I have OFTEN repeated some variation on "Why would anyone take their kids grocery shopping with them on purpose if they could leave them home instead?" I certainly don't mind kids being in the grocery store as far as being a mutual shopper. And I've not once ever been irritated by a screamer. I sympathize with what that parent is going through; they don't need my nasty looks directed their way as well. Rather, my thought process has always been driven by the mentality of why would you bring your kids into what could potentially be a problematic situation if you can avoid it? It has always seemed to me that it was introducing the inevitable--a grocery store meltdown somewhere between the cereal aisle and the display of chocolate milk.
I enjoy grocery shopping well enough, and it's something of a mental break from watching kids as well. Sometimes I bring music. Sometimes I dance a little. Lately, I've been swinging by the local coffee joint to bring a little latte with me. All good.
But surprise, surprise...I've been bringing the Abb-stigator with me these last few weeks. Not only that, I've been (gasp) looking forward to bringing her with me. Now, say what?!? Can grocery shopping with a 4-year old be...what would I call it..."ENJOYABLE"?? Why, yes. Yes, it can.
Even more than that, I had a lightbulb moment about a week ago (I know, don't judge...I'm slow on the mom curve, apparently): I MUST BRING MY CHILDREN WITH ME.
I must bring my children with me to the grocery store regularly and individually. I must bring them with me because in so doing, I am teaching them life skills.
I am teaching them how to choose a ripe peach by feel and smell. I am teaching them how to look for unblemished zucchini and big peppers that have four sections (my preference for ease of cutting and snacking). I am teaching them how many bananas we need for the week. I am teaching them that there is a huge variety of colors, textures and smells that are found in our food choices.
How cool, right? I know...I know. I most definitely should have gotten on this gravy train a long time before.
I remember the first time I took Abby with me to go grocery shopping--a little over a year ago, right after school on a Monday afternoon because I couldn't get there over the weekend, and I was most definitely pregs. I zipped through that store in a record 45 minutes, distracted the entire time with the thought "Sing a song...make up a rhyme...keep her happy...keep her happy!" going through my head. I miss things on my list when I do that, and it's exhausting. Now when we go, we still sing songs. We still make silly rhymes. We still play games. But she's my little partner now, and I have ever so much fun with her.
She usually gets a treat out of me, but my oh my, she so oozes helpfulness and a good attitude that I would challenge any parent not to want to reward that. It's not like I don't give myself a little treat once in a while when I can. She deserves some bagels or chocolate milk sometimes too.
I'm trying to have have a better attitude now about what I habitually feel pessimistic about. It helps that I haven't gone through a supermarket meltdown (yet). It will probably happen someday.
Last Monday, as we were heading toward the checkout, a lady who I guesstimate was around my mom's age, kind of smiled at us and said something about "our parade." I just smiled and picked a register though I was thinking something like "whaaa???" I hope that "our parade" was a good thing; I think it was. If "our parade" helps us both have a good time with a few teachable moments, then I'd say we both got something good out of our trip.