Years ago, my then wife was away for a vacation, with a friend. I took the week off to look after our three children. They were 8, 5, and 3, at the time. Mid-week, I discovered that we needed supplies so I loaded them all up to head to Superstore, for a grocery run. My then wife had always done the grocery shopping whilst I was at work. So, I figured, I could do this…how hard could it be?
As we approached the parking lot I began talking to the kids about not touching anything, not asking for things, not to yell/fight since we were in public…you get the idea. They all agreed and I felt quite proud of myself. This was going to be awesome. Uh huh.
To set the stage, it was mid-week, during the day, so the store wasn’t too crowded. And, not any Dad’s, that I could see. As we entered the store, a fight ensued about who would be in the cart. I only put the three year old in the cart and made the others walk. This ended in tears for one child. From the first aisle, everything they saw, they touched, dropped, smelt, and asked for. It took about four aisles (with ten to go) until I was at my wits end. Just shoot me, I thought.
All hell broke loose when I entered the cereal aisle. It’s like they had never been fed before. Like, they had been on a desert island and this was there one and only meal. Like, the insanity gene in their brains was suddenly activated. When my middle daughter was told she couldn’t have what she was asking for, she threw a screaming fit and dropped to the floor. A conniption…oh joy. I walked away. I noticed parents at each end, staring, wondering what I was going to do. So, I stopped, walked back and said, “Young lady, where are your parents?!” …and, walked away. Rachel stopped crying instantly, being confused by my comment. Women at each end burst into laughter. I walked back again and said, “You want cereal”? She nodded. I said, “Pick one”. She pointed at a box of Corn Pops. I grabbed the box and firmly pressed it against her chest so she had no choice but to grab it with both arms. I said firmly, “You hold onto that box the entire time we are in here. If you put it down, even once, you’ll lose it. Do you understand?” She nodded. “Are you sure you understand?” She nodded again.
For the next hour, Rachel carried around that box of Corn Pops. She even carried it out to the car and into the house, when we got home. She was quiet, polite, and didn’t utter a sound. The perfect princess. And yes, I did let her have a bowl for dinner.
When the ex got home from her trip, I told her the story and we laughed. But, I also told her that she would never have to get groceries with the kids again…a promise I kept. Now that my kids are 14, 11, and 8…I can leave them at home when I grocery shop (because they haven’t changed, at all). Age does bring some freedom. I am looking forward to a year and a half when the oldest will drive! Hee haawww!
What are your experiences in the grocery store, with your kids?