Sunday, 26 January 2014

Cruise the Isles

Many devoted parents, though they cherish their children, dread going into the grocery store. They hold out until they can find a moment to go unescorted. Or they wish it could be like the good old days and they could just leave the kids in the car. The last thing they want to do is bring their opinionated, selfish, loud, slow (yet adorable, of course) little helpers. When they do go with their tagalongs they try to get it done as quickly as possible. 

My sentiment is very different. But, I know, I only have one child. Only two hands and two feet to watch. And one mouth (don't eat that!). I live in a small town and have learned it is more stressful when we are in a busy, large center. I usually don't work full time, so I have a little more of the clock to devote to wandering the isles.

Sometimes, we'll go just to do that. We'll stop in on our way by and she'll push around the cart, intently looking for what we should purchase. We'll leave with a watermelon and a pack of raisins. Or some milk and bread. Only a few times has she insisted we take something I didn't want (like instant noodles and sauce, which she believes we need). And it doesn't make it through the checkout.

She loves the grocery store.

And when I have a moment to spare, I love to let her explore.

She'll pick up a box and ramble off some sounds as she "reads", interjecting a word if she sees an identifiable picture on the package. "Blug bub libble dug teapot bly gooble be bleer..."

She'll point at everything (sometimes everything) and ask, "Mom, what's that?" And then usually respond, "Oh." 

She'll straighten shelves. She'll try to hang items on hooks. She'll right boxes or bottles that have fallen over. Her new thing is to point out any spots that have no stock. "Uh oh, Mommy, empty!"

Sometimes, she'll just run. 

She will try to help me make my selection. Once we went to get dog food, as we were out. I think she was making the choice based on the dogs on the front of the bag. "I want to hug THAT one!" When I made my choice, she adamantly exclaimed, "Not that one! Put it back!"

I don't mind her getting a little loud or frustrated sometimes. I try to be aware of the people around us, though. I'm sure we have annoyed some. Or at least run into them. One time she was trying to push a wheeled basket instead of pull and it was impossible to maneuver. She was getting quite angry but determined to make it work. The whole store could hear her torment. This age is a little more difficult because often she is not willing to let me help her solve the problem. She doesn't want to be shown. She wants to brainstorm alone. And that is a frustrating process. 

Lately she wants to figure out what I am doing at the self checkout. When there was no lineup I showed her which buttons to push and let her push them for me. All... the... buttons... one... at... a... time. Thankfully she only asks occasionally, as it adds quite a bit of time.

We've had our grocery store traditions for a while now. As soon as she could walk she was learning to ask before touching. And I was learning to pay attention! Last year, I turned my back to choose a steak and the next thing I hear is, "Excuse me, she's thrown your carton of eggs."

We've had mishaps. We've had lack of cooperation. I've had to carry her 30lbs in one arm and a full basket in the other (kicking myself for again not getting a cart). We've evacuated due to a temper tantrum. But her tantrums are usually because we were leaving in the first place and she wasn't done. 

But the majority of the time it is an enjoyable experience. One day she'll want the chocolate bars instead of just straightening them. One day she'll insist we buy the Kool-Aid that she smiles at every time, exclaiming, "Happy face!"

But for now, we just shop for mom and explore.

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