It's amazing how challenging the smallest of tasks have become with the kids these days. Dear Son is into EVERYTHING and has a strong mind about him to have his way. Friday was a trip to the local Food Mart. This is the trip where I only buy a few things because I have both kids in tow. Grocery shopping with both of them is just too hard. But I like to go once each week to buy the hormone and antibiotic-free milk offered through a local dairy, and this I do on a day of the week that requires me to bring both the wee ones. While I'm there I tend to pick up a few additional items.
The kids love to look at the lobster tank, so we make it about two aisles through the store when Son insists on getting down from his seat in the cart and runs around to find the lobsters. On his way there, he becomes fascinated by all the jars and containers on the shelves at his eye level. I no sooner save a few glass jars from shattering on the floor before he's pushing on some other jars and causing them to bulge out in another area and threaten to come crashing down. We make it to the lobsters and then to the club soda. I try to make it through this aisle quickly, but it doesn't always work. You see, the Teddy Grahams are at perfect 21-month-old eye level on the side across from the club soda. Don't even try to tell me this isn't strategic product placement! When Son sees these, it's all over. It doesn't matter what snacks I've packed and brought along. It doesn't even matter if I've packed our own Teddy Grahams from one of the other boxes at home that he picked out on a previous trip to the Food Mart. He sees these and HAS to have him some from the box immediately. I'm not one to cater to a demanding toddler just because he is demanding (remember the deflated balloon incident?) but I'm also not one to finish out a shopping trip in public with a screaming toddler who ultimately ends up on all fours banging his head on the floor. If he wants to bang his head at home, that's one thing, but I won't have this scene in public. Yeah, I know, I should just leave the store if this happens, true Love and Logic style. But hey, ya gotta pick your battles sometimes. So if Son sees the Teddy Grahams and starts squealing and doing his happy dance while dipping and twirling with his chosen box, I use it as an opportunity to get him back in the cart and cooperate. I'm certain he's figured out that this is the one time he can sit next to an open box of Teddy Grahams and shove all he wants into his mouth so long as he stays put and stays quiet so we can finish our business and get the heck out of Dodge. I cut him off from the Teddy Grahams when we get to the car, and when we get home the box goes into the cupboard with the rest of the collection of half-eaten boxes of assorted Teddy Grahams that seem to only hold their appeal while in the middle of the Food Mart.
On this particular shopping trip, I kept crossing paths with some middle-aged man who kept looking at us. Who could blame him? We couldn't have been any quieter than a full marching band blaring its way through the middle of the store. He heard the whining and carrying on from Son soon after we entered the store until he got down to find the lobsters. He heard my scolding and saw me sprint toward the salsa section when Son nearly pulled half a dozen jars to the tile floor. He heard the squealing and saw the happy dance in full dramatic fashion when Son found the Teddy Grahams. He was probably tsk tsk-ing me when I tore open the box and handed it to Son to do with what he wished so that I could have some peace (or perhaps he was just as relieved as I was for the same peace when Son sat still and quietly started stuffing his face). And I'll be darned if he wasn't also there when I managed to knock a six pack of glass beverage bottles to the hard floor. I couldn't even blame this one on Son. I could blame it on the product placers in the store, however, as the problem was that I had to reach back into an open cooler display for what I wanted, and there was a stack of loose cans in front. When I caught one with the carton of my coveted purchase, it fell onto another six pack of glass bottles and knocked them to the floor. They made a horrendous sound and anyone within a 100 yard radius turned to stare. Some people even peeked around from the other side of the aisle to look. The sticky beverages puddled and pooled and fizzed while Son sat in the cart munching happily on his Teddy Grahams, watching the show.
It's all good until we get home and Son insists on playing outside while I unload the groceries. It goes smoothly for about three minutes. Then he sees the folded up umbrella stroller in the back of the family mobile and begins screaming and pointing. This fit begins to work its way up in intensity as I unload the milk. I finally return to see what the big fuss is all about and when I realize what he wants I get him the stroller and unfold it so he can push it around the driveway, which is what he usually wants to do with it. Instead, he continues to scream harder and louder while wildly shaking his head, stamping his feet, and saying, "No! No! No! No!" Snot and drool are flying and his face is beet red and the screaming is at decibels higher than my ears can handle. This goes on until I figure out that he wants the stroller folded up so he can push it around that way. Once he gets what he wants, the fit immediately stops and a sly smile spreads across his face as he begins pushing the stroller around the driveway. Then he turns and looks over his shoulder, grins at me widely, and says, "Happy!"
Well great, Kid. Glad you're happy, 'cause if you ain't happy, God knows ain't nobody gonna be happy!