4 Kids, 1 Mom & A Grocery Store- What Could Go Wrong?

It was a silly idea.  It was not well thought out.  But, really, how bad could it be?

I needed a few tomatoes for dinner, (tacos, the hubb's favorite) so I decided to pop into the store for a few things.  Dad is at home getting ready for work, and yet I took all the kids with me.  (If you want to question my sanity, now would be the time.  Any sane mother knows that the occasional trip to the store with all the kids may sometimes be NEEDED- but you NEVER EVER do it unless death is on the line.  Unless you are me.)

In we go. 

Things begin to go down hill almost immediately.  This grocery store has those car carts.  You know the ones.  They have an actual two seater car with two steering wheels in front of the cart.  The cart itself has two seats for two kids. 

This seems like a good idea!  All my kids can be contained!  WOO HOO!  Genius.

Not genius.

The two oldest kids get into the "car" first.  I am already trepidatious because while in the car in the past things have gone badly, but I am willing to give them another try, if they "promise" to not grab stuff and fight and stay in the car. 

Then the two year old discovers the car.  She wants in too.  There is not room.

"Sit up here (in the cart) next to mom,"  I say.  Isn't mom every child's best friend?

Screaming is the response. 

I sit the baby in the cart too.  Maybe everybody can sit!  She screams too.

Never mind.  I hate the car carts.  I feel like I am pushing a Buick anyways. 

Everybody out.  Big kids walking.  Baby in sling.  Two year old contained in the cart seat, facing mom.

Now we shall enter the store.

I only need a few things.  I should have known better.

The older kids start playing a running and screaming game in the grocery store.  I am THAT mom.  The one you either
A) feel sorry for
B) wonder why she has so many kids who are so poorly behaved, or
C) all of the above

This is bad enough.  Some people look at me and smile, others avoid us.  It can't get worse. 

But it does. 

I see an acquaintance from my son's school.  She is there with her child.  She has one child.  He is very smart and he is behaving very well. 

She waves.  I feel ashamed of the total lack of control I have over my life.  I imagine she feels grateful for birth control. 

Aha!  I have an idea!  A bribe.  Classic mom move. 

"Gather round kids.  I don't like the way you are behaving.  Would you like to get a treat?!"

Excited nodding ensues.

"You can  all have a treat IF you stop screaming and stop running in the store.  Can you do that?!"

Oh yes they can!  Crisis contained.  I am a genius. 

They see the donuts.  This was THE treat while I was pregnant.  They don't understand that I am no longer in an obligatory fat growing state and so I am trying to avoid the donuts.  Donut begging begins.  I hate it when bribes backfire. 

But I stand my ground.  The treat will be fresh blackberries and a pomegranate.  The kids like them and I don't have to feel guilty. 

Things calm down and we make it to the checkout line!  Deliverance is nigh.

Just when I think I am home free the two year old speaks up. 

"Need go pee, REAL bad." she says.

This is her cue.  It gives me about a five second count down until urine lift off.  This is fine at home (and infinitely better than the old school, "I just peed") but still can cause problems when we are not next to a bathroom.

That is OK- I have everything under control.

I look the two year old straight in the eye and say, "NO you don't.  You don't have to go pee."

I am working on becoming a Jedi.  Mind control could be a mothers best friend.

Confident that my mind trick has worked I continue setting the groceries on the conveyor belt.  About one minute passes.  I look at the two year old.  She has shifted in her seat.  She has moved so she can splash her bare (WHAT!) feet in her urine which is collected on that little plastic "comfort" flap they have in grocery carts. 

I burst out laughing.  What else can I do.  This is how I handle bad situations.  It makes other people uncomfortable, but it works for me.

I look at the checker.  He is still dealing with the person in front of me but sees panic in my eyes.  He mouths to me, "What do you need?" 

"Paper towels," I whisper back.

Paper towels found.  Urine cleaned.  (There was a puddle on the floor too.  The woman behind me mysteriously had to run and get something else off the shelves.  I appreciate her avoiding my moment of shame.)

The checker is a saint.  He even has sanitizing wipes.  The entire cart is probably now cleaner than it has been in years. 

As I leave he asks me if I need any help getting out to the car. 

I decline. 

What else could go wrong?!  Besides, I am woman!  Hear me roar!


I have had almost this exact moment of crisis in the line at the grocery store. The call for the potty and almost instantly he is peeing! ALOT!!! Oh my goodness! And wouldn't you know the rain boots he was wearing didn't catch ANY of the pee! A saintly woman behind me helpe me clean him and the mess up. OY!
The Vippermans said…
I love this! I have 5 and some days they are perfect angels in public...others not so much. This reminds me of those days.
I am loving your spate of non-birthy posts lately :) You are funnier than Ellen.
Heidi said…
you brave woman you! I burst out laughing in situations like that too, how funny! So glad you got a checker with a heart <3
Confident Womb said…
I laughed outloud on this one! lol I only have one, but some days, I feel like I have the same experience you just described! LOL!
Anonymous said…
I would LOVE to have a trip like yours and I only have 1. Today, my 5yo decided to throw a temper tantrum and instead of giving in, I did the old walk away trick. One busybody decided to threaten to whip out her phone and dial the police for me abandoning him. When I confronted her with my son in tow, she responded "I'm sorry you have to deal with a mommy like her, little boy." She did not see the tantrum, she did not hear the tantrum (we were outside and she pulled up in her minivan as I walked away keeping him in sight 100% of the time), she just decided to be a "good" citizen and threaten to put my son in foster care to avoid a mommy that wouldn't buy a $0.25 trinket from a gumball machine after he had been acting up in the store (and earlier the doctor's office).
Jen said…
Great Post! It's so nice to know I am not the only one this happens to.
My oldest (who was 4 at the time) peed all over the floor of a shoe store when I took all 3 of the kids shoe shopping (BIG mistake). I was sooooo embarresed because it was right at the moment that the sales girl was standing there asking if I needed any help looking for shoes. As if things couldn't have gotten worse...the floor was CARPETED (yuck)! The sales girl was so sweet and wouldn't let me clean it up. She cleaned the whole mess up (with gloves and sanitizer) and told me not to worry because she worked nights at a strip club and had "cleaned up much grosser bodily fluids on a regular basis"...yes, really gross but it did make me feel better:)
Fire said…
So happy to know that I am not the only mom that these things happen to!
Mrs. M said…
This gave me a chuckle.. Since my husband is overseas right now Im always taking my 3 to the grocery store by myself. Sometimes they are angels, other times..ya Im glad that the people at the store have patience. I can't wait for my hubby to get home so I can have someone to watch the kids while I go get the food :)
Lydia said…
Loved this! I am convinced I, too, am a Jedi with those mind tricks. "you do not have to pee." I have so said that.
...sarah. said…
Don't you know? Never, ever ask "what else!?" ...Thank you for sharing, now I don't have to feel so bad about being scared to go in public with my little one.
Tori said…
I must take my children grocery shopping with me whenever I go. The book FROM COMBAT ZONE TO LOVE AT HOME has helped me feel more relaxed while grocery shopping with them. They love grocery shopping, but haven't always had their halos on and shined for our hour or more in the store. They do now!!! It's wonderful! I've had so many people compliment me on their behavior. It's just wonderful!! And since I have to do all "in town" stops when we go to town (3 or more almost every time!), it's especially helpful because I promise them a certain potential # of tokens (based on principles in the book) they might be able to earn if their behavior is great!! And they say things like, "You're the best Mama in the whole world!" when I give them tokens they have 'earned' or when they get to spend them. ^_^

Oh, I have 4 children. Almost 8 years, 5 yrs, 3 yrs and my 8 month old.

I hope you will check out the book and enjoy the wonderful benefits I have been blessed to enjoy!!! ^_^
Rachael said…
I have always admired mamas with 3 or more children in the grocery store! I have had the pleasure of managing only two, so kudos to you and all the other mamas (and papas) with more!!! I used to be an Army wife, and often other military moms HAVE to go to the Commissary on their own with ALL the children in tow, as their spouses are deployed. I distinctly remember a mom with SIX children shopping. I was more amazed at their behavior...they were VERY well-behaved and courteous of the other shoppers. Again, kudos!
I couldn't help but laugh out loud at this!! I have been you, many, many times!!!