Do you ever bite off more than you can chew? I tend to do this a lot in my life. I guess I am a glutton for punishment. I pride myself on being an individual who can do it all and without help. This is a downfall of mine at times, but I love the feeling of accomplishing a goal by myself. As a mother of three, with the youngest a new baby, it takes me longer to do simple things around my house like folding laundry, picking up toys, and getting out of the house.
On Thursdays I go to town for my son’s speech therapy. Last Thursday morning was such a busy morning I did not have time to make sack lunches. We needed groceries, and I thought how hard could it be to eat out and grocery shop with my three kids. We left speech a little after 1:00 p.m. and headed over to my favorite grocery store Wegmans. Wegmans is great because you can also get lunch from their cafe or buffet, and then shop when you are done. I figured because I had done this with my older two I could manage with the new baby also. As I pulled into the parking lot, the kids already were whining about food and their need to go potty. After everyone was buckled into the cart, we walked straight to the family bathroom in the back of the cafe area. A lady in a wheelchair with her husband were entering the bathroom, and they apologized because I had to wait. No worries, I told them, but I did wish we had been there before them. After five minutes of waiting, baby Ayla started to cry and my other two were antsy in their seats. My son Tristan kept yelling, “I need to poop Mom!” I told him we had to wait because we would not all fit with the cart in the other bathroom. Finally, after another several minutes the couple finished and I carted my brood into the bathroom. Coats came off, and I put the still crying Ayla onto the changing table to take care of her. Meanwhile, my son inspected the entire bathroom, pulling long strands of paper towels from the dispenser, and got his hands and sleeves all wet in the sink. I finally got him to pee, and then while he ran around the cart with his pants to his ankles my daughter Keira thought jumping off the cart like a rock star at a concert was cool until her shoe caught the edge of a wheel and her face smashed into the slate tiles. Tears streamed down her face as I put her onto the toilet while the baby still cried and my son still ran in circles. Twenty minutes later we emerge from the potty. It was nearly 2:00 p.m. when we head to the buffet section to get our food. I am already tired by this point, but we need to eat, and I needed almond milk and fresh fruit for the weekend. In my haste to get going I did not buckle in the older kids.
Wegmans buffet is huge with all different types of food from which to choose. I decided to get tofu, veggies, and rice for the kids. As I dish up the rice, my son jumps off the cart and unplugs their rice machines, nearly pulling one off the counter. My daughter Keira gets down too and says, “I help you mama!” as she grabs our tray, and practically knocks it to the floor. Ayla is not crying anymore, and I am sure she probably made notes for when she is older. By the time we get to the table my nerves are already fried, and I thought I might be a bit crazy to attempt this on my own. Thankfully, lunch went pretty smooth except for the stares while I nursed my little one in public, and the constant utensils “accidentally” hitting the floor.
After lunch, I buckled in my older two taking note of previous behavior and got down to shopping. The shopping went fairly well except for the hair pulling, pinching, and constant begging from my son for me to buy him some “peenie-butters” (aka Reese’s Peanut Putter Cups). I did end up giving in to that request only to use it as a threat the rest of our shopping experience. I told him if he did not quit yelling or if my daughter did not stop trying to lick her brother, the peenie-butters would not stay in the cart. At check out, I unloaded the groceries, and my son decided to have a meltdown because I would not unbuckle him. My daughter Keira was over this entire grocery experience, and used her feet to try to knock candy from the nearby stand. A gentleman behind me shakes his head and smiles at me, and I smile back really wanting to say “I was crazy to think I could do this on my own!”
It is now nearly 3:30 p.m. and my kids are grumpy, the baby is screaming again, and I am beyond exhausted. I unload my groceries as fast as I can, and get my older two in the back seat and hand them the iPad to play games. It is time to nurse my baby again, and I still need to go to a local wholesale warehouse store to update my membership. My husband calls surprised I am not back home already as Tristan and Keira start to fight over the game. I loose it by that time, and rip the game out of their hands, tell my husband I have to go, yell at the kids to get in their chairs, and tell them “Mommy is done, no more!” I buckle Ayla in and fight my other two into their car seats who by now are yawning from no naps. My son starts to scream he needs to poop again. I cannot even handle the thought of getting them all back into the store, so I tell him to hold it, we are going home. I start the truck as they fight and the baby screams, and I pray I make it home in one piece.
By the time we reach the interstate all three kids are out cold with drool down the sides of their mouths. I praise God for the moment of silence and vow to myself NEVER to do this without Michael. What I thought would be a two hour lunch and short shopping trip ended up to be nearly four hours long.
If you are a parent of several kids, how do you manage the trips out? I want to know the tricks you use or if you are smarter than me, and do it on your own, but alone!