I don’t take the kids to the grocery store with me all the time; in fact, most of the time I’m organized enough to go without them, because it’s vastly preferable. When I go alone it’s much quicker and there’s less whining.
But this week I am completely off my game and swamped, to boot, and so I looked up from my work about ten minutes before the kids got home and realized that I would have to take them with me and go get some food.
[Aside: Joshilyn was describing something unpleasant to me on the phone today and said that she’d “rather eat a bug.” There was a pause as we considered the gravity of this statement. Then we moved on to mitigating factors: Is the bug alive or dead? Well, I’d still rather eat the bug. Is it crunchy? Let me think about it… yep, I’ll take the bug. Etc. I think this is a pithy way to sum up feelings of aversion and I plan to use it as much as possible. When I looked at the clock and realized I’d run out of time to grocery shop without the children, I immediately fell to considering whether this was better or worse than eating a bug.]
Monkey went into the play place at the store (free childcare while you shop, which is such a smart marketing move because studies show you spend more money when you don’t spend the entire trip hissing PUT THAT DOWN THIS INSTANT), while Chickadee declared she was too old for that and would help me shop. We were in and out of there in under half an hour. Woo!
Top five reasons it’s fun to walk around the grocery store with your eight-and-a-half-year-old:
- She’s just tall and strong enough to be able to push the cart without being a hazard to other shoppers, and she looks so darn SERIOUS about it.
- Pretty soon she’ll be all grown up and dressing in black and kissing boys and failing calculus and probably won’t be delighted by a slice of free cheese at the deli.
- When pop-tarts are on a Buy One, Get One special and you declare “Look, Chickie! It’s like Christmas came early!” while pointing at the display and holding your hand to your forehead in melodramatic joy, she laughs.
- She will remember what you came into the store to buy, as well as what you bought last time and don’t need to buy again.
- People who like children will smile at you.
Top five reasons it’s painful to walk around the grocery store with your eight-and-a-half-year-old:
- Bleeding eardrums from the constant stream of chatter can be somewhat distracting.
- Sometimes the commentary is less than adoring. (“Ewwwww that looks like GUTS!”)
- As yet unfettered by the gene that speeds transit of food from mouth to hips, she not only asks for every cookie and chip and ice cream that looks good, she’s always certain to add, “You know you want it. You are tempted. You looooove those!” Get thee behind me, tween Satan!
- People who don’t like children give you dirty looks.
- You will be minding your own business, perusing the meat case, when she suddenly announces in an entirely-too-loud voice, “Mom, how do people have babies when they’re not married? I mean, you told me how that happens but sometimes ladies who don’t have husbands get babies. How does that work?” And you will slowly answer that that’s a great question, and a complicated one, and perhaps not one to be tackled right here by the pork chops. People around you will muffle their laughter.