Monday, March 22, 2010

tucked away into The Forever File

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.

Sometimes I miss early years, fleeting as they were. When days were never ending, and the weeks fly by. Yet, feeling the full weight of my 5 and 6 year old, snug in my lap, digging in for a good read together...the delicious smell of sun kissed skin and traces of lunch left on their faces, these memories I clutch tightly, also tucked away into the forever file...

The photo above is the first one taken of JCK's family of 4. BOY is 10 months old, and GIRL is a newborn. It also marks the phasing out of JCK's blonde period...

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  1. Before you know it you'll just be handing them the list and having them drive to the store. The whining you'll hear will take you straight back to the toddler days!

  2. What a beautiful family, both then and now.

  3. If I can't go to the store alone, I love taking just one of my kids with me. Taking both of them? Not so much.

    You know Jenn's dangling a carrot, don't you? :) Someday...

  4. Very funny. I only have 1 kiddo, but I prefer to shop after his bedtime than battle in each aisle over what lands in the cart.
    I love how in the photo, BOY is struggling to get free. Almost every photo of our family has this same element!

  5. Amazingly most of my trips to the grocery store are now taken alone. A couple of weeks ago I took both boys with me (8 and 11) and good grief -- one of them snapped a button off my shoe by stepping on the heel, we bought way more stuff than when I'm alone and just so you know -- 11 year olds are not good drivers of grocery carts. i'm just sayin

  6. I never did get used to shopping with children. I lived in terror of becoming one of those parents who people scatter away from as she barrels down the aisles shrieking at her children. I never did but the fear of the harpy that lived just below my public image scared me silly. Now days I almost always get to go to the store alone and it's some of my best thinking time.

  7. You should try shopping with 3 preschoolers who like to cart surf.

  8. I'm impressed, Jennifer. I never managed to make it to the grocery store with two young ones in tow; one at a time was my motto/salvation.

  9. I brought Gremlin shopping with me last week, I spent $50.00 more than usual and it took an hour and a half...

    I do miss the baby days - and the idiots that asked if my (blond and brunet, separated by 2.5 years) boys were twins.

  10. When I see a Mom with her kids in tow at the grocery, hearing the whining, I sigh and it's almost all I can do not to break out into a big huge laugh and shout FREEDOM!

    I do not miss those days.

    Especially the exploding diaper just when you're at the very back of the store with a half-full cart. I remember changing one of those on the floor of a cramped and dirty restroom, sweat dripping under my bra line, trying to wipe the shit halfway up the back of the onesie.

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