I have nothing to say today, but I felt the urge to write, so here I am, attempting to get something meaningful written when there is, in fact, very little meaning in what I am doing today. It's errand day, which means as soon as my kids get up from their mommy-imposed naptimes ("You HAVE to sleep today. Whacking your sister is a sign of fatigue, and if you don't take a nap, you'll keep picking on her, and by 5 p.m. you'll be in bed anyway so I don't tie your hands behind your back permanently. So TAKE A NAP!!!") we're off to town.
The other reason I'm making them nap is that I hate grocery shopping with the kids. I love my kids and I love doing things with them, but grocery shopping is what I truly think Hell must be like. Dante clearly didn't have kids or he'd have set Hell up more like this:
Level 1: This level, being the nearest to goodness and light and an escape to Purgatory (Purgatory now being the inside of a minivan in 100+ degree June-in-Oklahoma weather) instead of sheer Hell, is reserved for the moment when you walk into the grocery store with your list and the kids are promising to behave so you'll buy them something at the checkout register. And you have your list in hand and are promising to follow it and not spend an extra $30 on something your gut doesn't need, especially since you stepped on the scales that morning and realized that since January, you've gained nearly 10 pounds and most of it is probably attached to said gut. Not that this has happened to me... today.
Level 2: Produce aisle. What IS it about kids and the produce aisle that makes them want to touch EVERYTHING??? Maybe it's the lighting. Or the fact that the produce aisle has black square tile patterns that encourage jumping (don't fall into the alligator pit! What alligator pit? The white squares are alligator pits! MOM, you're dead! Oh, look, apples....) OK, so maybe it's just my kids, but my kids want to buy everything in the produce aisle. MOM, can we have squash?? MOM, look, cherries that are on sale for $143 a pound!! MOM, I found bean sprouts? Can we have some? It makes me mildly proud of them that they love the produce aisle so much, and I really do tend to indulge them because what mom in her right mind doesn't love it when her kids are begging for bean sprouts?? Never mind that there isn't a single recipe on the menu that could possibly use bean sprouts and that by next week, they WILL have gone bad in the crisper. They asked for vegetables!
By the end of the produce aisle, though, my Achiles tendon hurts from being run into multiple times by kids who can't pay attention because of the alligator pit... which means the alligator pit thing has well and truly worn out its welcome and I take over pushing the cart. Just in time for:
Level 3: The meat and dairy aisle. The instant we walk past the first thing in a box that contains more sodium than the salt shaker on my dining room table, the kids start in: "Mom? I'm cold. Do we have lots of stuff to get from this aisle? I'm cold." Seriously?? Didn't I TELL you to stay out of the mist by the Brussels sprouts?? Of course you're cold! But we need to get bacon and cheese.
Cue the rush for the cheese.
Now, again, it might just be my kids, but cheese sticks seem to be a food group. And since I'm a bit green and crunchy around the edges, I like organic cheese. Which means I usually buy blocks and cut my own cheese sticks. But the kids still feel the need to beg and bicker over which kinds of cheese we should get. Which means I usually buy two kinds just to shut 'em up. And then they whine that they're cold again and I feel my nerves starting to fray.
Usually at some point in this aisle I have to stop moving and wait on the children to start to actually freeze before I'm able to move again because they're picking on each other something fierce and I refuse to move till they are willing to pretend to behave again. And we're not even to the back corner of the store yet!
Which brings me to:
Level 4: The bread aisle, known to my kids as the cracker and snack aisle.
This is where all forms of discipline start to break down. I don't go down this aisle every week, especially now that I've started making my own tortillas (which I'll have to share with you at some point because they are whole wheat and don't contain lard!), but when I need English muffins for Oz or bagels for the kiddos for breakfast, it's a necessary evil. And makes the kids say things like, "Mom, how come we can't have the giant package of Oreos that would add another 10 pounds to your waist?"
OK, so they don't talk about my wub. It's a rule. They sometimes poke it and watch it jiggle like freshly-set Jell-O, but they don't talk about it. They do, however, beg for Oreos. And every other cookie they see. Which sometimes causes me to buy them Goldfish because it's at the end of the aisle. SOMETIMES. If I'm not homicidal yet.
Level 5: Canned goods. No question... I'm always homicidal by this aisle. My level of anxiety goes up about five notches just walking into the aisle because M1 has a condition called Flailing Limbs and M2 has a giggle that often triggers Flailing Limbs right about the time we hit the tomatoes. Which means I have to try to put one kid on one side of the cart and the other kid on the other which then triggers a reflexive response in the children called Gang Up on Mommy where they giggle maniacally while trying to touch each other from opposite sides of the cart.
See my note about Flailing Limbs and its trigger. I'll be glad when I can buzz right by the tomatoes because I've canned enough at home to reach till next summer.
Canning is more than just survival of the Apocalypse. It's Survival of the Grocery Store.
Level 6: The cereal aisle. For all the kids can agree on the same vegetables, they cannot agree on a cereal to save their lives. As an interesting social experiment, I may one day start in this aisle and do the produce aisle last just to see if there's any difference in going down this aisle at a different point in the routine. I suspect it won't matter. I think all the sugar in the air of the cereal aisle causes a chain reaction where kids automatically start bouncing. Literally.
This is where I start wondering why grocery stores don't offer Kid Cages. I'd happily put my kids in lockers for a couple of bucks. As long as they're able to see a television, they won't mind. I promise!
Level 7: The baking aisle. Again with the sugar. The kids smell defeat by this point and know that Mommy's weakness is dessert. Carbs are my consolation and crutch. They are the reason my wub doesn't shrink. So you see that box of brownie mix in my pantry that I swore I'd never buy again because I can *make* brownies from scratch and don't need a mix? Yeah, that's a result of Hell finally winning. My nerves AND soul are in shreds by the time the baking aisle comes. Might as well give up and claim defeat.
Level 8: Frozen foods. Repeat the baking aisle process with frozen dinners, frozen pizza, frozen pierogies, and frozen desserts. Oz benefits the most from this. He just doesn't know it is because at the 8th level of Hell, my blood is boiling over so much that I have to buy something frozen to keep me from exploding all over the flowers that are delicately set on pedestals near the frozen foods. Flailing Limbs is still in effect.
And, finally, the last circle of Hell on Earth, otherwise known as Grocery Shopping with Kids: Checkout. They're done. I'm done. And the cashier, who is most likely the Devil in disguise, has the gall to ask me how I'm doing and then chat cheerfully to the sacker while taking her sweet time running up my ungodly total.
Must. Curb. Homicidal Rage.
Oh, look. The kids are up and so's my blood pressure!
I'm off to run errands. If anyone hears of some kids who were "accidentally" left in the dairy section of the supermarket today, I'll deny it was ever me.