A while back I was talking to a friend of mine who has older children (I think her youngest is 11), four of them and one is a in a wheel chair. She told me that when they were little and she would go to the store it was very important that her older child and her younger child, obey her and hold onto the chair. There wasn’t much wiggle room in the obedience department.
My sister, Jenny tells me that the goal is “first time obedience” (Obeying parents the first time not waiting until the 3rd or 4th time or for the yelling) but she also says it is not common and not to be expect. I like “first time obedience”….let’s face it, what parent doesn’t enjoy life more when their little darling obeys them the first time and what’s more, I expect it.
When it comes to “going to the store”, any store or really anywhere, my goal is to get in, get out and have all my kids with me. I am not sure I’ve described a trip to the store with infant twins and a 3 year old but it involves a very large double stroller that has handles on the side for the 3 year old to hold on to. We have a system and I am very intentional about it being followed. When the Hubs goes with us, it’s all out the window. He’s getting two shopping carts, he lets the Boy run around (to some extent)…I would rather go by myself but the Hubs likes going. You do what you have to do.
A couple of weeks ago, my sister Jenny was in town and we, my sisters and I, are working on some party planning. We had to go to Hobby Lobby before Jenny headed back to West Texas. It was Monday. Jenny was going to take my oldest nephew, Evan with her so he could visit for a week or so. Here is the set up… We had an 8 year old, an almost 7 year old, three 3 year olds (two of which are almost 4) and two 6 month olds. We had two shopping carts and one giant double stroller. I’m sure crowds of people were dividing to let us through when they saw us coming.
When I walked in, our Boy was with his aunts and he was touching things and running around. I called out to him, using his fullname. He immediately found his place on the stroller handle and we were good.
This is how the trip went…3 minutes into the trip, sisters are telling their oldest sons to stop running around and hitting each other this happened several times throughout the trip. 8 minutes into shopping, a 3 year old needed to go to the potty and suddenly they remembered that they all needed to go so sisters took all the 3 year olds to the potty leaving the older boys with me. I told them to stay next to the shopping cart and this worked well for about 97 seconds. 17 minutes into the trip, sisters come back and Jenny tells nephews if they don’t stop fighting, Evan is not going to go home with her. 24 minutes into the trip, sisters are fussing at nephews for running around like they are on a playground. This is when I wheeled my entourage to a different aisle and try to distance myself. 31 minutes into the trip, sister explains to her son that she isn’t going to buy him something every time they go into a store. Running around and fighting ensues. I should also mention that throughout this trip my nieces are repeatedly calling out to one of us…by repeatedly, I mean, “Gracey, Gracey, Gracey, Gracey” or “Mama, mama, mama, mama…” Until you want to yell, “For the love of God, what do you need???” At one point
I “lost them” we lost each other but they were never really lost because our group was soooo loud that everyone in the store knew where we were.
Our plan was to go to Hobby Lobby and then go eat at Chic-fil-a. Somewhere around 41 minutes into our trip, I began to formulate a plan for getting our of lunch. (I’m sorry sisters).
56 minutes into the trip, we make it to the check out. It felt like we had been in that store for 3 hours and from some of the looks we were getting from the employees they felt the same.
At the check out, we had to split up everything to pay. By this time, I was holding one of the babies. Jenny unloaded the basket and set baby girl’s carseat a foot behind me. I didn’t know. The check out we were at there should have been wide open spaces behind me. At one point I backed up and naturally, I tripped over the carseat. I landed right on my bottom and baby girl though she was on a fun ride at Disney world, seriously, she was laughing. Naturally, the Hobby Lobby employees did not come over and help me up… By this time, the children are fighting, all of them except the babies, to sit on a bench that is at the front of the store. There was clearly room for all five of their little bottoms to fit if they were being cooperative, which of course they were not. I’m not sure if that was the last straw for Jenny or if it was the walk to that truck but by the time we got to the truck, Evan and Aunt Jenny had decided that him visiting for a week was not a great idea.
We mutually decided we did not want to spend lunch with our kids, uh, I mean with our kids all together.
I imagine those Hobby Lobby employees had a look out at their door and she was calling into the other employees and shoppers, “They are getting in their car….they are all in. It looks like they are starting their engines. Yes, they are backing out.” and as we exited, “They are gone!” and a celebratory “Yeah!” echoed throughout the store.
Later, Jenny called and told me that our Boy was the best behaved in the store…well out of our crew. That was a nice complement. The truth is, with our situation, we have to be organized about going places. And one things I’ve learned when it comes to parenting…don’t get a big head about anything because next week it could all go differently. Next week, my kid could be the one screaming or wrestling with his cousin or climbing over the booths at Chic-fil-a. It was just a good day that day…well, sort of.
Now I am getting ready to make another trip to the store. It is good that the babies still like the stroller but God please help me when they decide they don’t.