Amazing how the grocery store was enjoyable before children. Now it's a job, a challenge, a dreaded event that you do once a week. Truth is, after kids you go into the store to get food and get out. This is not a social event, and you pray you dont run into anyone you know. With a 4 year old, along with his 2 year old brother and the baby in the carseat throwing food that you just simply can't afford down an isle while you have a "how have you been" conversation with an old friend, does not bring any sort of joy to your life, regardless of what anyone has every told you. Most people go to the produce section first, and work their way back to the frozen food isle, however, after kids, you realize if you shop from the frozen food to produce you will save half the time. You rarely ever get behind the same loafers who obviously do not have children (or those who are smart and left them at home). And your chances of loosing a piece of frozen food that melts between the first isle and the last isle is less than your chances of loosing a child between produce and frozen foods.
If by chance your child escapes the buggy, and grabs a box of cherrios, preceeding in dumping the entire box on isle 6, before you can reach them, calmly walk away, expressing how you can't believe a mother would allow that kind of behavior. Remember, you are walking backwards through the store, so your chances of meeting them along the way are slim. I know what you're thinking... yes, you HAVE to go back and get your child.
The ever so dreaded check out line is the last stop before you lug the kiddo's to the car... which is a battle in itself. I dont know about anyone else but I can see the cashiers eyes get really big when we walk by. The prayers have started. I can almost hear her... "Please God, dont let them come here. Don't let them come here." I personally try to find a cashier that doesn't see us until we are already in line. By then it's too late and she is trying to make the most of the situation. This is not what she bargined for. She is probably making $6.50 an hour and this is was not in her job description. As children yell and grab candy off the shelf I'm beggin inside and out to please stop. I'm yelling at her in my head to please just hurry. She is there until 9:00 regardless, so she takes her time. The bag boy seems to take joy in the kids and their ability to destroy the checkout candy isle. Little does he know this will at some point more than likely be his life and it's really not as funny living the moment. The cashier finally rings up the entire order and gives me the total. I'm not sure about the rest of you, but whatever I planned to spend on that trip, was not what she tells me the total is. I, with a deep breath, hand her my debit card. We all proceed to the car. My next adventure for the evening.
I now have a buggy full of bagged groceries, and three children, neither of which can fit in the top or the bottom half of the buggy. Two kids, 1 carseat, and a bag boy who does not look thrilled about wheeling these groceries out to my car. I throw the baby in the car seat on my forearm, grab one hand, and another. Out the door we go. At this point the bag boy doesn't even ask if I need help. It's a given.
The look from the rest of the store is priceless. I can almost hear the lady at checkout counter #3 thinking, "Does she know what birth control is?" The nicely dressed lady at checkout counter #2 is thinking "I wonder if they are Catholic?" The man at checkout counter #1 is thinking... "I forgot condoms!!" Nevertheless, we head out the door. We are sure to walk through the crosswalk. Okay, no we aren't. I am only concerned about getting to my car without one of my children bolting out of my arms and into the front of another car passing. I get from A to point B in the quickest way possible. They will stop, right?
We finally make it to the car. The bag boy is loading the groceries into the back, and I am loading kids into the backseat. I count in my head, just to be sure I dont leave one behind. (My aunt has done this. She has 9 children) Firstborn, check. Middle child, check. Baby, check. By the time I finish buckling children into the car seats, the bag boy is halfway across the parking lot. He saw my total, he knows he isn't getting a tip today. Truth be known, I would have given him my left leg for the help. As I stand by my car, I realize, I made it. I made it through an entire store without loosing a child, or loosing my mind. I am proud. I deserve a sticker, like the ones they give my children when they scream bloody murder during a routine check-up. But the satisfaction of knowing I did this all by myself is enough for me..... Until I open the door to the car... and realize my firstborn pooped in this pants, and the middle child is playing with it.