While it was once intimidating to me, I no longer hesitate taking my kids to the grocery store.
However, an excursion a couple weekends ago was one of those experiences that will give me pause in the future.
While in the backseat on the way to the store, I noticed my sons slapping hands in what I thought was their versions of a high-five. At the time, I thought that was so cool, thinking to myself finally they are starting to get along better.
Soon after arriving at the grocery store, I realized they weren’t actually high fiving each other. More likely, they were shaking on a deal that involved a conspiracy to rattle their father to his core in the grocery store over the next hour.
As soon as we walked into the grocery store, the kids had the pick of the grocery carts — a red fire truck or a blue police cruiser. Beckett dominates this decision because Carson doesn’t seem to have a preference.
First, Beckett opted for the police cruiser so we went about taking off their hats and coats and we loaded up for the jaunt through the store. We didn’t get five feet before Beckett announced he had changed his mind. He now wanted the fire truck. I tried to let him know it was too late but he quickly undid his buckle, hurled himself out of the cart and went face first on the grocery store floor.
All of this in front of the cashiers and shoppers waiting to check out. Maybe it was my imagination, but each of them seemed repulsed. I did see one woman smiling broadly with a “been there, done that” look, so I offered her a “want him?” glance.
After that tantrum passed and I was able to relocate the boys into the fire truck cart, we moved on quickly.
The biggest issue on this particular trip was each time the cart stopped Beckett jumped out and wanted to grab every item he could as quickly as possible. This was a first, as every other trip to the store he was content hanging out in his little vehicle making small talk with strangers.
Carson also had a touch of evil in him on this trip. From past experiences, I know that it’s best to keep the cart in the center of the aisle so wandering hands and arms cannot successfully swat items off the display cases.
However, with all the distractions the leaping Beckett was causing me, I lost track of the middle of the aisle concept. Carson was quick to notice and before I knew it there were three or four boxes of Cheez-its spewed across the floor. Beckett pounced on a box immediately and began to open it.
Until checkout time, most of the rest of the trip was fairly tame, although I did have to pick up a couple dozen Cheez-its off the floor from the kids dropping/throwing them. Yes, I let them open the box in the store. It bought me some time.
When we approached the cash register, Beckett hopped out and headed straight for the door. I couldn’t chase after him because Carson was in the cart. Fortunately, he turned back around smiled mischievously before getting too close to the door. After seeing the look on my face, he sprinted back, stopping for a brief moment to grab a can of soup from a display.
The boys did cooperate well during the checkout process, helping load the items for the cashier, who seemed utterly disgusted by me, the kids or maybe just life in general.
Like most people, I bag so I can get out of the store as quick as possible. Well, bagging while making sure my 2-year-old was not successful in wiggling out of the cart and forcibly reminding my 3-year-old to stay close by proved to be a considerable challenge.
Despite my clear signs of stress, the cashier just stood there while I bagged and asked me “credit or debit.” I didn’t answer it, instead pushed some items her way so she would help with the bagging. She rolled her eyes at me in an obvious sign of disgust and I bit squarely down on my tongue, avoiding eye contact which was easy because her eyes were busy rolling around her head.
Meanwhile, as customers watched blankly, Beckett managed to grab one of the daily newspapers off the rack and was looking for my picture. I ended up having to buy that because he ripped multiple pages out of it. You should have seen the cashier’s face (not to mention mine) when I had to get back in line to pay for the paper.
Beckett couldn’t even charm her with a “you’re pretty” comment. Again she had that look of disgust, prompting me to conduct a little eye rolling contest of my own with her.
On the way home, my boys could tell I was annoyed because I was silent. I had nothing nice to say at the moment and I was rattled by the recent events. I needed a few moments to compose myself.
When we pulled into the driveway, Beckett read my mind, asking, “Are you disappointed, Daddy?”
I shook my head yes and was about to take advantage of what I thought was a teaching moment when he blew a raspberry in my face.
Carson, meanwhile, had managed to take off both his shoes and socks during the three-minute ride home and had a toe in his mouth. One of his socks is still missing today.
The boys went to bed early that night.