Friday, May 21, 2010

A New Normal: Running Errands

Have you ever noticed that the day after a bad day always seems to go great? Maybe it was just in comparison to our horrendous Monday, but Tuesday of this week was smooth as glass! So I decided to venture out to the grocery store, by myself with both boys, for the second time since Jude's arrival. Such a process!!

I remember feeling very accomplished when I finally started running errands with Jack all by myself. That and the fact that, as we learned when Jack was a babe, we tend to save money when I'm the one throwing items in the cart. Funny that I thought one baby was difficult back then. I just don't know how people do this with several small children! So my original plan was to grocery shop in the evenings, after Jon gets home from work. But since he's the one that gets Jack up and around in the mornings now, and therefore goes into work later, he's coming home later. By the time he gets home from work or the gym, and we finish dinner and dishes, the last thing on my mind is shopping. So after waiting for several days for some grocery motivation, and seeing Jack's face each morning when he realized there were no bananas... well it was time to "just do it."

In the three total times I've taken the boys out on my own so far, I've learned I have to plan ahead. For instance, last week we went to the doctor's office, Target and then my work to introduce Jude to my co-workers. This was a total of 3.5 hours out of the house and overlapped one of Jude's feedings, Jack's lunch and bordered on his nap. And as many mom's know, a car nap can ruin your whole afternoon! So I started planning this trip the night before. I laid out all our clothes, had breakfast ready to go, toys and snacks packed for the car. I even brought the car DVD player so Jack would have something to do if I ended up nursing Jude in the car. All this for 3 stops around town!

Now that I'm a mom I suddenly wish every business had a drive through, including the doctor's office. I had to stop in there to pick up some paperwork, that was it. But of course, I have to get both kids out of the car, and carry one heavy baby-laden car seat on one arm, and hold the hand of one antsy toddler in the other. Now I don't know about other 19-month olds, but mine isn't so good at the hold-Mommy's-hand-and-walk-beside-her bit yet. Sometimes he gets a little curious and wants to see what's around the corner. Other times he'd rather stop and check out a rock in the middle of the road. And, in general, he just doesn't have the coordination to walk with me yet. So, since I was in a hurry, I scooped him up and carried both boys in and out of the clinic. Thankfully those Navy guys are super nice and held doors for the poor lady carrying two babies. I'm sure I looked very desperate.

I probably had that same desperate-mom-who-is-INTENT-on-getting-the-job-done-or-else look on my face the day I decided we HAD to go to the grocery store. Unfortunately, that day it was also raining. I hadn't thought about the store the night before so I didn't have much time to plan ahead. But after several trips to the car, in the rain, I managed to get both kids, diaper bag, re-useable grocery bags, coupons, and beverage to keep Jack occupied... and only got a little wet. We arrived in the parking lot and I was forced to make a quick decision - park as close to the store as possible or as close to the carts as possible. Normally I park next to the carts since it's too much work carrying the boys (and diaper bag, coupons, bags, etc.) into the store without one, and it's illegal to leave your kids in the car, even to grab a cart. Which is a tad crazy, but so are the stories about what happens to people who do. So I try to play it safe and park next to the carts. But since they would be all wet on this particular day we opted to park close to the store.

I hopped in the backseat, stuffed Jude in the Moby wrap, got Jack out of his seat, hung diaper bag and grocery bags over my arm, and grabbed Jack's hand to walk the 30 yards or so to the front door, during which Jack managed to step in every puddle in our path. On our walk in I realized it was Tuesday, Senior Citizen Day. And not that there's anything wrong with that, but Jack loves the Senior Citizens and the Senior Citizens love Jack. So if I ever end up grocery shopping on a Tuesday I know to plan on it taking longer than usual.

Another thing about grocery shopping with two kids. Apparently they don't make carts to accomodate a baby (who can't sit) and a toddler. I've put Jack in the front seat and Jude's entire car seat in the cart at other stores, but that doesn't exactly work when your intention is to fill the cart with groceries. Thus, we employ the Moby wrap. And it works pretty well. The only difficulty is lifting heavy objects, i.e. 32 lb. toddlers, whilst baby is attached to your front. It's not easy holding tank out and away from your body to get him in and out of the cart. But somehow it works, and Jude sleeps through it all anyway.

I try to bring a drink and snack for Jack whenever we go to the grocery store, even if he just ate, because it's nice to keep both his hands and mouth occupied.  I did not have snack on this particular day, which is why there are teeth marks in the yogurt cap, part of a green pepper disappeared, and the pretzels were opened before we got home.  Also it's much better to have him busy feeding himself than sticking his hand out to clear the shelves while you're rolling the cart by and looking the other direction.

We made it through the store and to the checkout lane.  And this time I remembered my wallet. Having Jude strapped to my belly is a lot like being pregnant.  I've nearly mastered the side-bend to get the last few items out of the bottom of the cart.  And it's just as impossible to "suck it in" when it's time to slide the cart by and push it to the end.  Why must they make those check-out lanes so narrow?

Jack is an excellent assistant when unloading the groceries, the challenge is getting him into the house and keeping him there while I'm bringing the bags in from the car.  Usually I open the front balcony door and we play a sort of peek-a-boo game.  "Look, Mom's out at the car ... oh, wait, Mom's inside now."  And he runs back and forth, into the house and back out on the deck, saying "hi" to me each time.  And then it's time to pull everything out of the bags, which he is very helpful with - building towers with the canned goods, running off with the container of cherry tomatoes, etc.

Meanwhile, Jude sleeps, which is what Jude did the entire trip, and what Jude usually does unless it's time to eat.  So I have to wonder, what are errands going to look like when Jude doesn't sleep all the time?  I have a feeling our normal will be changing again in the not-so-distant future...


A said...

Car naps are from the devil!!!

You are making it seem much less scary to have two kids! :)

megan douglass said...

well done, mama! grocery store alone trips are heaven when there are two little ones! i love just edie and i going but when lily and elle were closer in age, i definitely ditched the girls with daddy to head to wegman's paradise! ;-)

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