How to Shop for Groceries with Small Children

Start out strong by heading to the grocery store with a list that’s half-written, following two other errands, testing the limits of an eighteen-month-old who missed his nap and has been awake since 5AM because the four-year-old woke everyone up to find out the name of the third color in the rainbow.

Locate the shopping car-cart and happily jaunt through the produce section while serenaded by faux-traffic sound effects as the children appear to be getting along in a precariously tight space. Elderly couples smile and make passing comments like, “You certainly have your hands full!” and “What sweet boys you have!”

The day is young.

Make it to the deli counter and through two more aisles before the “Beep! Beep!”s turn into “Mom, he hit me!”s. Grab a snack cup of cookies from a basket by a register and loudly announce to no one that “Mommy will pay for these when we’re all done shopping!” as you thrust them into the hands of the eighteen-month-old, as if the hands used for hitting could also be used for sharing.

Elderly couples are now avoiding eye contact.

Regret sets in as you realize there is little to no reward at this point for the effort it takes to negotiate turns from one aisle to the next when pushing an eighteen-wheeler car-cart around the grocery store at noon two days before New Years Eve. Exactly zero snacks have been shared with the four-year-old. Hands are still being used for hitting.

Crazy Mom Eyes make their grocery store debut as you duck your head into the front of the car-cart to negotiate a peace. Eighteen-month-old isn’t feeling it, would rather scowl angrily and eat all of the snacks.

Remove eighteen-month-old from the car-cart and place in the regular shopping cart seat, much to his disdain. Emits loud war cry to alert all other shoppers that this is not okay. Make a mental note that two snack cups may have been a better choice.

But you’re in the homestretch! Frozen foods, dairy, and that one thing you forgot seven aisles back! The four-year-old now has his feet sticking through the “windshield” of the car-cart as the eighteen-month-old blasts a random playlist of music from your iPhone.

Elderly couples are amused. You are avoiding eye contact.

Make it to the register. No one is crying, but everyone is over it. Hand the cashier the empty snack cup and smile, but she is a teenager and very confused about why you’re trying to pay for it. Finally, everything is in bags and in the cart and you’re loading the kids into the car before you realize you forgot that thing seven aisles back.

Decide you can live without it.

It isn’t long before they’re both passed out in their car seats. Peek back at their sweet cherub-like faces and wonder if entertaining the idea of a third makes you certifiably insane. Decide to take the long way home because nap time is sacred, and there are four more hours til Dad comes home.

Pray for patience and vow never to do such a crazy thing again, or at least until next Thursday 🙂

When It’s Over And You’re Ready For It (But Not Really)

Yes, this is going to be about breastfeeding. No, I don’t care that you’re reading it. Two administrators and probably all of the people who sit within a five seat radius of me at church have seen them– it really isn’t a thing.

I knew when we were expecting Alex that nursing would be hard. I wasn’t prepared for it to end (or for the feeling of wanting it to end) with Landon. This time around, I told myself, if we can just make it six weeks.. two months.. three months.. and promised myself I would be okay with it whenever it ended. And now here we are, and it’s ending.

And I’m glad to be done wearing nursing bras. And I’m glad to be done pumping on the floor of a storage closet at work. And I’m glad to be done scheduling the rest of my life around being someone’s mobile buffet/human pacifier.

And I’m sad that it’s over. These days of snuggling and being needed are numbered and I know it. In case anyone is wondering, Daddy is Landon’s best friend, “not you, Mom.” Though it’s a body heavy with exhaustion that I drag to Alex’s room to nurse him in the middle of the night, I’m so grateful to have something to give that no one else can.

It’s hard because it’s the very first part of letting go. So much of raising babies is the letting go– and I’m not saying that sagely like I’ve done this a thousand times. Landon is only three, and I know it already. My days of being the center of his universe are passing so quickly. Soon he’ll insist on doing everything “by myself, okay, Mom?!” and Daddy will be the cool guy who teaches him about video games and baseball and all the other man stuff I will never understand.

But I will always be Mom, the kisser of boo-boos. The one they want most when they’re sick. The one who bakes the cookies and lets them lick the beaters, but not too much or you’ll ruin your dinner.

No, I’m not ready to let go of this part, and I’m sure that’s how I’ll feel every time. We’re never really ever ready, we just do. We let go. And we hold on tight until we have to let go of the next thing. And in His infinite wisdom, God made Nutella for exactly these moments.

(And every day, really.)

We made it four months, kiddo. And now we’re letting go.