Trips to the grocery store are never fun with a toddler. It usually end ups in tears because we all know that tots want what they want when they want it.
Last week I had no choice but to take my three-year-old and newborn to the grocery store, because we had to get some last minute items for my husband's "Sip, Snip and Dip," party. Yeah, that's right...I'm the crazy wife who welcomes her husband home after his vacsectomy with a surprise party complete with penis and ball-shaped appetizers and loads of friends to celebrate with. I mean, it IS a big deal-the quick operation seals the deal that we won't have any more little ones. And a great excuse for a little celebration.
So, thanks to some last-minute brainstorming done by me and my mom pals, we were armed with plenty of things to mark the moment, including a penis shaped selection of sandwiches, black and blue balloons, pickles and olives creatively placed, and of course a giant brownie with white frosting that read..."So long boys."
In order to get all the stuff for the party, me and my little ones headed to the store. My mission was to get in and out, tear-free, with enough time to set up for big daddy's arrival. It all started out great, until my daughter spotted one of those carts that have the kiddie car attached to the front. Yeah, sounds like a cute idea but they are TERRIBLE. Just ask the lady's heals who was walking in front of us at one point. I tried avoiding the car-cart but Emily is far too smart and doesn't miss a beat. So, I strapped her in and maneuvered us through the aisles, darting here and there for ball-shaped groceries while trying hard not to knock the end-of-aisle displays down when we turned corners.
After we loaded up our cart, we headed to the balloon counter. After nearly knocking over a card display, we stood in line behind a man who was getting a bouquet of flowers put together. The thing with having kids at the grocery store is that you have very limited time before they breakdown and beg to go home or decide they want to bust into their bag of Goldfish before they are paid for.
So, needless to say, I didn't have the freaking time to stand in line while the flower counter gal meticulously placed each flower stem in the bouquet like she was playing the game Operation, afraid to move her hand too fast.
I figured it would be best to leave this slothy moment and head to the checkout, buy the goods and come back to the balloon counter. Time management is key in these situations. So, we got in line...not without a little drama of course. A curmudgeon of a man with his middle-aged son started to stand in line behind us but they must've been deterred by the size of our cart and he said..."Ahhh we are never gonna fuckin get outta here if we stand in this line." Luckily his son hadn't yet reached the age of grump-nation and he had better ideas..."Okay dad well we can go to the self-checkout."
"How the fuck do you do that self-what?" said Curmudgeon.
By this point we had moved up in line and the car part of the cart was jammed between the candy shelf and the checkout counter. Perfect timing for Emily to want to make a move and get out...
"Mommy get me OUT OF HERE!"
Imagine this was repeated 800 more times, after I had told her that there was no way I could fit in between the remaining 2 inches between the car and the counter.
By the time it was time to pay, she had changed her mind yet again and decided she wanted to stay in the car. The twenty-something cashier gal didn't do a very good job concealing her impatience with my annoying toddler. That's okay, because if eyes could talk, mine said "Listen little know-it-all, this is gonna be you someday too." I was guilty of those same faces when I was twenty-something and in the presence of a toddler. I get it.
Of course she didn't have a bagger and now that both my baby and toddler were fussing up a storm I just started throwing groceries in the cart, bagless like I had just swiped them off the shelf without paying.
Groceries paid for-check! Now time to go back to the balloon shelf again. And OF COURSE no one was working at the counter. Maybe the steady hand sloth gal left for her lunch break. Luckily the pharmacy workers were kind enough to take a break from discussing their weekend plans to page someone for me.
The woman that showed up to be our balloon blower-upper ended up being a rainbow in our day. In the midst of having to rock crying baby Charlotte while reasoning with Emily about why she can't crumple the opened bag of Goldfish on the floor, this woman was our silver lining. She offered Emily a balloon and even let her choose the color. The two formed a rare bond...one that was laced with perfect timing and the color pink. She even told Emily that she could get a free balloon anytime she was working. Wow...to Emily this was like having Elsa over for a slumber party.
So, things were on the mend and our grocery store trip was looking up. Now all we had to do was walk to the car and unload the goods. Emily skipped along in front of me gripping the string of her pink balloon and the world was good. And then it happened...I misjudged the amount of room I had in front of the stupid car cart and Emily's little body. I hit her from behind (I swear it was an accident and just a light nudge-don't call Child Protective Services) and she went tumbling forward while dropping her balloon. All I could hear was her high pitched scream and all I could see was the balloon floating up to the clouds. I had two choices...run to my toddler and console her or sprint the few feet to the balloon and save it.
I chose the balloon and luckily some nice grocery store worker did the parenting duty for me (it takes a village)...he came running after us with one of the small balloons that we had dropped behind us in the flurry of events. He consoled her while I launched into an olympic worthy jump in the air to catch the balloon.
"Yay mommy you saved my balloon!"
And like the end of any good day of parenting...I was sweaty, Emily was happy and baby Charlotte was alive.
Oh, and the "Sips, Snips and Dips" party was a success...