Sunday, April 24, 2016
4 Boys, 1 Mom and a Grocery Store
Sounds like the title of a T.V. show doesn't it?
It kind of plays out like one as well, including the laugh track that comes from your kids and perhaps the people sitting at the in-store coffee shop who have nothing better to do than sip coffee and people watch at 3:30 in the afternoon when you should really already be in the process of dinner, not heading to the store with post-school, four starving males under the age of 16.
It is an activity I do only in emergencies because shopping with kids, in general, borders on crazy anyway, but shopping with 4 boys after school is akin to setting fire to your wallet and losing your mind simultaneously, in public.
So should you ever, for whatever reason: demomtia, momheimer's, Mother Hubbard disease, whatever it may be, have to go to the store with your children, go prepared.
Yep, have your list in hand. Not the grocery list, that's secondary. The one with emergency numbers. The number for the friend you can call and have her come rescue you by taking the child who began crying the minute you pulled into the parking lot because he has to go to the store "eyry day." That's a mythical person by the way, they only exist in parenting books.
The number for your spouse so you can let them know that even though you got to the store at 3:30 and it is now almost 5 you still haven't gotten to the dairy section yet, please pick up a pizza on your way home.
You have carefully made your assignments and attack plan before you entered the store. The oldest was assigned to push the cart down the middle of the aisle so the youngest can't reach anything on either side. The second is to quickly put back anything that the 3rd is grabbing off of shelves and placing in the cart while you are scanning shelves and list and mentally thinking about your pantry.
You smile for the kindly older people who say nice things about how cute your kids are, while you are wondering how on earth they suddenly have bright red mouths. You endure the comments of those who clearly have an agenda, "Are all of these children yours? Are you trying to repopulate the earth yourself? Do you think that is environmentally responsible?" And as you hear a scream from another aisle you say a silent prayer for that parent and quickly count heads making sure none of yours have escaped and are the cause of the distress being heard.
You are doing all of this in "go mode" which means you are talking quickly, reacting quickly and thinking faster than is humanly possible.
You have quieted a child asking in his outside voice, "Why does that lady have blue hair?" As well as excusing him to the man who he told, in the same outside voice, that he wears race car underwear and asks, "What kind of underwear do youse wear?"
Embarrassment is no longer part of your daily experience. You have been humbled to the dust by your children's comments and questions already. You now just hope that you actually have words of wisdom and redirection that make sense as you are trying to decide if you want to buy boxed pancake mix or make it yourself.
You have now made sure there is at least one thing in the cart that each family member can/will eat under the duress of starvation. The adrenaline rush of the expedition is wearing off and you head for the checkout. This is when it takes all of your reserves and stamina because the dreaded checkout lane is full of reachable sugar laden goodies you don't want your kids to have, touch or see, as well as magazine covers you don't want scarring the eyes of your adolescent teen who is trying to stay virtuous in spite of, well, Junior High.
Then, the reward hits. Your eyes meet. The waters have parted and you get her/him. The cashier who removes each and every unwanted pack of gum, ring pop, trinket, toy and gift card, except that one. The dark chocolate Dove bar you surreptitiously put on the conveyor belt and she hands you tucked nicely into the folded receipt whose final total declares that your children will have to earn their way through college because your 401k will be paying to fill their little bellies.
You have survived with your chocolate now safely in your purse, groceries headed to the car, all little heads accounted for when your realize with your heart sinking to the very bottom of your feet.
You forgot the milk.