The Grocery Store
Alternate title: "Necessary Evil." I think it's because you HAVE to go, but I hate grocery shopping. And I think Spencer knows. He decided that since he loves me so much, he will make it impossible for us to go grocery shopping together, thereby exempting me from my chore. Unfortunately, he doesn't understand that although his father happily gets up with him in the middle of the night, cooks many-a-night, does as many (or more?) household chores as I do, maintains both cars, pays the bills, works full-time and teaches a college class on the side, he does not have much extra time. He does go by the grocery store sometimes, actually. At this point, sane people are asking, "What the heck do YOU do all day?" To which I reply, "I keep Spencer from killing himself."
Yes, that pretty much requires all the energy I have most days (it seems). But I do toy with the idea of mastering a few more tasks WHILE taking care of Spencer. For example, last week we went to the grocery store. We got through the produce with lots of waving to strangers, smiling, and gerber yogurt snacks. Then, we made it to the bread section where he insisted on chewing on the bag of bread that he managed to get out of the basket WHILE he was strapped in the front part of the basket. For about 1 second I thought about letting him chew on it, then reminded myself that we've come too far to lose a child to a plastic-suffocation event. So, I took it away. Cue the screaming. Yes, I gave him something else to chew on. I think it was a box of cereal bars. My kid is not stupid (aka: easily distracted). More screaming. We made it to aisle 3, or "lots of canned tomato products that should all be called the same thing aisle."
I had about 4 recipes I was shopping for, each requiring what seemed like 6 different tomato products apiece.
This is the point at which my child realizes that the shopping cart straps are lousy. He stands up. I'm standing right there, so he just climbs onto me. Not much else I can do. I think to myself, "Ok, we can do this. I can carry him for the rest of the time. People all over the world (and throughout history) do / did many more physically demanding tasks than this. The aisle are getting very crowded as everyone stares at all the various tomato based nonsense. I start to notice that people are no longer grinning at my adorable, blonde, sweetie pie. They are staring at us, annoyed that we have managed to be in their way at every section of this aisle. Spencer's next realization is that those sign-things that stick out from the shelf are very pull-able. Wow, that's fun. Yeah, I put a stop to that just in time for some "protesting" from my Littles. More stares from strangers. [Insert offensive comment: I will say, the people at the Heights Kroger are much less warm and friendly than the people at "my" Kroger on Markham, 'nuff said]
When Spencer realizes that I won't be letting him take things off the shelves, he decides it's time to get down. And, I don't know if this will make sense until you've held Spencer, but if he decides he's going to get down--I won't say that you can't keep him from it, because that's not true. What I will say is that keeping him from getting down is the only thing you can do. You cannot both keep him from getting down and continue to do anything else. Or think of anything else. At least I can't. Anyone who thinks they can is MORE than welcome to take my baby and my shopping list and give it a try. I'll give you $10.
At this point, I give up. I know that "real" moms pull themselves up by their boot straps and go on. But I call my husband. It doesn't help that I know that he's 1 block away, and that today he has a fairly flexible schedule. Not to say he isn't working hard--he is. But his job most of the day is to get his job done. And that can be done at all different times of the day--lucky for me.
So, he comes to get Spencer and I finish shopping. It probably took me another 45 minutes. And this is why, I tell myself, I did not marry a doctor. I need a husband. I have lots of needs. I'm needy. And I'm cool with that. My dad's a doctor. I love him, and he was always there for me. But I was his daughter, not his wife. My dad was not there to come hold me while my mom finished grocery shopping. I'm not saying he should have been, I'm just saying God knew what he was doing when he gave me Jonathan.
Aaaaall that to say I tried a different grocery store approach today. Instead of taking Spencer when he was chipper, I took him to the playground first and tried to wear him out. I thought the "well-napped" approach was wise, but it was not for us. So, today I dragged my exhausted 10 month old to the grocery store. The same one, since I wanted my experiment to have as few variables as possible. I put him in a back-pack carrier this time, since I knew better than to ever try to get him to sit in a cart without standing up. (Yeah, we had a few Target outings in between these two outings to firm up my opinion on this). Also, I took him when I knew Jonathan had a staff meeting, so there was no way I was calling my husband to bail me out. It was do or die (or leave a full cart).
We made it through. I bought MUCH less. I bounced him the whole time. And he did fuss quite a bit. But I felt like such a success until--alas! He fell asleep in the car on the way home. First of all, he NEVER does that. Secondly, when he does, no matter how short the period is that he is asleep, that sleep he does get is a substitute for whatever nap he was about to take. So, he took no afternoon nap.
O, don't get me wrong. I always try anyway. We "tried" for about 45 minutes. No dice.
Made it to the store. Made it out with food. Stuck with a 10 month old who'd had about 1 hour of sleep all day. Obviously he's asleep now. AND I just this second hung up the phone with my husband for whom I tell myself it is worth going through all this madness because he will so appreciate having dinner available to him when he gets home late from work these next couple of days. He told me he was on his way home, and I reported to him the food that was here. That report was followed by the comment that he'd had pizza at work, so he wouldn't need any dinner tonight.
I should hang a sign on our door: Comedy of the Absurd playing daily.