Thursday, September 24, 2009

How to survive the grocery store with the kids

I have learned how to get in and out of the grocery store with my two sons (one aged two, one eight months), with everyone still alive and most of my sanity still in tact.

One simple trick. TREATS. Treats all around.

Recently I whined about how I would never leave the house again. And then I whined a bit more. The unhappy combination of tantrums, outbursts, sticky fingers on expensive items, and strangers giving me the evil eye had brought me to the conclusion there was no point in going out any more. End.

But, there are times when you absolutely must go out. Diapers run out every few days. I get through filter coffee and espresso like there's no tomorrow. Errands need to be run.

So, this is what happens now:

We arrive the grocery store and I get the kids out of the car and into the double stroller. The minute they're strapped in, I give them snacks - Mum Mums for Oliver and crackers for Matthew.

The snacks disappear in minutes, so we head straight for the baby food aisle, where the toddler fruit jelly snacks are located. Unable to wait, I rip the pack open and give my son a pack of jellies.

One aisle later the jelly snacks are gone. I grab a bag of plastic animals hanging on a shelf at the end of an aisle. Moments later little zebras, horses and camels are being flung from the stroller and I dash to collect the stray animals from the floor.

We reach the checkout and despite all efforts, moaning, sniveling sounds are rising from the stroller. The checkout lady produces large shiny stickers, which alleviate the sniveling for a whole seven seconds.

Before we leave, there is one last treat to be bought: Starbucks coffee for me. It's the reason I come to this grocery store.

As we skedaddle the store, a trail of sticky treats, plastic animals and stickers decorate the floor behind me. A grocery store man is following close behind, stooping to pick up lost animals and jellies and bits of chewed paper and kind of half chasing after me with outstretched hands as I try my best to GET THE HELL OUT.

Bloody flipping hell.

Tell me it's not just me this happens to?
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wherewiller said...

My method is to go straight to the bakery section and grab them a bagel. And we keep the bag from the bagel so we make sure we pay for it!

Thankfully now my new job means I can grocery shop sans children. Because christ that's about 50 million times easier.

Erin @ Closing Time said...

My youngest would basically scream through the whole store, unless I was holding her (while pushing the cart containing my oldest AND all the groceries). I'm thankful to say she has outgrown it!

Loukia said...

Oh, you have no idea how much food my children consume in the grocery store! And not nice little treats like you give your kids - oh, no. For instance, I give my 20 month old the container of cream cheese and let him go at it with his bare hands. I'm not even kidding. And yes, it's horribly messy. Christos will eat whatever - pretzels, bread, cupcakes that I buy for them, crackers, cheese, ham. It's NUTS when I take them alone to the grocery store. Good times, huh? ;)

Karen @ If I Could Escape . . . said...

Isn't that the only way to survive going to the grocery store?!! It's so fun handing over half eaten bags of organic cheetohs and empty juice box cartons to be scanned at the check out!

P.S. I think I need to move to Canada -- we don't have Starbucks in our grocery stores -- just in Target!

Sparkless said...

I never took the kids grocery shopping when they were small. I'd wait until my husband got home and go then. It was my one quiet sane time of the day and I'd take my time strolling up and down those aisles even if I didn't need much.
Grocery shopping was my "me" time back when my kids were small.

Kate Coveny Hood said...

How on earth do you shop with a stroller?

I used to say that I'd never take my kids to the grocery store alone - but now it's "an activity" - and I'm always looking for something to do with them...

I throw everyone in a cart (one in the basket seat and the other two in the big basket. We usually have several fights about standing up, touching each other, looking at each other, etc... But in the end, I just give them something to eat. Since that rarely lasts - I do find that the second half of the shopping trip is living hell.

The best was today when I thought I'd be smart and let them all hold some cake decorations (the shaker kind). They liked shaking them around and assumed that I'd feed it to them at some point (obviously, I had no plans for that). Unfortunately, they've gotten smarter as they've gotten bigger and everyone figured out how to open their shakers. You can pretty much imagine what that was like...

Lady Mama said...

wherewiller - I think shopping alone is the best tactic of all.

Erin - sounds like torture!

Loukia - that is absolutely hilarious that you let him have the cream cheese... I have this picture of him smeared in it! Whatever works though.

Karen - yes it seems it is the only way these days. Or better, go alone.

Sparkless - I agree on going shopping alone. Not sure about it being "me" time though. I don't find grocery shopping relaxing at all.

Kate - I have a double stroller with a really big basket underneath, so I can cram quite a few things in there. And oh gawd I can just picture the shakers making a huge mess everywhere! haha fun times.

Chic Mama said...

Costs an absolute fortune doesn't it. I usually shop online but often need to top up. The 'baby' eats things before I get a chance to notice- he refuses to go in the trolley.

Really Rachel said...

Treats are definitely the way to go! I shop online mostly, to avoid shopping with children at all costs. However, as you say, top-ups are needed and sometimes it has to be done! FP fills my trolley with all sorts of things. Lately I bought 3 kiddy necklaces that I wasn't expecting. Oops. Presents.

Elaine A. said...

Just a few of the reasons why I try to go to the store alone or send the husband. It's just too much!!

I like your style though...

..... Carmen said...

I can't put Grace in one of those car carts, or she escapes. My only tactic is to keep her in the front. I have no idea what I'll do with two. Current plan is to carry the babe in a front carrier with Grace in the cart. Once the wee one outgrows that, I may resort to jellies, animals, and stickers :)

James (SeattleDad) said...

Great tactics. I just order my groceries online and only stop with Lukas every once in a while where he is sitting in the cart. Not an option forever, I'm sure.

Perfectly Happy Mum said...

Well recently I tried involvement and it turns out that we ended up with smashed eggs and open orange juice, so there is NO MORE involvement until the kid is at least 15! So like you it is treats, treats and treats all the way!