On Sunday, we gathered up all of our troops to head out to the grocery store. Red peppers are on sale this week for $1.99 a pound. A price like that was hard to refuse. Rich asked if I wanted to go to the store alone or did I want him to come with me and the kids. For some reason I chose option B. I must have been so excited about the peppers that I stopped thinking clearly. I guess a trip with three kids wasn't quite challenging enough for us. We decided to up the ante by putting Shea into a new pair of Heelys. Rich wants a pair. Rich is very, very jealous.
Anyhoo, shopping. Shea was getting the hang of the shoes. He'd occasionally cling to the side of the cart for a free ride. Rich and the kids went out into the store to gather stuff and bring it back to the shopping cart. As we finished up the trip, Atlee, Greeley and I went to hunt for cranberry juice while Shea and Rich went to look for coffee.
While I was pondering the many varieties of cranberry juice, Atlee decided she HAD TO FIND SHEA. She does this some times. She suddenly realizes Shea MIGHT be doing something fun without her and she MUST know if this is true. So, she yells over her shoulder while running down the aisle, "I'm off to find Shea!" and she's gone.
I start going into paranoid Mommy state... I am in the grocery store, and I cannot see my child. I start steering Greeley and the shopping cart down the aisle, following after Atlee. She's probably just around the corner in coffee. I'm calmly calling her name, "Hey- Atlee...". The cart has Greeley perched on top in her car seat, so I'm afraid to go too fast. As I round the corner, I see a little pink boot going around another corner. "Atlee!" It's more of a bark and a few people look. "Squeal, Giggle, Squeal" was her response, or something like that. And she keeps going!
Customers are looking now at the showdown between mom and daughter. Another corner and I'm gaining on her. But she sees me and speeds up. I have no other choice now. "Atlee, One!" She stops. But she's not looking at me. "Atlee, Two!" She looks at me and begins to drag herself towards me. The outraged whimper starts and grows into a howl. Non-parents look at me as though I've just tripped her for sport of something. I know they were nonparents because they were looking at us. Parents just look the other way, having been through it before.
We start to walk to the cash register as I reiterate all the evil things that can happen to little children who run away from their parents in crowded grocery stores. I'm a big fan of scare tactics sometimes. The howling continues. But, wait! What's that up ahead! It's Shea. The crying starts to slow down. It stops shortly after we reunite with Rich and Shea. Shea reattaches to the grocery cart and we get in line to check-out.
We're now in impulse alley. My normally well behaved children suddenly suffered the worst cases of the Can I's and Gimmee's? Feeling generous, I say they can split one item. They must agree on what it will be and they must share it. I hear some negotiating and then agreement. They have decided on some sort of chocolate kiss something and up on the belt it goes. So, the cashier is scanning and Rich and I are bagging.
As I'm starting to fill out the check, the cashier says, "And the Zagnut for the little girl." "Huh?" It takes me a moment to realize Shea has snuck a candybar onto the belt and the cashier is handing it to him. I looked at him and he looked so smug. I don't like that word really, but that's what it was. "Ha ha... I got my way because I was sneaky and now I don't have to share with my little sister because I was sneaky. Did I mention I was sneaky? Ha Ha Ha." He didn't say it out loud, but it was all there on his face. I looked into the future of when he is a teenager, sneakily pulling one over on mom and dad. And I ripped that candy bar out of his hands, handed it back to the cashier and said, "No, I don't think so.... he didn't ask for that so he may not have it. Please take it off." There were quiet tears, silence and anger. Him, not me. Well, anger. Yes, that was me.
The next night we had to run to a different grocery store and were standing in line again. We seem to spend a lot of time in line at grocery stores. Shea asked for a small bag of cheesy puffs, and I was happy to fork over the .25, because he asked. He didn't try to be sneaky, he asked.
The next time Rich asks if I want to go to the store alone or have everybody come along, I'll remember to choose Option A.