Monday, May 13, 2019

Shopping With My Kids No Longer Makes Me Want To Gouge My Eyes Out With A Pencil

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Once upon a time I wrote a story about grocery shopping with my 6 young children. At the time, I was convinced that shopping with kids was the worst torture on the planet. Worse than having your ankles broken by a sledgehammer à la Kathy Bates in Misery. Worse than sitting in front of a white chocolate raspberry cheesecake and being on a diet. Worse than even going to the dentist. Just worse. Than anything at all. 

I remember back when Brooklyn would throw a fit and cry her way through the entire store. I remember how Clay would maneuver his way out of the seatbelt and try to get brain damage by flipping himself out of the cart. I remember how Lexi would insist on dressing in a princess costume, and she'd pirouette down the aisles. Jackson would alternately tease someone and beg me for candy. Savannah would ram the cart into my ankles, Austin would walk around, bored and fed up with his siblings. Then my kids grew up. And now they're (wait for it . . .) helpful!

This weekend, I uncharacteristically walked around Walmart without a list; just a vague idea of what I needed to get. My kids said stuff like, "Hey Mom, we're out of bread." I hadn't realized we were out of it. They said, "Can I get a frozen pizza to eat for when you and Clay are at his band banquet?" Oh crap, that's right! I'd forgotten about the banquet. Instead of trying to sneak random junk food into the cart, the reminded me to get celery and beans and almond milk.

I don't always even notice all the help they give me, but I'm reminded of it on those rare occasions when I run to the store by myself. The cashier will give me a raised eyebrow look and wonder if I'm completely stupid as I stand there waiting to pay while the little carousel of packed bags fills up. "Um, can you put those bags in your cart ma'am?" Oh right! I belatedly realize my kids aren't here to do that for me. I'm so used to them transferring the filled bags to my cart. They are totally helpful these days!

As I wheel the cart outside, I head down an aisle to my car. Only my car isn't there. So I scan the parking lot, searching for my van. I make my way up and down two more aisles. Where on earth did I park?! The little "beep beep" thing on my key fob ceased working years ago so I continue to march up and down the aisles, searching for my vehicle. At some point, usually when I'm about to call the police to file a stolen vehicle report, I'll remember that I didn't even park at that door and I'll head across the parking lot to the opposite side. This never happens when my kids are with me. When I head out the door with the cart, they immediately turn me around. "You parked over there, Mom. How do you not remember? It was like 20 minutes ago!"

And these days, I no longer get embarrassed. I was shopping with Clay and Brooklyn this weekend and as we headed toward the refrigerated section, a song came over the speaker system, so naturally I started singing along.

I'm not a present for your friends to open
This boy's too young to be singing, the blue-ooo-oooos, 
ahhh-ah-ah-ah-ah, 
ah-ah-ahhhh-ah

"Hey Mom?"

"What, Brooklyn?"

"Who sings this song?"

I mentally pat myself on the back for instilling a love of music in my kids' hearts. They have eclectic tastes and will sing along to an enormous variety of tunes, many of which are from when I was a kid and even before. I answer her, "Elton John."

She looks at me, deadpan and says, "Let's keep it that way."

Oh no she didn't! She wasn't interested in knowing who the artist was! She just set me up for a burn! Clearly, I had only one option.

So I sang louder.

Oh I've finally decided my future lies
Beyond the yellow brick ro-oa-oad, 
Ahhh-ah-ah-ah-ah, 
ah-ah-ahhh-ah

See kids? I'm impervious to embarrassment. All of those years of shopping with you guys and wishing a hole would open up and swallow me as we shopped have rendered me numb. Those times when I'd be embarrassed because you were wearing a Cinderella dress, cowboy boots, a flannel shirt, and a Cubs hat? Gone. The times I'd be embarrassed because you would just. not. stop. crying? Gone. The times I'd be embarrassed when you'd point to an overweight woman and loudly ask, "Does she have a baby in her tummy?" Gone.

So you moms of little ones who would rather (to steal a phrase from that old post) be a contestant on Fear Factor when they're having pig brains for lunch than to go shopping with your little ones, take heart. It gets better. So. much. better. I promise!

7 comments:

April said...

See Moms of young children, some tasks get better. Thanks Dawn, for helping me realize how shopping with kids had gotten better.

Dianne said...

I want to be your neighbor and friend. You make life interesting. My two children are grown and gone but you bring back thoughts long repressed.

Cathy said...

This is sooo true. I started following your blog due to a grocery store trip with your kids. I think it was a Clayton episode.

Vanessence7 said...

LOL Way to go! This is how you turn the torture from shopping with littles to shopping with mom. Bravo! :D

Dede Smith said...

Love it! I have always enjoyed your blog. Thanks for the laughs!

Ernie said...

Those shopping with younger kids scenaios are all too familiar. I have graduated, but now there are so many huge appetites to feed I can barely fit it in one cart. I try to shop during the day while I am babysitting for a couple kiddos vs the weekend. The weekend perk is my big kids can help me unload the car. My other fun thing to do with teens is make them drive me to the door and pick me up during Chicago ploar vortex days. That is a clear big kid perk!

Loretta Monroe said...

Shopping without kids is PURE BLISS! Now when my junior high boys do come along, I can give them each a list and send them in three different directions. This is my reward for enduring all those grocery store temper tantrums over the candy and stupid toys I didn't buy. Not to mention that one time when my son destroyed a beautiful end cap wine display. But that's a tale for another day.... :)

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