If you have a toddler, or have ever had a toddler, you know trips to the grocery store are the stuff of nightmares. Not Friday the 13th-style nightmares. I mean the kind of nightmare where you are slowly being eaten alive.
Leeches playing the recorder.
Below is a rundown of how this mundane part of my life has changed since that fateful day I gave birth to a pint-sized sociopath.
1. Drive or walk to the store.
2. Stroll the aisles leisurely, checking produce for freshness and reading nutrition labels.
3. Linger over the cheese selection, trying to decide whether I want to splurge on a small chunk of high-quality bleu cheese.
4. Pay for my groceries using the coupons I clipped.
5. Drive or walk home with a song in my heart.
6. Put away my groceries and move on with my day.
1. Spend 10 minutes looking for her shoes. Find one boot. Decide shoes are overrated and put on her socks.
2. Wrestle toddler into the car seat with promises that we will go to the playground later. I know I am lying. It’s raining and cold, and I might never find her shoes again.
3. Drive to the store.
4. Find her socks somewhere between the seats and put them back on her feet.
5. Race up and down the produce section checking items off a list that somehow got soggy in my purse. I don’t even want to know.
6. Listen to toddler repeat a billion times the names of all the food she sees. Assure her a billion and one times that she can eat a banana when she gets home.
7. Correct her repeatedly for trying to open the strawberries. Finally have enough of her shit and put the strawberries on the shelf under the cart.
8. Get halfway down the meat aisle when she says she has to pee.
9. Walk to the other end of the store, help her go to the bathroom, then resume shopping.
10. Get back to where I left off when she says she has to pee again. Repeat step 8. Discover she doesn’t really have to go.
11. Get back to where I left off when she announces she has to pee again. Decide I’d rather scrape shit off of her pants than walk back to the bathroom one more time. I am not leaving this aisle without bacon.
12. Walk up and down a few aisles, informing her that we do not need every last thing that looks appealing to her. Keep her from eating everything in the cart. Grab the things I need, barely glancing at prices, and not at all at nutrition labels. I could be spending $25 on a package of hamburger rolls made of cancer. I just don’t care.
13. Surprise, surprise. She needs to pee again. It’s been long enough now that I decide to take her.
14. Joke’s on me: She doesn’t really need to pee.
15. Listen to incessant whining about all the food she wants to eat right now, knowing she won’t touch it once we get home. Illicit food is the best food.
16. About to get on line when she announces she has to pee again. Since we are getting in the car soon, I take her. To no one’s surprise, she does not really need to pee.
17. Pay for my groceries quickly, pleased I didn’t misplace the rewards card or accidentally steal the strawberries still under the cart. This is as good as it gets for me.
18. Wrangle all produce and living creatures into the car and drive home. Listen to toddler repeat the word “walk” over and over until my ears bleed.
19. Sing the ABCs song. It’s the song I sing in lieu of the “shut the fuck up” song.
20. Get home. Find her socks somewhere between the seats and put them back on her feet.
21. Toddler flips out because I won’t give her strawberries, as I will be making lunch in a few minutes. Give her a time out. Resume putting groceries away.
22. Toddler decides she wants her shirt off. I try to help her get it off, but she won’t let go of the sleeves. She both wants the shirt off and doesn’t want the shirt off. Finally I get it off.
23. She says she has to pee again. I help her go to the potty. She does not really need to pee.
24. Put away more groceries. Give her another time out for freaking out about not getting cookies.
25. Toddler decides she wants her pants off. It’s naked-toddler Monday!
26. She says she has to pee again. Surprisingly, she does.
27. I give her another time out. It doesn’t matter what it’s for. I realize I’m just phoning it in. My soul is empty, but my pantry is full.