I didn’t get moving fast enough this morning to go grocery shopping alone so I loaded up the twins and headed to our local supermarket. It was packed, I almost drove back home but with friends coming to stay the night I knew I’d have to come back in just a few hour. With happy smiles and promises of fun I loaded the kids in the double seated grocery cart and dodged cars and slow moving pedestrians.
As we entered the store I pulled out my list and pen and decided on a plan of attack; household stuff first, frozen foods last, keep to the back with the wider aisles to avoid grabby hands from grabbing and move fast. No price comparing, no wandering down the fresh baked goods or specialty cheeses and wine… just get what I need and get.
Before the toilet paper and Kleenexes but thankfully after the Aleve, Little Man decided he’d rather be home playing with his trucks and in his frustration decided to crush his sister against the other side of the cart. Blondie let out a howling scream; “Guys, let’s at least get to the meat before we try to kill each other.” I found some cups with Spider-Man and Tinkerbell and for a few minutes they were happy. I made it through the water and tea as well as the lunchmeats and then I could feel the tremor of a full blown melt down coming.
“Guys, you’ve been fed, you pottied, you have cool cups to ‘fist-a-cups’ with (It’s a game where they put cups on their hands and punch each other… on the other person’s cup. I know it’s lame but it works… most of the time.) and if you can last just a bit longer we’ll have fruit salad for lunch. Deal?!” Cocked heads and quivering chins… I felt the restlessness build but still had half my list to go through.
As we made it to the cereal aisle I found some Matchbox cars. (Yes, when shopping with the twins I will resort to bribing. I do the same to the husband… don’t judge.) ;) This was pure genius. Both happy and both knew the rules; ‘You can’t open till after we check out.’ They smiled and played with their packaged cars. The world was back in balance.
And then I saw her, the other mother with twins. But she was braver… or crazier, because she also had their two siblings. She had the look of a desperate woman in search of a window to jump from. The twins were fighting and the other kids were asking for everything they saw. As I followed behind her I helped with tossed shoes and we smiled the mom smile. The, “I understand what you are going through and I promise not to judge when you pass the beer and wine section. Matter of fact I’ll help you find the best deal” look.
After several aisles, lost shoes and looks of utter stress she turns to me and says, “Please tell me it gets easier.” I couldn’t lie to her. Too many had done it to me. “I’m afraid not, but it does get different. They learn to communicate, they get out of diapers, they start figuring out how to share better and you grow with them. Different is good.”
She started to smile and just as I was about to initiate a fist bump Little Man put Blondie in a headlock and the ear piercing scream that only a 3-year old girl can do echoed throughout the store once again. It was my queue to wrap things up. We gave each other a reassuring nod and the slightly insane mom grimace. Both making promises to our kids that we were almost done.
Lesson for the day: sacrificing a few hours of sleep for a peaceful trip the grocery store… always worth it.