Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Grocery Shopping as Special Time

Hmmm...kid shopping carts at a liquor store?  Would it drive sales up or down?
(Photo credit:  eelke dekker on Flickr)

I love grocery shopping with Bean.

Yes, I know that most parents think taking their kid grocery shopping is their worst nightmare.  But, provided he is well-rested and fairly freshly-fed, grocery shopping with Bean is kind of a treat for me! 

He usually misses out on my big shopping trip for the week because of the way Saturdays go, but he usually joins me for our weekly trip to the Co-Op.  We go - just the two of us - after dinner while The Beast is home with A-Train, and I look forward to that 1-on-1 time with my firstborn. 

We have little rituals:  he gets one of the little pencils from the bulk section and makes his own "list" on whatever paper I produce from my purse (usually a receipt of some sort); he jabbers on about funny things the entire time; he makes sure that he gets a "treat" - at the Co-Op, it's usually dried mango, but sometimes a honey stick or something completely random he sees.  Occasionally, he has brought his own money (earned through a complicated system of chores and band-aids) and shyly paid for a special treat.

When we do our main grocery trip together, he prefers to ride in one of those carts with a car on the front.  I make sounds of screeching brakes and say things like "Turn left!  Turn right!  Straight ahead to the tomatoes!"  We have a ridiculously playful time and I try to have fun, but not to be so wild and loud that it's obnoxious for other shoppers.  A tough balance, but he is so into being safely in his car/cart that it doesn't tend to be a problem ("I'm not buckled in, yet!  Don't drive away yet!  Ok, my seatbelt is on!  Let's go!").

I love picking out produce with him, and he loves being given the responsibility of choosing which tomatoes, onions, peppers, etc we will bring home.  We talk about the features of the various produce that make them look good or less-than-appealing to eat.

He will keep some items in the car with him, and he loves helping me put things on the conveyor belt.  We chat the whole way home.

Yes, there is asking for random stuff.  On one occasion, we ran a couple extra errands and he had not eaten enough for dinner beforehand so he asked for every food item he saw.  It was obnoxious and I wanted to shank Target when we got to the check-out line and there were candies and foam toys at Bean's eye level.  My frustration was premature, as he pretty easily bypassed everything with a simple "no, you already have your treat" and just a little negotiation.  (And I felt better when I had the time to let him play with one of those toys until he was done, and I didn't have to buy it or endure a tantrum.)

But that same trip, he went armed with a war hammer (pretending to be a Viking), and discussed dominant versus non-dominant hands with me the almost the entire time.  When he insisted on holding my hand (I love when he wants to hold my hand!), he explained to me why he had to hold it with his "weak hand"  (because he had to hold his hammer in his "strong hand," and usually he'd be holding a shield with the other hand).

As we got in the car to head home from our last stop, he puzzled for a moment over how it was that we didn't hold each other's strong hands or each other's weak hands (we are both right-handed).

I just love when I can give him my undivided attention, or when we're working together on a common activity.  Grocery shopping is, surprisingly, a really special time with him.
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