Groceries with four kids in tow can get pretty crazy. It's not for the faint of heart. My best tip is to move, move, move. The quicker it's done, the better the chance of getting out in one piece. My second rule is: Every man for himself. Mommy is in charge of doing groceries, and each kid is in charge of keeping track of Mommy. If Mommy moves, kids move. If Mommy goes down one aisle, kids go down the same aisle. If you run off, you're in big trouble, Mister.
Actually, this is what the kids believe. The reality is that I'm doing a head count every time I blink, but they don't know that...
So, we parked next to cart carrier (another rule) and headed in the door - Graedon firmly clasped in hand, baby in my arms, girls keepupkeepupkeepup. We walk into the store's entry and I head to the rows of carts. I fasten Baby Gen into the seat, I turn around and - where's Graedy? Graedy? No little camouflage tuque bobbing around the entryway. Crap. I knew I shouldn't have made him wear camo. Now I can't see him! 2 seconds later (which felt like 10 minutes), the doors slide open and out comes Graedon from the main store, bawling, followed by a nice store clerk. Poor Graedy. We hug, we make up, and he doesn't let go of my leg for the entire trip.
The usual, we pick out our fruits & veggies. The kids are super interested in all those exotic fruits. We buy some lychee just for fun, but I say no to the pistachio nuts. Old ladies stop me at every turn with comments of, "My, you're busy!" and stories of how many kids they had and their moms had and when the latest grandbaby is due. I don't know these people.
One younger lady stares and gasps, "Are they all yours?!" In my head I say, "Nope, I just picked up an extra couple from the parking lot cuz I like to torture myself at the grocery store." but in real life I say, "Yes." She shakes her head and moves on.
Up and down the aisles, the kids trotting behind, and all is going well. There are a few helpful suggestions to load the cart with Kinder Eggs and Easter candy, but since we avoid the junk-laden middle of the store, it's not too bad. They're being very very good.
Finally, we get in line at the cash. Graedy is being extra helpful and placing (throwing) food up on the conveyor belt. I start grabbing the breakable stuff and place them on as quickly as I can so that he doesn't need to "help" too much. The man ahead of us laughs, saying, "Whoa whoa whoa! I haven't put my stuff on yet!" Crap. My face red, I realize that he wasn't the one paying. The woman in front of him was pulling out her wallet, and I completely wedged myself in front of him and his cartful of groceries! I apologize up and down and he just laughs and blames it on having 4 kids at the grocery store. At least that came in handy.
Off we go! We load up the van, we take off and half way home...
Maddie's conscience gets the better of her. She holds up her fist and asks, "Mommy? What's this?" A tiny lonesome pistachio nut. A stolen pistachio nut. A 2 cent stolen pistachio nut, but that's not the point. A U-turn and a scolding later, we're back at the store. I was hoping to avoid hauling all 4 back into the store, but the only employee I see is the cart-guy. He doesn't look like he could find his way out of a paper bag, never mind play along for the Crime Dog scene I have in mind. We march in the door, purposely avoiding the male employee with the hair net. He looks like he might be too "Bad Cop" for the purpose. I spy a mature, matronly looking woman on her break.
Holding hands, Maddie and I walk up to her.
"This is Madeleine. She has something she needs to return to you and she has something to say."
Employee looks at her friend, they knowingly hide their smiles and give me a wink over Mad's head. They catch my drift. They've been through this before.
Maddie hangs her head, "I'm sorry" and hands over the nut.
The lady crouches over with an Oscar worthy frown. "We'll forgive you for this time."
Light hearted, conscience clear and footloose, we skip out to the van. It wasn't a perfect shopping experience, but it sure was a learning one. And our supper conversation subject? Juvey.