Thursday, March 26, 2009

Grocery Getter Part 1

Do you remember all those essays you had to write for school and scholarships? Inevitably, they always asked something like, "What do you feel is your greatest accomplishment?" Or sometimes you would get the dreaded, "Where do you see yourself in 10 years?" I never knew how to answer those. I think I made up a lot of stuff and hope I sounded smart and successful...and I think it usually worked.

But after almost 30 years of life, I take great pride in revealing to you what I feel is my greatest accomplishment so far...(Okay, God's gotta take the top spot somehow, but I am proud of it, so humor me.)


I googled "grocery shopping with small children." This is the picture I got. WHAT!?
Ring! Ring!
This is reality calling. Your picture is hilarious because it is far off from my reality. Do you hail from PreppyPerfectVille? And I think an eight year old knows what an orange is. Trust me, she is making fun of you in her mind.

Okay, I'm back. Sorry. The first few weeks after Annabelle's birth, I was overwhelmed by the thought of going anywhere with just her and me. There were so many new possible scenarios that spelled disaster. If nothing else, this one thing lets me see how far I've come as a mom in almost 5 years. I know some of you have put this phase behind you and have survived. Some may find some handy tips for the future. Some are right where I'm at. But I hope you come along and see what life around our house is like.

So...what does it take to go grocery shopping with my munchkins? We'll break it down into three easy steps: Preparation and Planning, Execution without Execution, and Post Trip Pampers.

Today we look at Preparation and Planning: The day starts like this...
"Crap! We're out of baby formula, diapers, milk, bread, juice, toilet paper, and cat food... All we have to eat is three slices of bologna and a pickle circa 2003. How did this happen? It must be all Frank's fault. I guess I'll have to go to the store."

1. Timing is critical. You have to make sure the kids are fed, clothed, changed, and have a little playtime before leaving. But if you wait too late in the day, it is 86% more likely you will have a child meltdown. Of course the baby is tired at opposite times than the older children...but fussy babies are more tolerated than three year olds who have the power to take down a store with their wails Jericho style.

2. Pack like your about to embark on a trip to Mt. Everest. Who knows what the future holds? You'd better have everything from sunscreen to tissues to an eight day supply of Cheerios in case a natural disaster strikes or the Tribulation begins.

3. Make the trip seem like a fantastic adventure. Announce the trip like it's Disney World. Do this exactly 1 minute and 34 seconds before you are ready to leave. Any sooner, and the questions will be unceasing. Any later, and they will not have time to grab Blanky or a rock or whatever is necessary for a happy car ride.

4. Use charts, graphs, and logic puzzles to determine how best to load children into the van. We have three different types of car seats for three different kids. Middle child, Joey- more mobility, least likely to obey, and least fearful. He is loaded first and sits in the middle. Oldest child, Annabelle- most mobility, but most likely to obey. She goes next and can do everything but buckle the seat belt (it's kind of tricky). Baby Jay- least mobile and goes last. He can't run from you. He sits directly behind the driver, the safest place in the vehicle. This way I can defend him from the rock, which Joey decides is a super fun toy to throw at a baby.

5. Never forget to take the dog out and put her in the laundry room before you leave. Unless you really enjoy cleaning pee spots out of the hallway carpet.

And you're off! Wasn't that easy? You've only made 42 trips from the house to the van so far. Make sure the van is stocked with kid-friendly music and a magna doodle or two since the nearest megastore with everything you need is at least 20 minutes away. Next time we will explore Execution without Execution: A successful shopping trip does not involve violence. Usually.

P.S. If anyone's interested, I found a really cool blog today. This gal feeds her family on $60 a week! And she has FOUR kids. I'm in awe. Plus she's funny and loves chocolate. Grocery Cart Challenge


Helen said...

Great job, Beth! I don't have kids, but when mom was mobile, she would wander away from where I left her....still not the same as throwing rocks at the baby...

Stephanie Wetzel said...

This was great and VERY thorough.

And I'm with you on the 42 trips in and out. If I want to get anywhere close to on time, I start loading up about 20 minutes before we have to leave. Hmmm... If I wore a pedometer during that time, I wonder how many miles I would walk between garage door and truck...

One thing you might not need to deal with for a few years: Always carry an extra pair of shoes. Sure, your oldest child will always be responsible. And everyone knows the middle kids are SO compliant. But the youngest, if he's anything like my Abby, will reach a point when you believe he can put on simple flip flops. And HE believes he can do it and INSISTS on you letting him. So you will. And approximately 80% of the time, you will arrive at your destination with only 66% of your brood shod. Then you'll learn the joys of shopping carts for barefoot 3yos. 'Sure he has shoes! We just... left them in the car!"

(We snuck Abby into a couple restaurants this way too.)

Annie K said...

How quickly we forget all about those days... Now I just send my kid to the store. (One awesome thing about your kid driving!)

sherri said...

This brings back alot of memories, and reminds me to pray for all of you with young ones still in tow!

Good job.

I'm gonna check out the site you mentioned.

I 've been missing you at my place.

What's up?

Amy said...

That is hilarious. Simply hilarious. I love that you mention not telling them until one minute before you leave. I also like this tactic for, well, anything fun we are going to do, or anyone fun who is going to come to our house within the next month. Do not tell them too soon, or you will be asked eighty million questions, and consider going yourself while you leave them to play with sharp things at home.

In honor of your grocery story post, my word verification is "taters". Seriously, who doesn't smile when they read the word "taters"?

katdish said...

If that's not your best post ever, it's definitely in the top 5. Can't wait for the follow up. I hate grocery shopping. Weird. I just wrote a shopping post for Tuesday. It's like this only completely different.

Mary Ann said...

Beth! This was an awesome post. I don't know how you moms do it. This is EXACTLY one of the things that terrifies me about the idea of being a mom. What in the world do you do when tragedy strikes and they don't believe you on teh "adventure" aspect?! I don't know...I'm terrible with kids. You sound like you have the whole mom thing down pretty good so far. =)

Nick the Geek said...

my wife occasional does this with as many as 4 children 5 and under. Of course, being the super awesome husband I am I usually try to watch the kids while she does her shopping if she doesn't do it on days when 3 of them are in daycare/school.