I did it. Today I took a big step toward being a normal mother. I loaded the kids up in the minivan and went grocery shopping with all 3 for the very first time. This is a big deal to me because not only do I have an issue with going places without another adult with me but I have also been afraid of the idea of trying to grocery shop with 3 children in tow. Even thinking about the logistics of having all 3 kids in the store has always caused a large mass of overwhelming confusion to swell in my head. But I am tired of being afraid to go places on my own and I am tired of feeling like I can't do things with my 3 children just because I don't know how to plan.
So I made a plan. I would have Bella in the Baby Bjourn, Aidan in the front of the cart and Angel walking beside me. It was the perfect plan. I could fit all my groceries in the main section of the cart if I got a large-sized one. I made sure I had juice cups and snacks packed in the diaper bag for the kids. I gave them a snack before we left, had Angel visit the potty, then I loaded them up in the van. I know that even in small things God is listening to our prayers for help so I said to Angel "lets say a little prayer for Mommy and this grocery adventure.." As I pulled out of the driveway, I whispered "Lord, please help me on this grocery trip, give me patience with the kids, help them to behave and help me to get through the store quickly. Amen."
"I can do this." I said to the air and took a few deep breaths and by then we were at the store. I parked right near one of the cart returns, also part of my well-thought-out plan. I grabbed a cart, brought it over to the minivan and unbuckled the kids. I put Aidan in the front, just as I had planned. I had Angel hold on to the side of the cart, strapped Bella in the Baby Bjourn and we headed toward the store. But just as I was about to enter the store, I noticed that there was one of those little race-car carts right outside the door and so did the kids. "Mommy...can we ride in that?" (Angel) "Vroom, vroom...caaarr." (Aidan) This was not part of my plan. But I know the kids love to play in the car on the front of the cart and pretend they're driving and I thought maybe this would keep them occupied. So I loaded them into the car cart and put the diaper bag underneath. I had tons of room in the main section even though it was quite a bit smaller than the large-sized carts.
At first, the kids fought and pulled and nagged at each other. Aidan has this horrible screeching squeal he shows off when Angelina bothers him. All eyes in the store were on me. In some of them, I saw pity. Some of the older ladies looked sort of annoyed and some had big sympathetic smiles...Who knows what anyone was really thinking? I don't even look like I'm old enough to have 3 children but there I was, meandering through the fruits and veggies with a 4 month old attached to me and 2 very loud and boisterous children under the age of 4 in the front. I made sure that my wedding ring was noticeable.
After the craziness in the fruit and vegetable section, the kids quieted down some and I found a sample tray set out in the organic groceries section. I gave them each a little cup of cereal and we continued on. At some point, Angelina no longer wanted to ride in the car with her brother so she walked beside me. For the most part, the adventure through the store was uneventful. Angel kept insisting we go home here and there but other than that, we traveled with ease. When it was time to check out Angel helped me unload some of the groceries onto the conveyor belt and they both got lolly pops from the old man who bagged our groceries.
I loaded the kids back into the minivan, got all the groceries in there as well and I returned the cart. As I climbed into my seat, I breathed a heavy sigh of relief and said "I did it." And with sticky root beer-flavored lolly pop spit dribbling from his mouth, Aidan exclaimed from the back seat (in his broken 2 year old language) "Yay, Maaammma, we did it!"