Grocery stores are prime targets for epic meltdowns. I blame the lighting and over-stimulation that results from so many treats and brands that market directly to children. I mean, hello! I am the one with the cash, and knowledge of what is good for them. Market to me! Idiots.
I usually avoid grocery shopping at all cost, mostly because I do not want to schlep my children through the store after daycare pick-up. They are tired, hungry, and dirty, very, very, dirty, which is just not the right combination to be seen in public.
That being said, I reached my lunch creativity limit last week when I combined craisins and raspberries and called it fruit salad. The fridge and pantry were bare, so, I decided that I needed to go “big shopping” yesterday. Pat was home, so I opted to leave Riley with him and bring Bode to Costco with me. It seemed like the logical choice, as he can usually be entertained with an applesauce pouch and some crackers, while Riley likes to stand up in the cart screaming “I want to walk,” or “Call me Elsa” at the top of her lungs for the majority of the time we are in the store.
Bode was a doll, smiling and giggling at all those who passed by him. He munched on crackers and cheese samples (love us some Costco samples) and got super excited when I offered him a pretzel chip. Little did I know that this little chip would be the beginning of our downward spiral. A piece of the chip must of got caught in his throat and he proceeded to projectile vomit all over the cart, me, and the floor. Lovely. Lucky for me, I had started in the alcohol section (shocking, I know) and the majority of my cart was filled with wine bottles and corona. I wiped them off quickly and then went to work on cleaning the floor. I could have just left it there, but the thought of some 80 year old slipping on vomit and breaking a hip while enjoying a leisurely afternoon of free samples stopped me from doing so.
Bode cried through the whole thing, not understanding why I had ripped the chip from his dimpled little fingers, and onlookers looked at him like, “that poor thing.” It’s ok people, move along. Feel bad for me, the woman covered in vomit, not the child who is clearly well fed and wanting more snacks.
Once things were tidy, we moved on and completed the rest of our shopping list. Bode started to be fussy, and I rushed through the last few aisles singing “wheels on the bus” and playing defense against Bode’s fruitful attempts to throw “Sally” and his milk cup at fellow Costco goer’s heads. Sorry to those who got nailed, the kid has talent, what can I say.
Overall, it was a typical experience for those of you who have shopped with young kids. Today however, I got to be on the other side of the scenario. I ran to City Market, the local co-op, on my lunch break to grab a salad and a few things I needed to get for dinner. Costco is great, but I just don’t need 6 lbs of shredded mozzarella, you know what I mean?
I walked into the store at the same time as this sweet little family. The parents had their hands full for sure, with three boys ranging in age from probably 2-6 years old. I admired them for a second thinking, “Wow, these kids are so well behaved.” Envious, I grabbed a basket. At the exact same time, the youngest boy picked up a tomato and threw it across the store, narrowly missing my head by an inch. I laughed, as the mother looked horrified, and I explained that I too had young kids. She smiled at me and we exchanged a moment of complete understanding for one another.
I continued on, but passed by them a few more times throughout the store. Things were clearly escalating. As I made my salad from the salad bar, I watched as the oldest of the boys plopped into the stroller, which was clearly too small for him. The middle child screamed at him to get out, crying that it was his seat and the dad unsuccessfully tried to play referee.
I turned away thinking it was nice to just be by myself for a moment and not have to worry about my own little humans causing chaos. As I moved toward checkout, I saw them again. The two-year old was crying now, hard. His wailing was sharp and his words very clear. He wanted his mom, and dad was just not going to do at that moment. Dad tried to pick him up and he swiftly arched his back and extended his arms toward his mother who was trying to decide between chicken salad or tortellini salad. The woman looked hopeless, probably knowing she would barely get to eat the lunch anyways, as the kid continued to cry and the dad told him he needed to be quiet or they would need to go outside.
My heart ached for them a little bit, but it also put things into perspective. Parenting definitely has its hard moments. Moments that make you want to put your face in your hands and cry. But, we all go through them. No one is immune to it. It’s hard not to feel completely defeated when you are in the midst of a rough patch, but the good thing is you always come out the other side. And when you do, you are usually greeted with sweet baby kisses and belly laughs from your infant, and full body hugs and “I Love You’s” from your toddler. This is the best. It makes your heart feel full and so happy.
And, if it is a particularly rough day, put both kids in their carseats and take a ride. Strapping your kids down is sometimes the only way to survive. Treat yourself to an iced coffee (drive-thru of course) too, you deserve it.
Parenting is hard. So hard, but so worth it.