Shopping 101

Shopping with a toddler and an 8 year old that thinks she’s grown is a tall order. I dread shopping days during the school year, but when it’s a long break like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Summer, I try to avoid it as much as possible. Last night, as I looked at the mostly bare shelves, I realized it was time to pull up my big girl panties, dress the kids, and head out the door to our local Wal-Mart and Cost 10% store. If ya’ll don’t know what that is, you are missing out. Cost stores are kind of like what Food World used to be when I was a kid. You get the food cheaper than your normal big box store, and they add 10% to the purchase price so the store makes a profit. I have this food shopping thing down to a science so I know what to get from Wal-Mart and what to get from the other store and have the cheapest prices; problem is, taking the kids to multiple shops is just asking for more trouble than it is worth some days.

So, this morning, I finally got the kids in clothes that didn’t look like they dressed in the dark and out the door. Only to realize I locked my keys in the house. This was already showing to be a promising day. I managed to force my door open without causing irreparable damage to the frame, grabbed my keys and off we went. Ten minutes later, I realized I miscalculated my gas I had left and had to pull in to the local Chevron that charges more per gallon. Thus, begins the first of many tantrums today; we grabbed drinks and went to pay for the gas when the toddler starts her fit for a snack. I know they are hungry, and had planned on grabbing something in a little bit, but my plan was derailed again. If you have never had children, or perhaps forgotten what it is like having a toddler at the age where patience does not and cannot exist, there’s nothing more irritating and embarrassing than the high pitched, squealing screams and crocodile tears while yelling out “I’m hungry! I want (insert item of choice here)” amid at least a dozen strangers.

We finally make it to Wal-Mart, and after fighting and struggling to get the three-year-old in the seat on the buggy, amid tears and screams again, we start shopping. Today, was quite possibly more disastrous than previous adventures out, as every isle was a new fit, a new want, or a new “she’s touching me” when she isn’t. Two hours later, we are leaving the checkout after numerous arguments of what kind of cereal to get, trolls brand everything we saw (I hate the name poppy now), three extra boxes of capri sun because we couldn’t pick a flavor, and special GMO free, wheat, tomato, and spinach “trains, planes, and automobiles” pasta. I was never happier to climb back in the car; at least until I remembered we had to go to one more store.

The last stop is our Cost plus store; and three-year-old, hereby referred to as pod person, asks me oh so sweetly to walk. I apparently had a lapse in judgement because I let her walk with the buggy. And she goes berserk. Suddenly, I have a child running in circles all over the place, giggling and hugging and headbutting her sister, and I’m getting laughs and patient smiles from other customers. I’m red I’m so embarrassed, but today is one of those days where the fight is not worth the solution; so I try to corral the pod person as best as I can and get done shopping. The lady gives me my total and I realize I did not move enough money into my account…and my phone is a glorified camera and alarm right now. There’s an extensive line behind me, looking impatient at this point as the cashier calls the manager over to suspend the transaction and I must explain my situation in front of everyone. Quietly is not an option with two very vocal and loud children arguing back and forth over a nerds rope candy they want. It took me about 15 minutes, but I was able to get somewhere to move the money I needed into my account and, thank the gods, we are headed home.

We arrive home, unload the car, and put the groceries away without incident; only to realize that the pod person has decided to refuse bathroom breaks enough that her entire outfit is now soaked. I am less than thrilled, and I am exhausted, but happy to be done with that for at least a week or two. It only takes all day to do something so simple in my little household. The thing is, it is stressful, there are times I lose my temper, I dread these days, but I would not trade them for anything. Why? Because my Neurodiverse family is my world, and if I didn’t have all the quirky and embarrassing moments, I’d miss them. Here it is, way past bedtime, and we just finished eating our supper…incidentally, its spaghetti with “planes, trains, and automobiles” pasta. I feel special.