My hometown’s grocery store recently closed and reopened under a new franchise brand. The change brought about a reorganized produce section, complete with some organics, better pricing (my opinion) and a great perks program (again, my opinion). But, by far, the greatest addition is the kid-sized grocery carts. (INSERT – Complete sarcasm! HERE)
I thought I was the cool mom. I thought she was the disciplined child. I learned that those two things really do not go hand in hand.
Here is what happens when you give a near two-year old their own personal kid grocery cart.
It all started with her big eyed gasp, that seriously gets me every single time. How could I resist? She spotted the little shopping cart and reached out her hands, little fingers erect, nearly leaving my arms. Then with her little voice, “Mommy, cart, Mommy, cart.” There was a smile on my face. “I got this!” No, “We got this!” I thought proudly to myself.
Looking back now, there were other adults starring at me. Eyeing me up. I am sure they were all thinking the same thing… “What a cool Mom. Great Mom.”
Ahh, who am I kidding? They were secretly judging me. “Just you wait!” They all probably smirked.
But, she was so cute, cruising through the produce. “Mommy, orange,” she yelled. “Nana.” (That is banana talk, folks).
I think the first item in her cart was a pack of blueberries, then a yellow pepper, then said Nanas.
“Follow Mommy.” I would sweetly proclaim and smile at other shoppers. As if my smile and nod was really communication to cue them to look at my sweetheart.
The frozen foods were next. As she slowly lagged behind me, I scanned the freezers while constantly looking back. My concentration and meal planning game was totally off, but hey, I needed a “few” things.
As we made the turn, I noticed the produce guy hauling the empty cart up the aisle behind us. “Watch where you are going,” I softly encouraged her, smiling at the gentleman who did not return my sincere gesture. Nah, instead he sighed, looking around his cart, knowing he could easily take her out. There was no, “She is cute,” or mere awe from him. More like disdain and I felt it then, he was thinking, “Who the hell invented these things?”
We avoided a mid-aisle collision and rounded the end cap to the chips. Lo started to grab items. Up until this point, things were too high or behind freezer doors, but now they were just a hand away. “No,” starting to be said.
“I don’t think so. We don’t need that. Come on, Lo. No.” All the discipline started to come out, but she was still so darn cute. All disheveled and grimy from the day, pushing her cart. Ya, know, just like, her Mom. I got out my phone. I videoed her. Posted it to Instagram, then SnapChat. She was a bit more confident with the cart and I was still the cool Mom.
We scanned the next aisle and encountered an enthusiastic shopper. “Oh, would you look at her!” The happy lady said to her husband as he picked through the brats (actually I don’t know if that is what he was looking at in the meat section, but it sounds good now). He turned, holding his brats and chuckled, “Are you shopping young Lady?”
Of course, Lo replied, “Yesh!” (Not yes. It is Yesh!) I smiled back. THIS is what I was talking about and what I was envisioned in my head when we first spotted the cart in the front of the store. A happy Mommy / Daughter night.
I was growing in confidence too. I added some soup cans to her buggy as we made the turn to the next aisle revealing… more canned goods. Before I knew it she had beets, spam and tuna in her cart. Ya, know, typical items a two-year old desires! I secretly removed them, returning them to the shelf when she would turn her back. Half way up the aisle I realized… she was starting to take control. She started running. Grabbing a canned good here, grabbing one there. Actually she could no longer push the buggy. Well she could but she was exercising the same exertion I do, when I am loaded down and sliding into the check out lane.
“Why don’t we take a break form the buggy and you ride in Mommy’s cart I asked?” Surprisingly, she obliged. I transferred the items from her cart to mine, loaded her in the front, left the child’s cart in the aisle and went on my merry way. So, I thought…
Once the cart was out of sight, the meltdown began. Screaming, crying, tantrum status in the SODA section. Just like a shaken bottle of pop, there Lo was erupting. I tried shhhing her. I tried distraction. I talked about McDonald’s. I actually thought about aborting the whole damn mission. “But you have come so far!!” I mentally told myself. “You are right I have!” I mentally replied.
She was screaming! Clinging to my neck, looking into my eyes. Oh damn, we were deep. I started sweating. Like full on drench mode, as I passed Captain Crunch and Tony the Tiger. If they could talk, I was no longer the cool Mom. I was what-the-heck-did-you-do-to-your-child-Mom.
Then there were other children. A distraction to Lo. And, an end display of Beanie Babies. Who knew they made these anymore? I took her out of the shopping cart (BIG MISTAKE). I let her play with the toys to calm down. I grabbed some items quickly, we made the turn and then we each saw it… three children pushing mini shopping carts. I repeat pushing MINI SHOPPING CARTS. She freaked! She wanted one, had to have one, and then in the open she spotted the one I had abandoned mere moments earlier, sitting there alone and she took off. Full run through the meat section. I had a choice. I chose chase. I left my cart, my purse, wide open I might add and went after her. By the time I grabbed her arm, she grabbed the cart. I was defeated. I succumbed. “Fine. Push the damn cart!” I yelled. People looked at me. I was Mean Mom.
My cart was untouched. No one stole my snacks and my purse remained in the front seat. Wallet still intact.
At this point just wanted to hurry up and get the hell out of the store, while my mini shopper followed in tow.
As we made it through the dairy aisle I became a Bully Mom. “Come on, Lo. Hurry up. No. Pay attention. Stop that. Don’t touch that!” I felt like a jerk since I set this whole thing up. When she spotted the Popsicles, I felt like I HAD to buy them for her for the mere subtle sorry for the trouble I caused. I allowed her to put them in her buggy then hurried her along.
As we eyed the check out lanes, the finish line in sight. I snagged this picture.
She had actually opened the box, while she followed behind me and was two-seconds from eating one. I quickly threw the Popsicles in my cart. And drug her, her cart, my cart and all of her tears and screams to the open check out lane. Yes, for an open check out lane.
I ditched her mini shopping cart. I wanted to drop kick it or shove it as hard as I could into the nearby wall. Instead, I mildly pushed it aside.
When I thought I was home free, when I thought I had suppressed her anger and even my own, with gummies (fair trade-off for a Popsicle), the kind couple from aisle #3 appeared. You know, the ones who encouraged me, who made me feel like the Cool Mom, she heard my daughter’s squeals and thought now would be a great time to interact a bit more. She reach for the Snow white balloon in the check out lane and presented it to my daughter. I now realized I needed the mini shopping cart to run it into her heel. No, I am kidding, kidding. HaHa. But, I did want to ask her if she wanted to babysit my screaming daughter, while I peeled the balloon from her fingers.
We checked out. I spent more money than I planned. I actually had no idea what I even bought until I unpacked at home. And, I drove us straight to McDonald’s for our evening dinner. I was too exhausted to cook.
Then another fight broke out between the two of us in the fast food lane as I asked her if she wanted chicken nuggets and she started screaming and crying for pancakes and sausages. I thought I had lost all hope. But then a heavenly angel came through and spoke to me , using the drive-thru speaker as her medium and asked – “Welcome to McDonald’s. Breakfast Menu or Dinner Menu?” The light shined at the end of a long tunnel and I ordered breakfast for dinner.
Thank you, McDonald’s for the win!! I will take the all-day breakfast idea over the mini shopping carts any day.