It’s so easy as a parent to focus on the things that aren’t going quite to plan so when things go amazingly right it is only natural to want to shout it from the rooftops and give yourself a massive hi-5…. tell me I’m not the only one who feels like this?!!
The supermarket. Quite likely if you are a parent of multiple youngsters this compound word may send shivers up your spine and you may question what the person who came up with this name was thinking. I will duck for cover as a say this, I have been a long time fan of shopping with child in tow. Before L it was one of my favourite things to do with C. Since L’s arrival the ‘getting there’ has been more of an effort but, like exercise, it’s hard to get the motivation to do it but boy you feel good afterwards!! We have had some successes in the supermarket, we’ve had some misses. The misses come from the toddler- the babe has, up until today, spent every shopping trip dozing in the Ergo (can I please find and kiss the inventor of the Ergo?!!). Thankfully C loves shopping and as she grows, she is becoming more involved in the process.
Over the past month she has begun to ‘settle’. She has had a rough patch of sprouting 5 teeth (only 3 to go!), long hot days and nights and finding her new place in the world as the ‘big sister’. She has been known to run when left free out and about and has a tendency to be, ahem, very determined (read:ignores everything I say!). Today I saw none of that!
I sat at C’s table and wrote my shopping list, naming the items out loud. C used her little coloring pad to write a shopping too, mimicking everything I said. When we got to the supermarket there was a slight hiccup as I juggled getting L into a trolley (her first time- yay!!!) whilst C protested that she wanted a trolley. We recovered though and then were off and rolling!
I read items off the shopping list and C seeked them out. I told her we needed eggs – she walked around saying ‘Eggs? Eggs? Where you? Oh! There is!!’ She helped me check the boxes for cracks! Our trolley ended up with different bread, different milk and different dog food to normal but C had chosen all the items and placed them in the trolley so i was ecstatic. An older lady smiled at us and told me we all looked vey relaxed. We were quite relaxed … on the outside!! I was harnessing all the inner patience I had to make this work!!!! C enjoyed loading the register with our purchases and waited patiently with a $50 note in her hand to pay and get her change! She was an absolute star!!! L was a star – contently watching the world go by from her perch on the trolley. By this time we were all so loved- up that we backed up the supermarket with a drink at the cafe and then a run to see the ducks! I felt like super mum!
So, this successful shopping trip got me thinking about Charlee’s, like most toddlers, innate desire to be involved and be ‘one of us ‘ and how I could involve her more in the future. I have decided to laminate an A4 sheet of paper and attach some Velcro dots to it. I am also going to make up some small cards of familiar grocery items and put velcro dots on these so I can place 4-5 on Charlee’s card each shopping trip and make her responsible for those items. It will be like a simple scavenger hunt. I think I’ll test the concept at home first to see how it goes.
The supermarket is the most amazing place for learning experiences – colors, shapes, smells, temperature, counting, money, measurement (ummm…anger management?!!!) – it’s all there regardless the age of your children. What do you like to do with your children in the supermarket if, like me, you’re mad enough to tackle it!!! .
My Top 5 supermarket tips (!!!):
1) Wisely, wisely pick your timing! Toddlers must be rested and fed!! Just as you wouldn’t invite a tourist to swim with a hungry shark, you shouldn’t step foot over the supermarket threshold and expect a happy trip if your toddler is tired!!!
2) On timing – if I want a trip like this one I go either first thing, as in 8am before the school mums have got there, before the world has awoken or in the mid-afternoon. The supermarket is quiet, you can take your time and you don’t have to feel like you are in anyone’s way!!! Most people who are out at this time are either older so they have the knowing ‘I’ve been there’ sympathy looks or they’re parents like you, just trying to get through the shopping trip tear free!
3) Immediately seek out something they can hold or eat – I usually grab a punnet of strawberries if C is in the trolley and she will happily munch away or I’ve been known to stop at the discount store for a sheet of dollar stickers or a bubble wand! She’ll clutch those stickers like her life depends on it knowing she can stick them all over herself on the way home!!!
4) Avoid the aisles/section of aisles you know will cause problems! In our case it’s the aisle with the yoghurt!!!
5) Involve your children in whatever way you can!
Who knew I would one day want to sit and write about the bloody supermarket and the fact that it was the best thing we did this week- not because we did nothing else more exciting but because it was such a happy, proud moment for me! I came away thinking that something very right is going on in our home to make me have such a lovely little girl and a content bubba.
I’m sure every parent has these moments. Through the haze of the washing pile and the tiredness and the tears, there are so many moments that reaffirm to you what an amazement our children are. What was your moment this week?
*I am slightly sad I have no photos from this trip to share but I enjoyed the moment screen free!