Shopping With Children

I think it’s the lighting in Wal-Mart. Those lights make us crazy.

It must be the lights. I cannot imagine what else would make my sweet children behave that way. Or what else would make me growl threats through teeth gritted in a fake smile.

Tonight I took my four older children to Wal-Mart to pick up a few things after a soccer game. The boys (ages 4 1/2 and 6-tomorrow) were supposed to ride in those cool seats added to the cart. You know those extra-long carts I’m talking about? My boys don’t seem nearly as impressed with them as I am. Actually, my boys think it’s great fun to climb on the seats, perch on the edge, and jump off the cart while I’m pushing it down an aisle. Not that I allow them to behave that way. They just enjoy the challenge. Must be the effects of those super flourescent lights.

While the boys are climbing around the seats and I’m race-walking through the aisles so we can get home before 8:00, my older daughter, Lauren, (nearly-9) is loudly calling out the items on the list she made for me in the car. And pointing out other interesting things she notices and thinks we ought to purchase. And meticulously naming all the differences between our Wal-Mart and Grandmama’s Wal-Mart. And telling me that her brothers aren’t staying fastened in the seat. As if I don’t see them scaling the front of the cart. As if I’m not already whispering through gritted teeth, “I am telling your father about this when we get home.”

And while my older son, Caleb, is jumping over the side of the cart to peer at the ready-to-bake brownies Lauren is announcing would be perfect for his birthday, (nevermind that I made brownies today and am baking the cake he wants tomorrow) Silas, my 4 year-old, is fastening himself into Caleb’s seat with an evil laugh.

All the while, little 7 year-old Rachel is compulsively twirling around in circles. “It’s no fun when twirling in circles is one of my tics.” She shouts mid-twirl.

“At least you’re not turning cartwheels down the aisles,” I smile. We know a little girl with Tourette Syndrome who would come home from school and turn cartwheels non-stop.

Rachel doesn’t appreciate my cheerful response. “I don’t even know how to turn a cartwheel.” She grumps. Then she goes back to twirling perfect little circles down the aisle, staying right beside the cart.

Moments later, as we head toward the bread aisle, Rachel calls out as she spins around, “People are going to think I’m crazy spinning in circles like this.” Her long hair flowing out in a wild static-y arc as we pass the cereal aisle.

“Or maybe they’ll just think you’re a cute little girl with a lot of energy.” I laugh as I nudge Silas back into his place and block Caleb’s exit from the cart with my right knee.

On the ice cream aisle, Lauren, Rachel, and Silas try to convince Caleb to choose bubblegum ice cream instead of those little multi-colored sherbet cups that look like . . . well, that don’t look so appetizing when the children stir them up. “Bub-ble-gum! Bub-ble-gum! Bub-ble-gum!” They chant at an embarrassing decible. Caleb pounds the end of the wrapping paper tube against the hard plastic seat to accentuate their chants. Then he laughs and chooses the sherbet anyway. It’s his birthday, he reminds them, he can choose whatever he wants. Maybe he will choose bubblegum ice cream next year.

As we pass the bakery, my cell phone rings, Rachel spins, Silas tries to climb out of the cart to see the freezer pops Lauren holds up to show everyone in that quarter of the store, and Caleb begins to shout “I don’t want a cake after all. Look at that!” I don’t even pay attention to what dessert has attracted his attention. I gently push him back into the cart, answer my cell phone, hold my arm up to block Silas from climbing over the edge, shake my head at Lauren’s insistance that we buy those freezer pops, and try to pretend I don’t see that older gentleman glaring at me as if I’m the worst mother he’s seen all year.

As it turned out, I didn’t even get a couple things on the list because I had to get us out of that store as quickly as possible. We did manage to get through the check-out aisle without anyone grabbing candy or gum and without anyone sounding out any words on a tabloid magazine. Phew! Minor consolation to the shopping trip from . . . well, you know.

Now I know why I usually do my shopping late at night, alone, after the children are in bed.



Filed under Family, humor, motherhood, parenting

12 responses to “Shopping With Children

  1. Lisa

    Shoot, I should have gone to the _____ Wal-Mart tonight instead of ______! I missed all the entertainment! šŸ˜‰ Of course, I was there later than you … without my 3 crazy children (surely don’t know how you do it with 6, though when people tell me the same about my 3, I usually reply, “you just do it,” and you’d probably say the same). Do you ever say, when you go with kids to the store, that you will never ever do it again?!

    Lisa, I edited out the names of our towns — just to be safe. šŸ™‚ Thanks for your comments, though. And, yes, I think I did tell my husband tonight, “Never again!”

  2. hee hee… great rendition of crazy shopping!!

  3. Nickole

    I’d like to know what makes US crazy enough to think it’s a good idea to take our munchkins in the first place! Why do I think –every time– that it will be better? And why am I truly shocked when I’m swiftly brought back to reality as the whining, crying, and other delightful shopping games ensue? Hopeless optimism, I guess;)

  4. Gmama

    How well I remember when, after school one day, the Daddy of your six and his brother turned the shopping cart over in the supermarket (they both climbed the same side of the cart)! In the midst of cracked eggs, spilled milk and juice,
    I really just wanted the ground to open up and swallow me forever! We do survive, and I was thankful that no one was hurt. The employees there must have dealt with this before. Within a minute or two, there was someone relacing the items that were ruined and cleaning up the mess. Like you, I found it was better to go later at night by myself!

    I’ll bet the associates in Wal Mart could write a book about all the incidents they see. I’m sure that my grandchildren, even with their energy, are still better behaved than most, and in the scheme of things, you will remember, one day, this with laughter and fondness.

  5. Patrick

    Hey, Gmama. That’s not fair! It was ALL STEVE’S FAULT! I remember it perfectly. Really!

  6. Martha

    Oh, Jenn! Thank you for the painful reminder. You are an INCREDIBLE multitasker! And I think it’s our short-term memory loss and strange optimism that have us going back after we’ve said, “NEVER AGAIN!”
    Love you, friend.

    P.S. And thank you for your gracious comments about my age after my last post! If I am 25, then so are you, my dear…

  7. Steve

    Being the older brother, I have a much better memory of the day in question. It was all PATRICK’S FAULT! In fact, I don’t think I was even there!

  8. Renee, you mean you have shopping trips like that too? That makes me feel better!

    Nickole, yeah, I just had a shopping experience like this last week. Last week. Duh.

    Gmama, Patrick, & Steve, I’ve heard about that shopping trip. And since I know both of you, Patrick and Steve, I’d say you both probably knocked it over on purpose just to blame the other one. šŸ™‚

    Martha, hee hee. Yeah, I guess so. Suddenly, I’m feeling younger. šŸ™‚

  9. Thankfully we don’t get all of our children together at the same time for shopping trips. Think of what mayhem my 2 boys plus yours would make. šŸ™‚ “Cart gymnastics” would only be a minor part of the fun–you’d have 2 sets of boys trying to better the other, and well, you know. šŸ˜‰ Sears was quite an adventure tonight–Aidan was doing the army crawl through a few of the aisles and then David decided to try to play crack-the-whip with Aidan…his soul intent was to slam his little brother headlong into the display tables. Kids…gotta love ’em! šŸ˜€

  10. WV Grammy

    Well, Jennifer, at least your kids don’t yell at you from a couple rows over “Hey Mom, did you find those Depends you were looking for?”

  11. Mom, I knew when you read this, you were going to say that. šŸ™‚ And I’m pretty sure that was all Jeff’s fault. He always was embarrassing the rest of us. hee hee hee

  12. Innocent

    I’m not sure what you are talking about – after all, I’m innocent, and I can’t believe you would do that to mom!

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