Why are these people still following me around the store?
Make that open arms, a joyous song and a happy dance. There was practically a Broadway chorus line in the kitchen.
At last, after years of suffering and sorrow, I was free. Unfettered by kids between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and almost 2, I was ready for adventure. Excitement.
"What are you going to do today?" Dad asked.
"I'm going to the commissary," I said.
He had the nerve to laugh. "The what?"
"The commissary. Do you know how many times in the past five years I've been to the store by myself?"
"One," he said.
"That's one more than I recall," I shot back.
It's not so much the tantrums these days, though Boots still can do an impressive Veruca Salt imitation when something's coming between him and his fruit snacks.
Instead, it's the bickering. The begging. The clamoring. The fussing. Sure, we'd have the occasional "good" trip, where I'm miraculously able to keep them occupied with a game or by putting them in charge of the list. Often, though, the latter would lead to a fresh round of feuding. "He put the lettuce in. It's my turn now. It's MY turn."
I also figured their mere presence tacks on twenty bucks or more during each trip to the store. We have a one-treat rule - they get to pick a quasi-crappy item each if they behave - so I resist excessive junk. I've never been able to pare the list of items that fall between garbage and good, though. The stuff that they're not going to fill up on, but still isn't nutritionally odious.
Clearly, going it alone at the commissary was going to be a win-win situation. Less stress, lower bills. The only down side was loss of my slave labor, which meant I'd have to bring in the groceries by myself. I was willing to make the sacrifice.
Except by the time I got to the commissary, I was astounded to find that they were in tow anyway. No one asked to ride the taxi-cab cart, but the second I was inside and saw the Halloween display I heard someone ask for Oreos.
An aisle later, it was Fruit Loops. "Sorry, Mommy doesn't buy dye cereal." I don't think I said it out loud, but I might have.
I caught a break in produce - Boots was happy that I added his "beautiful bananas" to the cart - but next came the cracker aisle. "I am not buying Cheez-Its," I hissed in my head. "We have two kinds of crackers at home already. We don't need anymore."
Frozen foods was easy, too. Big Guy's voice reminded me that we were out of chicken nuggets, and when I picked up a bag Boots quit asking for Kid's Cuisine.
The next big challenge: The deli. There's one, and only one, variety of donuts that are safe for Big Guy. They're made on "shared equipment" but he's not so sensitive to egg that he couldn't handle a smidge of cross-contamination. The problem is, they're not at the commissary all the time.
Would today be the day? No. I saw Big Guy's face fall.
Somehow, though, Goldfish jumped in my cart as I rounded the corner to the checkout.
The final tally: $2 more than the last trip I'd made with the guys. So much for my theory about saving money.
Copyright 2010 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.