Wednesday, October 31, 2007

My first time

We just had to do what I think alot of parents had to do way before I ever did: completely LEAVE the grocery store without completing the task of obtaining the food, due to toddler spaz attack, level 4, code crimson.

It was actually quite funny and liberating! We have needed to grocery shop for days and days now, and even though I can get better prices pickin' and choosin' at the farmer's market and the produce store and Sam's Club and Wal-Mart and the little grocery store near the house, ummm its not my big life to shop with four kids all day everyday. I am tired, we have one car, we have limitations on alot of things, and so Kroger it was decided.

I don't know if these store names are familiar to anyone living outside of the midwest, but Farmer Jack was a big store that recently went out of business, leaving Kroger and Meijer as our only local "Big Grocery Chain Stores" and the competitive pricing has gotten less competitive and stuff is just getting so expensive! I had a bad feeling when I saw $2.49 a pound for red onion and $2.19 a pound for apples. APPLES! In October! In Michigan! no. then I wanted a small bag of almonds and they were 7 bucks. Frozen Salmon was $8.99. Pop was like 4 bucks. It was stupid.

But back to the toddler meltdown.

So we got one of those fun carcarts, and Casey and Charlie rode in the carpart. Knowing that this would only last so long before they beat each other or started to climb out the window of the car or whatnot, We also brought a stroller which Greta and Mickey pushed, empty. I had some ridiculous image in my mind that Charlie might "rest" in there, like he is 6 months old or something. So I brought a blanket and a pacie and a water. Thoughtful of me, right?

While we were still in the produce section, Charlie started up his high pitched demand of "I COME OUT. I COME OUT. I COME OUT! I COME OUT?! I COME OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I COME OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I! COME! OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Ok, ok, there are like 12 grandmas staring at me like they never saw a mom before, and so in my best, best super patient "lil' buddy" voice, I said ok, honey, lets try the stroller" and I put him in the stroller. He was screeching before I could even buckle him in. Of course, I am over 6 feet tall, bending over our piece of crap broken stroller with some sweater on that only a few minutes ago felt cozy and jaunty but now was strangling me to death and threatening to roast me/give me heatstroke/itching, bleeding hives and so, I was pretty much high blood pressuring out and we weren't even in aisle one.

"There you go, hun" I smashed the little clicker into its receptacle.

"Greta, please push him around so I can pick some things"

Mickey has chosen this moment, like so many other high pressure moments, to chitty chitty chitty chitty chat and vaguely beg for weird things. I completely do not answer him. ?If he missed the 15 minute prelude speech that I gave in the parking lot about how we are only buying what is on the list and if you beg for other crap you will not go trick or treating then that isn't my problem, and besides, who could hear anything right now with Charlie SCREECHING.

I put a tiny bag of $4.99 a pound sugar snap peas in my cart. I have no idea why.

We get to the end of the produce and Casey is climbing out of the window of his race car cart and Mickey pounces onto the roof of it and screams "BOO!" and Casey starts crying, a bit fake, but nice and loud. So now I have 2 boys crying. We enter the beginning of aisle one. Some woman in a Kroger uniform walks over to Greta and the strollerfull of screaming Charlie and sticks a purse that is in the shape of a dog in his face and says "Look! Look! Look! Who's this? Is this doggie? Is this doggie?" and I said "Please, don't. Excuse us, please"

but over the din of Charlie's crying, neither of us really heard each other and I made a head-bobbin motion for Greta to just push the baby away and go on a walk, which she did not get and started getting frustrated with me. I decided to "pull over" and "regroup", and so I squatted down to Charlie to decipher what it was he was screaming. "I WALKIN" is what he was saying. He wanted to walk. As in, like a person does in a store. Like you see little girls do in stores, but not so many little boys. (Call me sexist, but then go do some field research and get back to me. I got 10 years in the field and I know what I know. 2 year old girls are capable of straight-line walkin now and then. 2 year old boys....they got about 5 or 6 more years to go before walkin can be achieved without some major glitches)

So, in the same delusional universe that decided to wear the wool sweater, that decided to go with the car-cart, that decided to buy snap peas, that decided to pack a little blankie in case he wanted to REST, I unbuckled Charlie and thought maybe he could walk with us.

and then he was gone. for a moment I thought "ahhh silence" but--no, no that's terrible--"Stay here, guys!" I briskly walked around the corner , fully expecting to see a tiny little person and when I didn't, I felt horrible. I ran to the next aisle and the next aisle--where he was about halfway down the aisle, trotting pretty fast. (Oh, how I wish for his birthday tomorrow I could rent him an empty grocery store and let him free!! No glass jars or staring grannies, please) so I jogged up behind him and said "Hey, baby! You can't just run off like-----"BOOM! He bucked back and headbutted me in the jaw. I dropped all facades at this point and put him under my arm like we all do when hoity toity grannies are not looking. I marched back to aisle one and told the children "We are leaving. We are not buying the food right now. It is ok. Lets just leave"

That's all I needed to say, right?

No. Mickey and Casey were SO confused and really, weren't we all? They thought that perhaps here, in this burning inferno sweater, in aisle freakin ONE, holding a 30?40? pound child who is completely tantrumming out and screaming SO hard he was turning FUSCHA. that I should explain in 100 words or more exactly what was happening.


I grabbed our sticky gross pop cans, my purse, and ripped off that damn sweater, and threw them in the empty stroller which Greta thank goodness had the sense to just push and not question me. Mickey and Casey were blathering on: what about the apples and what about the peas and fortunately for us all, Charlie was just too loud to really be expected to hear anything.
And so, calmly, swiftly, mainly just just determined to hold my head up high---I channeled all the stories of all the mommies who ever "had to leave" , and they enveloped me in a good, rightful, strengthening, refreshing harmony as we made our way out to the car. I felt brave, in control. I didn't want their rip off food anyways, nor did I want to see another evil rich peach haired old lady for a long, long time. I felt really, really much better as soon as we got out of that store.

Or maybe it was just taking off the sweater.

We'll get some other groceries from other stores someway somehow along the way over the next few days, we always do, and we have stuff here tonight to eat for dinner, (along with what I can only hope are plenty of Butterfinger bars and dark chocolates from trick or treating!!!) Of course not every trip is like this, in fact, it really hardly ever phases me to shop with all the children.

Happy Halloween!


Rixa said...

Whoa mama! I cannot imagine the insanity you had to go through. I hope you're curled up with a nice hot cup of chocolate or tea. Well, I suppose you're probably at work, but that is probably relaxing too in comparison!

Trish said...

I have SO been there! I have left nearly full carts in the aisle when my darings turned into monsters at the store. With us it's the kids fighting, though. When blood is drawn or it progresses to actual kicking, biting or punching we LEAVE.

I'm sorry you had to deal with that. But you did the right thing. I ran through Kroger yesterday with Ruthie SCREAMING the whole time because she wanted to walk. I only needed 3 or 4 things, so I just ignored all the grannies and annoyed young people without children and pretended like all was normal.


Enjoy the Butterfingers!

Andrea said...

Oh my gosh, this was really a great, great story. I mean, I'm sorry about the stress and the grandmas but you really just CAPTURED IT. And I only have one, who at 14 months wants badly to push the cart and crush the chips and throw all the produce and canned goods. And I inevitably bring the too heavy sweater, too, unless I don't, and then I'm inevitably FREEZING!

And the snap peas in the cart. I about spit my coffee.

The lady with the doggie purse reminds me of a couple months ago in Costco. I was checking out in the liquor line (sold separately in our state) and the checkers were all kind of milling about, not a lot of liquor traffic, and one of them, a very unpleasant grandma type, barged over to our cart, totally got in our space, and stuck a sticker on my son's hand. He started to cry. And instead of backing away and apologizing, as one should when one makes a baby cry, she stuck her face in his and yelled, "Ohhh, did I scare you? Ohhh, pooor baaaby!"

Grocery stores, man. What the heck? From the moment I was pregnant, they became like a David Lynch film.

Sgt Howie said...

I have witnessed that same scene play out so many times at the grocery store. Sounds like you handled it more graciously than most!

Jill said...

Ay carumba! I know I shouldn't have laughed during that, but it was so outrageously tragic that I couldn't help it! I made up for it by cheering at the end. :)

I already prefer to do my shopping alone with only ONE child to destroy the store. I think if I add anymore to my brood, I'll have to add a "dad must babysit on grocery day!" clause to our marriage contract.

Kelley said...

Oh, I HATE it when grocery shopping becomes HORRIBLE! You did a fantastic job, seriously. I was imagining myself in that very situation as you described it so expertly, and wanted to die with embarrassment right along with you. :)

Barbnocity said...

Oh, man...I can SO relate to this...So so true and real.

:) Barb

Joy said...

Well, now that the moment Steve gets off work, I take the car to go to MY work, the options for shopping solo are almost none. Sunday or Tuesday night--but those are when I want to see Steve!