It was a pitiful, yet defining, moment in my life as a mom with two babies. One evening, I found myself feeling high in the grocery store, merely because I was alone... unencumbered by stroller, diaper bag, and a smaller person with LARGE needs. There's a funny thing about little babies, their vital needs are always expressed at the exact moment when you have finally gotten a shower, managed to travel five minutes away to the store, gotten out of the car, and entered a public establishment.
Although the early years of being a mother blur together like fleeting bits of sand caught in a vortex, there are some memories that stay in the forever file.
A couple of weeks after GIRL was born, I bravely ventured out to the store with two babies in tow. We turned heads. There I was with GIRL, a newborn, tucked into the infant car seat, perched on the top of a stroller cart, and 10 month old BOY sitting illegally in the cart. About every two feet we would have to stop, as BOY was standing and leaning over the cart, intently pursuing whether landing on his head was an adventurous option.
When that scenario didn't play out too well, I tried putting BOY in the seat of the cart, and had GIRL nestled into a sling. Nestling is such a cozy concept, except that she HATED the sling! With a passion well documented by her shrill screams and people parting before us as if I was Moses himself. We finally found an arrangement that suited all of us. GIRL dangled in a front facing baby carrier, snug against my chest, and BOY sat in the seat of the cart. On good days, GIRL's sweet tiny body, and BOY's blonde, touseled hair and impossibly blue eyes elicited smiles and comments.
Now that my children are 5 and 6, it is a bit easier. However, the best scenario for braving a 2 page grocery list, on very little sleep, is having one child with you. One child creates a special bonding experience in which they can actually help, and you get out of the store with everyone commenting on how absolutely adorable your child is, and how they remember fondly when their children were that age.
With two children, you chance embarking on a Grocery Game from Hell or...let's drive mom crazy. The game requires very little. A store, 2 children, and 1 tired mom who tends to zone out in the chocolate aisle. It goes something like this... Two children sneak off to the other side of the store, and come tearing around the corner, SHRIEKING with joy over spotting their mom. It's tag, and she's the safe zone. The mother in question smiles grimly, avoiding eye contact with the customers in proximity. The two children then GIGGLE, and go for the gusto with round two. This includes throwing unacceptable items into the grocery cart, while playing tag down the frozen food aisle. Yes, two can create a tag team bent on unsettling vengeance.