quite learned the meaning of the word “gentle” when it comes to unloading groceries. The cookies and crackers taste just as good, whether they are intact or in a million little pieces. And that is the philosophy I carry with me when I go to the grocery store. Although counterproductive to your shopping agenda, a happy child helping Mommy is not a tiny tyrant throwing a fit in the middle of the produce aisle.
If you absolutely cannot avoid bringing the tribe with you, then you might as well try to make it fun. Let your kiddos smell the fresh flowers, and let them have a day-old free cookie from the bakery. Make them feel important by asking their opinions on which apple looks the best. Give them a “list” to fill their baskets and set them free with mini shopping carts. Go potty first, and be prepared to go several times afterward. Take snacks. Do whatever it takes to keep your sanity intact during your shopping trip. And grab an extra bottle of wine while you’re at it . . . . You deserve it!