Friday, September 22, 2006

Adventures In Grocery Shopping

They're conspiring against me, you know. My children are doing their darndest to see if they can drive me to an early grave.

According to some urban legend, there are children out there who are quiet, compliant and obedient when visiting the grocery store. It sounds crazy, I know, but I have actually seen a few. Otherwise, I wouldn't believe it, either.

Mine are not those children.

Each time we go to the store it's like a traveling three-ring circus has landed right in the middle of the frozen section, scattering innocent bystanders to and fro.

Yesterday was exceptionally fun-filled.

I go in with my list, trying hard to focus on it all so I don't forget anything, which I inevitably do. Immediately, before we barely make it through the front doors, Brother starts to ask for something.

This is becoming a frequent problem these days. I don't buy my children something everytime we go shopping. In fact, I NEVER buy them anything. I figure I'm buying food and toilet paper. What more could they ask for? The only time they get something extra is if they have their own money to spend.

So what's with all the asking? Brother asked for something three times before I even got anything in the shopping cart. Maybe he thinks his real mom has been abducted by aliens and I am the android, fill-in mom who doesn't know the rules.

And what is it about the store that makes them want to run? Is it the wide open aisles? Is it all the sugary snacks lining the shelves, seeping into their skin by osmosis? Is it the fluorescent lighting making their little brains short out and go haywire?

And the touching. They MUST touch everything. I know one day it will be the poor, helpless jar of spaghetti sauce or mayonaisse that will pay the price.

While passing by the soda aisle, I remembered the family gathering on Sunday for my dad's birthday. I called Mom to see what I needed to bring so I could pick it up while I was there and not have to make yet another death-defying trip to the store.

As you know, children have a sixth sense - a built in radar - that alerts them to Mom being on the phone and properly distracted. Prime time for mischief.

So the Not-So-Well-Trained Monkey Act begins. Baby, who has been trying to stand in the shopping cart seat every thirty seconds, has now resorted to slapping my chest and laughing. Brother is trying to pick Sister up by the neck, which elicits ear-piercing, window shattering squeals from her, and loud, obnoxious belly laughs from him.

While on the phone, trying to gather useful information, I periodically say, "Stop!" or "Sssshhhh!", even using sheer, brute force at times to try and control the chaos. But this only makes them more manic and hysterical.

We are attracting "looks" from other shoppers.

I finally tell my mother that I need to go and manage my children, who are behaving like hooligans. "Give my babies a hug!" she says sweetly. "What they need is a kick in the pants!" I growl.

Brother finds this extrememly funny and decides to turn the tables. What does he do?

He kicks ME in the pants.

And my protests only egg him on. Encouraged by this, Sister joins in. And Baby, always the copycat, begins her abuse of Mommy again by slapping my chest and laughing.

I look like a woman who has dropped a bag of marbles and is scurrying around trying to gather them up.


Who's the trained monkey here?

So, I will never, ever, EVER take my children to the store again. Even if all we have to eat is raisins and chick peas.

I would rather starve.


Heth said...

Are you sure your kids weren't abducted by aliens and that you actually had MY kids at the store with you?

Many times I have read them the riot act as I buckled them in their car seats and then cried all the way home.

Can we trade them in for a more complient version??

Ann Kroeker said...

I used to have the lofty vision of using the grocery store as an educational opportunity, like home educators insist is possible. They suggest making up math problems for the kids to figure out while gliding peacefully down the aisles. "I need a dozen apples, Joey. I have eight in the bag. How many more do I need?" Or, "This is a kiwi fruit, Sally. Do you know where it comes from?" Sheesh. I'm supposed to make up story problems while following my list, comparing prices, juggling coupons and keeping the preschooler from poking his finger into the bread bags or toppling the pyramid display of Granny Smiths? I've never had that idyllic educational grocery store outing. Ever. Instead, I tend to go late at night on my own. Thank heaven for 24-hour supermarkets, but how depressing that my big outing of the week is such a mundane destination. I feel your pain.

Michelle said...

Don't I empathize with you!
Even last night, on the phone with MY mom my two year old came a nipped at me while my 1 year old cried and cried just 'cause.
Growl, growl!
And that cart standing up thing! What is up with that!? My boy does the same thign and if I try to buckle him in I know I get wailing protest the whole time. Send the hubby with the kids to the store. Which was to happen when you went to your class I seem to recall. What was his experience? Different kids? Or, like my hubby would do (bless his heart) suger them up?

Anonymous said...

I was picturing it all as I was reading. It was a funny sight. I can't laugh too hard though, it happens to me too. The stares, oh the stares. People like to act as though they've never seen such mis-behaved children. HA! Whatever!
I do my best to only go to the store when I only have one or none to deal with. NEVER both!

kellygirl said...

ok, so who cannot relate? There are times I can have a decent outing. Try to get the kids involved...8,6,3 and 1. But more often than not it's crazy. My husband says I should go alone...I think it would result is me spending less!

HeartsDesire said...

I decided when my kids were littler that I would no longer take them to the grocery store. For two years, I never did. It was hard, but shopping with them was harder. I wound up going late at night or early in the morning before Hubby left for work.

Anonymous said...

raisins and chickpeas? I'll save you a trip and send you a can I have in the cupboard

Goslyn said...

I only have ONE, and my trips to the grocery already eerily mirror yours. Ack. What's a mother to do?

Oh, and the best thing happened to me. One of those days when my then 10-mos old was carrying on and I was trying to buy mustard, and I was "parked" catty-corner in the asile, unintentionally. I must have been there several minutes, trying to calm my kid down, when I finally notice this elderly man waiting. I moved my cart so he could pass and apologized for blocking him. He says "Who parks their cart like that? What are you, and idiot? You shouldn't be allowed out in public."

Mind you, he could have said, at any time - "Excuse me" - and I would have happily moved for him. I was just distracted. Argh.

Sandi said...

I always had my girls hold onto the cart. If that didn't work I would take hold of their upper arm, get down to their level, look them straight in the eyes, and tell them between my teeth that if they don't behave we are going home without food. If they act up, we go home, sans food. And they go to their rooms. Once dinner comes around they get to eat (what was it?) chick peas. I would then explain because they couldn't behave this is what we have. then announce the crapy meal for tomorrow!

shannon @ rocks in my dryer said...

As the mother of the child who THREW A GLASS JAR OF GRAPE JELLY IN THE FLOOR OF AISLE EIGHT this week, I can only chuckle.

yerdoingitwrong said...

Oh my goodness. The things I get to look forward to!!! My mother tells me that I was a holy terror in the grocery store when I was little. I'm sure she's hoping for a little payback!

The Human Napkin said...

That poor helpless jar of spaghetti sauce was thrown in the floor by my two-year-old son recently. And it was the really fancy, expensive kind. I feel your pain, though! I try to go to the store while the oldest is at school, but to be honest, he's my little mediator and the other two are the hooligans.

Mama of 2 said...

Each and every time I walk into my grocery store I thank the heavens for this thing called the "eagle's nest". It's where you can leave your children ages 3-9 to be attended to by trained professionals while you shop in peace -- unless you have brought the hubby along. This coming July Little Man will be too old for said place and I am already dreading it. I am thinking I will only be doing grocery shopping while he is in school and as for the summer months we will be eating out thank you very much.

Sabrina said...

This is so true to my life only minus the baby! I long to shop alone, and now plan to only when kids are in schoolif I can!

Anonymous said...

I honestly don't mean to laugh AT you, but oh my goodness how have you been spying on me?!? I only have two, but I can only imagine the shopping trips we will have with three! Big Brother here already does the picking up his little sister by the neck (and she's only 14months!) and little sister thinks she's a trick rider in the circus and can ride the shopping cart standing up (and preferably on the rails!).

Thanks for the laugh - it helps to know I'm not alone!

jjofar said...

crack me up! that so reminds me of that old movie...MR. MOM...'irv,clean up on isle 4'

anyway, my favorite is when my mom-in-law calls me when i am in the store with the boys and is like, 'what is wrong with them? are they hurt?' i say,'not yet!' and she says,'been there jen, don't stay too long. the store always tires them, and i can understand why they are not having fun!' needless to say, now i don't answer!
i want to say...yes, due to the fact that when you take them you purchase an overpriced toy that could have fed a small country and don't make them sit in the cart or even stand by you for that matter.
these are the times that i refer to my book M.I.L.D.E.W. that i purchased for myself at a cute little gift shop while browsing alone. (mother in law's do everything wrong!)

jjofar said...

and yes, i meant 'aisle'...sorry!

ashlee said...

i say this everytime i take my kids to the store...them we go again the next day!

you didnt know i had a blog because it is not nearly as FUNNY as yours, nor as introspective.

yeah we are blogging friends:)
ps i love your bow this month!!!!

PastorMac's Ann said...

"And what is it about the store that makes them want to run? Is it the wide open aisles? Is it all the sugary snacks lining the shelves, seeping into their skin by osmosis? Is it the fluorescent lighting making their little brains short out and go haywire?"

No kidding?! My 7 yr. old and 4 yr. old do this, and it makes me NUTS! And I think the store makes them hard of hearing too because they never stop when I tell them to only when I grab one of them. But the worst of it is my 11 & 14 year old daughter fighting with each other like 2 three year olds. I told them the last time we were shopping that I would never bring them to the store together again.

rlhilliard said...

I dropped a spaghetti sauce jar on the grocery floor once. I don't have any kids so I looked around...I see no kids to blame for that one. dang it! just kidding. enjoy your blog immensely!