Once upon a time I used Reusable Grocery bags. And I even shlepped all my empty water bottles to the store for recycling. And once upon a time I also only had one child. But gone are the days of easy shopping trips and meager attempts to be “green.” I have three kids now and I must brave the grocery store with all of them.
Heres how it goes:
I time it carefully so that we are going when Baby E is recently up from her nap and fed. I stuff my purse full of snacks and sippy cups and we race off to Wal-Mart. In the parking lot we prepare for battle. I get the cart and put #2 in the basket (he refuses the front now.) #1 is walking. #3 gets nestled snugly into a Moby wrap that I wear since I know she will fall asleep as she will NOT in the carseat. Plus that thing is super bulky and I can barely see around it.
Once we get inside the store, I can be seen pulling the cart behind me with one hand while I hold my newborn’s wobbly head in the other. I have to cuddle her a little to get her to sleep. We navigate our way around the million old people (Arizona in winter) crawling the store and refusing to get out of the way as they chat at length about their various prescriptions. I loudly announce, “CAN I GET BY, PLEASE?” And seriously this one old lady followed me around the entire store. Borderline creepy.
The trip is going well so far. I haven’t forgotten anything yet and my brain seems to be functioning enough to manage it all. #3 is sleeping soundly and #1 and #2 are eating their snacks. There is a crummy trail of colored fishies and graham crackers all around Walmart.
But time is waning and it’s getting obvious. #2 starts throwing food around in the cart and gets demoted to sit in the front cart seat, with the added bonus of me opening up a bag of pretzels that he can access at his leisure. #1 is beginning to wander off from time to time, prompting me to raise my voice, “Keep up!! Stay by the cart!” I really think I am THE only young mom in Walmart. All septogenerian eyes are on me. And #3 is beginning to stir, letting out the occasional squeak of displeasure.
#2 drops his fishy baggy, spilling fishies everywhere. #1 helps me pick it up. #2 starts trying to stuff pretzels into said baggy, getting about 1 of every 10 actually in the bag. I take away the bag of pretzels. One more item I forgot…those darn black beans!
Finally we are at checkout. Fortunately the line is not too long. There needs to be a special checkout just for moms shopping with multiple kids. #2 drops his special plate I was buying for him to encourage better eating. Plate breaks. #1 helps himself to some Light Saber shaped candy and distributes them out. I collect all the candies back, causing #2 to begin his relentless whine-cry. #3 is awake but not yet crying, thank goodness. #1 helps me by holding my purse but then leaves it on the floor across the aisle. I am barking out orders right and left: “Pick that up! Hold this! Put that back! Calm down! We’ll eat it at home! Yes you can have veggie juice for lunch! Yes, that IS a light saber! No, we’re NOT going to buy it!” All the while shoving bags and bags of food back in the cart and paying the cashier.
Finally we are out the door. I race to the car and manage to get everyone and the groceries inside within minutes. I sit myself in the drivers seat and check the clock. 12:00. Once I’m home and everyone is down for naps, I plop down on the couch, too exhausted to do anything else. It wasn’t my finest hour, but we all survived.
And that is why I try to go on Saturday.