When my daughter was 2 months old, and my son 13 months old, I figured I might as well venture out to the grocery store on my own, now that I was a SAHM. To say it was somewhat disastrous would be an understatement.
It’s 9:30am on a Monday morning when I pull into the Walmart parking lot and scan the lot for the cart racks. All the racks are empty, and after circling the lot, hoping to see someone deposit a cart, I give up and park beside an empty cart rack. (Doesn’t the grocery store understand how important that cart is for mothers with little kids?)
Dejectedly, I proceed to the back of the car and unsnap my daughter from her infant car seat base, and then carry her in her bucket seat to the other side of the car, where my son sits. I set her down beside the door and unhook my son from his convertible car seat, holding him in my right arm and then bending down and grabbing my daughter in her bucket seat in my left arm. I feel like my arms are gonna explode as I slowly carry them towards the front entrance.
Of course, this Walmart does not have automatic doors, so once I reach the front door, I must put my daughter down for a second to open the door. While still holding my son, I bend down and grab my daughter and pull her inside, sitting her on the floor in front of a shopping cart, which resides just inside the doorway, so that I can buckle my son into the top seat of the cart. A store employee stands near the shopping carts, staring at me like I’m crazy. (I’m sure he’s the one that just emptied all the cart racks, leaving me in this predicament.) I glance back at him, annoyed, as I lift my daughter into the body of the shopping cart. The employee observes another woman with just one child coming in the front door, and walks over to hold the door open for her, and I about lose it. (If anyone needed help getting inside, it was me, not her.)
I grab my list from my purse and start gathering and putting items into the cart. It is like a jigsaw puzzle, fitting the groceries around my daughter’s infant seat. Thankfully, she is content to suck on her pacifier, while I push her around the store. My son starts to get fussy, whining up at me, so I grab a can of Friskies cat food for him to hold. In the dairy section, an older lady points at my son and tells me that he is chewing on the can of cat food. (As if I did not know). I smile at the lady and pull the can out of my teething toddler’s mouth for a second, but then he starts to scream, so I give it back to him. (I’d rather him chew on a can that he can’t open than start screaming inconsolably in the store.) We continue through the aisles, my son holding other, non-breakable groceries once he gets bored of the cat food can.
Note my son’s chew toys:
When we reach the produce section, a stocker comes up and points out that my son is holding a bottle of flavored water (as if I couldn’t see). He then asks if my kids are twins. I stare, dumbfounded at him, and reply “no, they are not twins, but they are a year apart.” (I fully expected to get the twins comments eventually, say when my kids are 2 and 3 years old, but not now, with a 2-month-old infant and a 13-month-old toddler.)
We finally proceed to the checkout lanes and there is only one lane open. Looking around, it appears to be all older clientele, except for me and the kiddos. The man behind me has only a small handful of groceries, so I tell him to go in front of us. Eventually, another lane opens, and I move to the 2nd lane. As I start putting my groceries on the belt, an older Asian man cuts right in front of me and puts his stuff in front of mine, mumbling something I cannot understand. I hold my tongue and let him cut the line. (Clearly the SAHM of an infant and toddler has nothing better to do on a Monday morning than let everyone cut in front of her at the local Walmart).
My son starts fussing again, so I help him put some groceries on the belt to amuse himself. When it is finally time for me to checkout, the cashier looks at my son and asks if he’s a boy or a girl. Even though he is in all blue, because he has a pretty face and curly hair, people automatically assume he is a girl. I respond “boy”, and the old lady in the next line over informs me that “he is too pretty to be a boy, and that I should never cut his curls.”
I wheel my overloaded grocery cart back to my car, and unload my son, then my daughter into the backseat, then the groceries in the trunk, and finally return the cart to the cart rack. Of course, now there are other grocery carts in the rack.
I return home and unload my son, then unload my daughter, then make several trips to and from the car to unload the groceries, finally collapsing on the couch, exhausted. I decide that maybe I will not be going to the grocery store on my own every week. Better to save it for the weekend when I can go with my husband and the kids, or better yet, go alone.