Thursday, August 5, 2010

I hate grocery shopping. There's a huge gulf between what I ought to buy and what I want to buy. I know that to be a proper Missoula mom, my grocery cart should be full of tofu, carob, fiber-filled soy snacks, and every vegetable known to man. However, I kind of just want to run through the frozen food aisle and load up on pizza rolls and ice cream. I get terribly self-conscious when I shop for groceries. I can't escape the feeling that I'm being judged. I end up buying things that just rot in the fridge because I want people to think that I'm really healthy. Good lord, that's neurotic. I try to avoid the organic section primarily because I don't want to run into all the dreadlocked Earth Mother types who glare at me with disdain because I bought some ground beef instead of the rubbery seitan "chicken" that I would buy if I was actually a good mother, oh my god.

Another reason why I hate grocery shopping is because I almost always have to drag the boys along. In Ben's mind, grocery store = balloons. I hate balloons. I hate them so much. They are just big, stupid drama bubbles. The moment Benjamin sees one, he's got to have it. He will die if he doesn't get it. I am the worst mom in the world if I do not purchase that stupid Sponge Bob balloon or the Thomas balloon or EVERY BALLOON IN THE STORE. I have all but outlawed balloons in our home. We still have one stuck in the corner of our living room ceiling that's been there for about a month. It has to be out of helium by now so I think it's being held up by static electricity alone. In the past, I have had to come up with some clever and sometimes dangerous ways to retrieve our ceiling balloons but it is never, ever worth it. Not two minutes after the balloon is retrieved, it ends up floating back up to the ceiling, serenaded by the ear-piercing shriek of one or both of the boys. There are also those fun-filled occasions when a balloon pops. Somehow, Ethan's balloons always end up popping. Weird. Now, every shopping trip with the boys is preceded by the threat to sell them to gypsies if the word "balloon" is even mentioned.

Grocery shopping with kids also means that I need to be extra attentive of their ninja-like grabbing skills. If I'm not careful, I'll end up with a cart full of scented candles, water balloons, lollipops, cat food, dog food, gardening implements, and who knows what else all because the stuff is shiny and colorful and it happened to be in their reach. Kids are sort of like magpies in that respect. One of Ben's favorite things to do when we're around company is to collect everyone's bracelets, rings, and watches. People will willingly give up their sparklies because he's just so darn cute but I can't help but think they're enabling a future kleptomaniac. So, I have to keep checking in on the contents of my cart to make certain that everything in there is something that I want in there.

Checking out is usually the biggest pain in the ass out of the entire shopping excursion. What's always right next to the check out counters? CANDY! Lots and lots of candy. And, more often than not, balloons. It's a double-threat. Once the candy is in sight, the chorus of whining and begging begins. Ethan just makes super high-pitched noises while stabbing his index fingers at the shiny wrappers. Ben begins by demanding the candy. Then, he moves directly onto the whinging and sobbing. When that doesn't work, he puts Operation Floppy Uncooperative Toddler into effect. He goes limp, leaving me to either let him drop to the filthy floor or attempt to keep him upright by hanging on to his wrist with one hand (while I swipe my card with the other and enter all the pertinent information) and draping him over one of my legs. The whole time this is happening, I'm getting the stink eye from everyone around me and no doubt they are all thinking to themselves about how their kids would never act like that. Or, they're secretly thanking whatever deity they believe in that it's not their kid who is acting up this time. By this point, I'm usually considering purchasing a couple of canvas bags to place over the boys' heads in the off chance they might act like parakeets and go to sleep.

This drama doesn't happen every time I go grocery shopping, but it happens often enough that I tend to wait until our fridge has nothing in it but a pitcher of water and jar of mayonnaise before I relent and make the trip. That being said, it's about that time again.


Robert said...

I once bought ice cream and cat food late at night. You can only imagine the look I got from the cashier. Now I never buy these items on the same grocery trip for fear that the cashier will picture me in a flower-covered muumuu eating a can of cat food while my cat is lapping up a pint of Ben & Jerry's.

TheSarah said...

I once bought cat litter and ranch dressing one evening - no lie. It inspired a lot of awkward looks and some interesting comments.

Christian Herwitz said...

Condoms and Windex! (They probably thought I wanted to be *extra* safe.)