Tuesday, June 26, 2012

June 26 Photo: Where You Shop

Going shopping with two little ones is a challenge, so I tend to limit my shopping these days to only that shopping which is absolutely necessary – in other words, Costco, the grocery store, and an occasional CVS run. The main difficulty in shopping with two small children is that your average shopping cart was not designed for a tall almost-toddler and an even taller preschooler who has exceeded the printed weight limit on the cart for nearly a year now. Even the Costco carts, which are designed for two children, are a little too small and a lot too close together for my two. (Remember fighting with your sibling in the back seat of your huge 1970s station wagon? Yeah, imagine that scenario in a Smart Car and you’ll have the general idea.) But we need to eat, so at least once a week or so I brace myself, bundle them into the car, and brave the wild world of the grocery store.

My daughter gets to ride in the cart. She spends most of her time kicking off her shoes, licking the handle of the cart, and twisting herself around to flirt with other shoppers. My son gets to “help” push the cart. He spends most of his time holding the cart back when I’m trying to push it, pushing it when I’m trying to stop it, and grabbing random items off the shelf and slipping them into the cart when I’m not looking. (Fortunately, he has yet to learn to drop things in the cart gently so the telltale clunk usually warns me to check my cart contents.)

There are an awful lot of benefits to going shopping with my kids, though. Because of them, people often strike up conversations with me: grandmotherly types who tell me about their grandchildren, fellow moms who ask questions or give advice about whatever phase my kids are in, store employees who offer them cheese or cookies or a chance to pet a lobster. But my favorite part of shopping with my kids is just watching people’s reactions to them. Many times I see a fellow shopper coming down the aisle toward me looking tired or grumpy or frustrated, but when they see my daughter grinning at them or singing happily to herself, or hear my son’s running commentary about the various foods he likes to eat, they break out a smile themselves, and as they pass by I see their step become a bit lighter, their posture become a bit straighter, their whole attitude become a bit cheerier.

Where I shop. It’s also where I sometimes get to make the world a slightly happier place for people, even if only for a moment. And that’s something you can’t buy no matter where you shop.

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