Question: who in their right mind would take a 3-year-old and an 11-month-old to the grocery store just 45 minutes before naptime? Answer: a crazy woman in desperate need of milk and bread to feed her family.
It only takes seconds for chaos to surround me when I'm with my children, especially when it involves the grocery store. Ten steps in the door and Aubrey is screaming out of frustration as she realizes I've strapped her tightly into the cart (picture if you will a sweet baby girl standing backwards in the cart seat as if she's contemplating diving into the back and you have a mommy who will let her child ride strapless no more!) I detour to the book aisle hoping to find something to distract her and succeed with a small children's book. To which Brendan softly whines "what about me?!" which results in a U-turn BACK to the book aisle for yet another book. But the entertainment is short lived as Aubrey decides the book is better suited for the pickup game and proceeds to throw it on the floor. After several attempts to keep it in the cart, I give up and shove the book onto a shelf of ketchup pickles and olives (no chance I'm traveling all the way back to the book aisle at this point!) I navigate the aisles quickly with several angry glances from the occasional senior citizen whose hearing aids, no doubt, are chirping to the sound of my daughter's shrill screeching. I hand her my car keys, desperate for a reprieve. One swift toss to the ground and my mind is set on finishing quickly and getting out of the store. I pick up the keys and set them next to her in the cart. Quick trip through the produce aisles and on to the self checkout. "Mommy, this isn't closed all the way..." I look down to find Brendan covered in curry powder as he squeezes the small plastic bag I had collected it in. It's the least of my worries that my son now smells like Indian cuisine. I'm focused on getting us out the door. Bags packed, kids intact, grab the receipt and we're on our way. The convenience of the Starbucks strategically placed outside the exit decreases my anxiety level as I treat myself to a coffee and a scone. And here's where the real fun begins. I place the coffee on the rear bumper of the van as I search frantically for those entertaining car keys. Pockets? Nope... Shopping cart? Nada... Purse? oh dear... I double check them all to no avail.
Leave the coffee on the bumper, toss Brendan back in the cart and push the full cart (as fast as possible while loaded with groceries and two children) back into the store to retrace our steps. One trip in reverse and a stop by customer service and still no keys ("can you describe them for me?" the lady asks... "seriously?!! they're car keys!! what do you THINK they look like?!") Aubrey has found a stray banana from a shopping bag and is proceeding to eat it from the inside out. As my frustration turns into panic I reach into my pocket for my cell phone, planning to call my husband hysterically. As if things could get any worse, I realize my cell phone is sitting conveniently next to the telephone at home! Two more trips to retrace our steps with a few strange looks (after all, my son is singing to himself, my daughter is chewing on a banana peel and I just look lost!) I gather my wits and realize that Aubrey would be better off if I OPENED the banana so she could eat the fruit instead of the peel. She takes a large bite, chews, and spits the mushy pulp out into my hand. When I refuse to let her RE-eat the regurgitated fruit, she lets out a scream that flies through the store taking my sanity with it. Fifteen minutes later I resign myself and return to the customer service desk to ask for a phone to call for help. The lady smiles as I ask for a phone. "I have your keys" she says "didn't you hear me page you?" ("yes, I heard you page me but decided instead to search frantically through the store losing my sanity in the process... and I thought I'd call my husband just to let him know that you FOUND MY KEYS!") No, I smiled politely and thanked her profusely. FINALLY, out the door and back to the van. Two cranky kids in their seats, warm coffee in hand, naptime quickly approaching.
Moral of the story? Absolutely, under NO circumstances is it EVER necessary to go grocery shopping immediately before naptime! (oh yeah, and car keys are NOT to be used as a baby toy!)