Recipe for Grocery Shopping

July 16, 2010 in Chores, Motherhood, Sleeping - 8 Comments
Follow these 30 simple steps for successful grocery shopping with a toddler and a baby.

1 determined toddler
1 awake baby
1 hour of time
1 grocery list
1 sippy cup with ice cold water
2 pairs of shoes
1 car cart
1 blue balloon
1 chicken hat
42 unwashed grapes
1 or 2 chocolate indulgences
1 heaping tablespoon of patience
1 credit card
1 package of Smarties

Fill a sippy cup with ice cold water for the toddler. Make sure diapers are dry. Put on shoes. Grab grocery list and purse. Buckle the toddler and the baby into their carseats.

2. Drive 7 minutes to your favorite grocery store even though there are 4 closer grocery stores. Decide that the customer satisfaction is worth the extra distance, even if the stores that shall remain nameless are closer.
3. Count with the toddler how many LDS church buildings you pass on your drive. Forget all about the road construction on your way and take the detour through a neighborhood. Count eight church buildings in total.
4. Pull into the parking lot and contemplate parking in the vacant “Expectant Mother” spot even though you are not expecting. Think, ‘Lugging around this beast of a carseat is way heavier than a baby in a tummy.’ Allow your conscience to get the better of you and choose a more distant parking spot.
5. Unlatch the baby’s carseat and unbuckle the toddler. Swing purse over shoulder. Walk into the store with the carseat resting on your left forearm and your toddler holding your right hand.
6. Thoroughly disinfect the “car” shopping cart with provided wipes before inserting children.
7. Dissuade the toddler from the 25 cent candy machines. Insert the toddler into the “driver” seat and balance the baby’s carseat sideways on the shopping cart.
8. Stop at guest services and obtain a free blue balloon. Watch the toddler’s face light up when the clerk asks him if he would like a chicken hat too.
9. Wish you hadn’t left your good camera at home as you try to capture the moment with your grainy point-and-shoot. Also wish you hadn’t let the toddler pick out his own clothing today now that you are capturing this experience. Think, ‘oh well.’

10. Maneuver the huge shopping cart with squeaking wheels to the produce section. Obey the toddler’s request to have “purple grapes.” Allow the toddler to snack on the grapes throughout the store. Think, ‘well, the cart was disinfected from top to bottom, but the dirt on the grapes?‘ Decide that you don’t care.
11. Check off items on the grocery list one by one as you place them in the cart. Allow the toddler to scribble on your list.

12. Return to the baking aisle three times because you forgot the olive oil, then the Crisco, then the chocolate chips.
13. Accidentally bump into another shopping cart as you make a wide left turn into the frozen foods section.
14. Pause to speak in a dramatic high pitched voice to the baby. Admire his huge gummy smiles. Ignore the toddler who is begging to go the check out lane for candy.

15. Compare brands of cleaning supplies while calmly reasoning with the toddler. Mentally prepare for next week’s deep cleaning projects.
16. Finish checking off every item on your list and sneak one or two chocolate indulgences into your cart when the toddler is distracted.
17. Proceed to the checkout lane. Cringe when the toddler shouts out, “I NEEEEEEEED Smarties.” Redirect him to rephrase his sentence. Approve when the toddler asks the clerk, “May I have some Smarties please?” Remind him to say “thank you” as he rips open the package he has come to expect.

18. Choose plastic bagging when given the choice between paper or plastic. Think once again about investing in the reusable bags. Decide against it due to lack of time.
19. Present credit card to clerk. Become annoyed when the bagger moves to another aisle leaving you to tuck all of the bags under the baby’s carseat into your cart. Feel a little perturbed that no one offers to help you to your car because that is one of the main reasons you drive a little further to come to this grocery store.
20. Walk out to your car in the sweltering heat. Forget to pick up the bag of ice that you paid for. Really wish you had just parked in the “Expectant Mother” spot since it is still vacant. Head back into the store, obtain a small bag of ice from the freezer, and return to the car. Think about getting your ice maker (that has been broken for two years) repaired since you always forget to pick up ice.
21. Debate which child to take out of the blazing sun and put into the scorching car first. Choose the baby since the sun is in his eyes. Buckle in the toddler and help him get the last two Smarties out of the package that he has been devouring.

22. Leave the car doors open as you quickly unload the grocery bags into the trunk. Send the empty car cart flying across the parking lot with perfect aim into the cart corral. Crank up the air conditioning and remember to take a different route home to avoid the construction.
23. Worry that the baby may be drifting to sleep which means that he might not take a good nap at home. Crack open his window to allow the fresh air to keep him awake.
24. Watch the blue balloon fly out the cracked open window. Regret not thinking that action through when the toddlers wells up with tears. Arrive at home to discover that the baby has fallen asleep anyway.

25. Become impatient when the OCD toddler points out that you forgot to roll the window up. Insert keys back into the ignition, press the button that automatically rolls up the window, and unload both children from the car.
26. Decide not to argue when the toddler insists on walking up the front stairway and ringing the doorbell instead of coming in with us through the garage. Pray that the noise of the doorbell won’t wake the baby up.
27. Carefully transfer the baby to his crib. Watch him instantly stick his thumb in his mouth and tiptoe out of his room. Become disrupted by the toddler who insists that you “sing a song!” Try to explain that the ritual is unnecessary when the baby is already asleep.
28. Bring the bags of groceries from the trunk into the kitchen. Quickly sort through the bags to find the items that need to be refrigerated. Incorporate multi-tasking to make lunch for the toddler who is also pressing into naptime. Hear the baby stirring upstairs due to an unsucessful transferring endeavor.
29. Pause and indulge in your favorite summer beverage, gearing up for the inevitable stalling tactics that the toddler will finagle to avoid naptime.

30. Remember the days when grocery shopping was as simple as quickly going in and out of the store. Feel joy that you are not alone in this endeavor anymore, even if it adds 28 more steps to the process.


  • Yukiko July 17, 2010 at 2:01 am

    You crack me up! I miss your little family. I've so been through this, too. I recently watched my friends' girls (she's got 3) so she could go to Costco without going insane. I thought, "What a brilliant idea!" I will be employing that tactic as well.

  • Lant Family July 17, 2010 at 2:30 am

    sounds familiar ๐Ÿ™‚ I grocery shop with JJ as much as possible . Then I can run up and down the isle and he pushes the big shopping cart. I also love that our grocery store here gives free cookies at the bakery to children. What a lifesaver!!

  • Linz July 17, 2010 at 7:01 am

    Oh my gosh. SOOOOOOO funny! I loved this!!!

  • Liz July 17, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    Hmm…my mystery is solved why I procrastinate going grocery shopping all the time:) Although, I will say that I went last week with both the boys and it went MUCH better than it has for a very LONG time!

  • Julie July 17, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    I'm laughing with you, not at you. Been there, but you were the toddler begging for the candy at the check out. I'm so sorry Blake lost his balloon, I'm sure you'll be hearing about that for awhile!

  • Jamie July 17, 2010 at 8:13 pm

    i enjoyed reading this ๐Ÿ™‚ thanks!! the realities of being a mom, isn't it the best?!?

  • Kristen July 18, 2010 at 4:26 am

    That was great! I'm going to guess that the balloon incident was Blake's sad thing for the day? ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Steph H September 13, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    I love everything about this! I love you. You've got such a great sense of humor. Also, I had no idea I've been so behind on your blog! I've been catching up for the last two days. So fun.

    P.S. Now you've got me really curious about where you grocery shop??

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