Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Do you take your kids to the grocery store?

Question of the day:
Do you take your children to the grocery store?

This is a constant struggle with our family. We cannot and almost completely avoid taking Angry Toddler to the grocery store with us. It's a complete pain and gives Angry Husband and myself, great anxiety. A fifteen minute trip into the store for one item, turns into forty-five minutes with that original item, a piece of candy, and some band-aids. My kid has a serious addiction to character band-aids.

Because of this, Angry Husband calls me on his way home every day. We have the usual conversation, "I'm on my way home, do we need anything from the store?" We live very close to the store and tend to shop European style, as in shopping for a particular meal, not for the week. We are lazy like that, and we constantly change our minds. We do keep snacks in the house, but we don't plan meals in advance. Our schedules fluctuate so much and we never know if the entire family is going to be home at the same time.

I think my hate for the grocery store was programmed into me, early in life. My parents both work(ed) in the grocery industry and one of my first jobs was a courtesy clerk (bagger) at a grocery store. My mom was a checker and hated shopping, and we always heard the good ole' saying, "she didn't want to bring her work home, and get the hell out of dodge while you can". I grew up eating out a lot, and having my mom shop "Euro Style" also.

You should see me when I'm in the grocery store. I wander around the isles, clueless. I just throw random things in the cart. I do shop with coupons, when I remember to bring them. Thankfully, Angry Husband does most of our shopping.

Recently, around Halloween time, I saw an entire family with two very small children (both under 3) shopping at the store. They were doing their "big" weekly shop, I could tell because the cart was full. The kids were running around like animals. Both parents were present. I kept thinking to myself, why doesn't one parent just stay home with the kids? I just shook my head.

I thought I would tempt fate on Friday night. Angry Husband was working late, so I attempted to run some errands with Angry Toddler after preschool. We went to the bank (he drew his name on deposit slips), we went to a surf store (had to purchase some shirts for family pictures), and then...well the grocery store. Angry Toddler was being sooo good, I mean beyond normal good. He had a great time at the surf store, well maybe the pretty female employee who "watched" him for me, was a good start. And then it started.

I went to the pricey, very pretty grocery store. That store with the higher prices, but oh my gosh, it's so beautiful, I want to eat off the floors displays... I asked Angry Toddler if he wanted snacks. He agreed and we put the specific things, that HE WANTED, in the cart. It was all about him. I even asked what he wanted for dinner. He told me spaghetti, which he pointed out the expensive service deli kind, fine. We then hit the produce department, oh the shiny beautiful polished exotic fruits and vegetables.

Yes, Angry Toddler started "molesting" the fruit. He is 4, I know.. He's completely into textures and touching things, I get that. But seriously, he molested the fruit. He fondled the fruit. He walked around almost every fruit display and breathed on it, caressed it, and picked the fruit up. I got those looks. You know the snobby, I only shop at the expensive store, because I live in Orange County, and I can, looks. They saw the 4 year old boy, with his grubby little hands, the finger paint stained shirt, fondling the fruit. I did what any other Angry Mom would do, I grabbed him by the bicep with the "death grip" and pulled him away from the display. Well he spun around, got those eyes, the eyes of Satan, and ran. Oh and he ran...He ran like a parolee with a no bail warrant (got to give some laughs to my co-workers). He did not look back.

What did I do? I reacted. I yanked my purse out of the cart, and took off after him. Perhaps, I screamed several four-letter curse words during my chase. I finally caught up with him, and promptly marched him towards my car. I gave the lecture, "What the hell were you thinking? Why did you run?" I knew it was fruitless. He was done. I left the cart standing in the middle of the produce aisle, stranded.

Angry Husband was able to pick up some things on the way home. He then gave me the lecture when he got home. What was I thinking, taking him to the store? I knew better. He turns into an animal. Etc.. Etc...

The next morning, out of the blue. Angry Toddler comes up to me and says, "I'm sorry for running off at the grocery store. I will never ever do that again. I promise to be good. I will be good mama". It was completely random. Angry Husband had left the house prior to that. Angry Toddler knew he was wrong.

But really, why do I torture myself at the grocery store?
And why, do other people do this to themselves too?


  1. Ugh...those grocery trips sound like torture. It's probably just a toddler phase and you and the Angry Hubby will laugh about it in a few years and then tell these stories at the holidays. :)

    In the mean time Euro Shop til you drop.


  2. I hate to grocery shop too (I need to go tonight) and for the most part I try and leave the kids at home or just take one with me. I'll be hopefully doing that tonight, taking just one with me.

  3. I feel for you. I do. Especially in the snooty store. I live close to a snooty area and we have a store like that. I avoid it. At all costs. My MIL allowed my now 4 1/2 year old daughter to WALK at Target. When she was 2. It's been hell ever since. I have sworn up and down that my son (now 4 months) will ride in the cart until he is junior high.

  4. Lol tooooo funny! I have a 2 yr and 3 1/2 yr old and am due in a week or so w/baby girl #3. We do our shopping once a week usually at 8 in the morn. We go from one side of the store to the other...starting with the bagels. The girls share a bagel and have their waters as I head through the store. It takes about 90 minutes, NO JOKE. The peoplecworking there know us by name and are great with the girls. There are those moments, especially at check out when my girls begin to get a little punchy and I wonder what the heck am I thinking!?!!!?! We get through it and do the exact same thing the next week!

  5. Great post and great questions posed! I saw your comments and link on SITS today and had to stop by to read this post. Shopping with my kids is a nightmare. They are normally very sweet and well-behaved children, but the grocery store turns them in to maniacs. My suspicion is that the bright lights and colors and variety of "stuff" puts them in to sensory-overload-mode. My worst behavior as a parent -- the moments where I've lost it most publicly -- have been at the grocery store, so I can totally relate to your experiences. The worst place, for my crew, is Trader Joes. It's smaller than the usualy mega-grocery store, and yet my kids get even wilder there. I will avoid grocery shopping with my kids at all costs! I used to shop more "European" style and never made weekly menus. But because my husband and I are both so busy, and taking the kids to the grocery store is such a draining experience, I've had to drastically amend my ways in order to maintain my sanity. Thanks again for the fabulous post Julie!

  6. Oh, I remember those days so well. It seems like just yesterday my husband and I were trying to figure out who was going to do the dreaded grocery store trip. I'd give anything if my girls were small again. Now they're the ones we try to get to pick up stuff on the way home! :0) Don't blink or yours will be grown, too!

    I'm stopping by from SITS! I just wanted to share a bit of comment love.♥ I hope the rest of your week is absolutely amazing!

    Teresa <><


  7. Even with my 8 and 10 year old I try to take them to the Grocery Store as little as possible. I can not focus as they are arguing with one another and are asking for everything that has 75% sugar or above. I do a weekly shopping trip where hubby stays home with kidlets. It is like therapy for me during this time, I grab a McDonald's Diet Coke and shop. Then the most wonderful thing happened 8 weeks ago. The Walmart turned into a Super Walmart, which happens to be 1/2 a mile from the Karate Studio. I do pick up shopping while the kids are in class.

  8. This is the very reason I have to feel out Nugget every single time I even think about adding the grocery store or Target to my list. He refuses to sit in the cart at not even two and screams like a pack of hyenas are feasting on his intestines if you don't let him walk. Most of the time he's pretty good about holding your hand if he'd like to go somewhere you're OBVIOUSLY not taking him.

    The grocery store. I go every Sunday or Monday. Alone. Husfriend and I sit down to write out our list and then I go to the store alone with he plays with Nugget. It's the routine. If there's something we need and there's only one of us, it's a trip to the tiny corner market where, yes, things are more expensive, but we don't have to add Excedrin to the list.

  9. ha, great story Julie (although I am sure you are still not laughing!) I try to bring just one child at a time--not both--but sometimes I have to bring both. I hate it. They won't let me buy generic...they want all the "character" stuff. For example, I can buy generic mac & cheese for 50-cents, but have to buy the $1.09 Sponge Bob one.

  10. Your kid needs the monkey leash :) You know I have to take my kid with me 95% of the time just because of the husband's work schedule. Everytime my experience is exactly the same as yours. We just substitute out the running, for begging for "coffee". Oh, to be 4 1/2!!!

  11. Happy Tuesday!
    check out our Thanksgiving giveaway :)

  12. My daughter goes just about everywhere with me. The only time I try and not take her is when it is raining heavy... although it seems to bother me far more than her. She thinks pouring rain is hilarious.

  13. I couldn't stop laughing as I read this because boy can I relate. I mean you watched my maniac son darting around the parking lot yesterday . I think he could give Angry Toddler a run for his money.

    I still can't stop laughing. I also detest grocery shopping. I never ever go grocery shopping with my kiddos. The last time I tried it, I left the cart in the middle of the store. Thankfully it was at TJ's and not the fancy store.. lol..
    This is a classic post!

  14. haha, that's pretty funny. You cart abandoner, you!!

    I'm a single mom, so I don't have a choice as to whether or not I can bring my kid along with me (it's always yes, everywhere I go). But he's also not yet of the age where he could run off, so it's a little easier for me. Like you did, I make it all about him ... here, hold this orange! here, shake this box of macaroni! By the time we get to the front, cardboard has been chewed on, bread has been smooshed, items have been dropped.

    But I'm not yet a cart-abandoner, so no harm, no foul. ;)

  15. Ha ha ha!!
    I would have loved to see the faces of the OC elite while AT was having his way with the produce! There is nothing worse than than a toddler running away... unless it is twoard the street.
    We take our kiddos to the store. But we only do a sams club run about every 3-4 weeks. It's not so bad if they are eating something.


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