Shopping with Lil’ J will never be the same

When Lil’ J was an infant, I loved staring at my little blob. Then when she started to sit up and crawl it was fun watching her slowly pick up new tricks. When we’d go out it was always easy to contain her. But now? Now that we’ve hit the toddler years, I’m dealing with a whole ‘nother animal.

Next time we go out I really need to take a picture of how we roll. We roll in a mobil pack n’ play. Or at least, that’s what the woman at the fabric store called it when she saw us. I agree with the brilliant description.

Basically, it’s throwing her some toys, snacks, and water in the main part of the shopping cart and letting Lil’ J entertain herself while I shop around the store.

I used to wear her in my carrier and that worked before she started walking but now she likes to get down. Then I’d put her in the seat part of the shopping cart but that wasn’t busy enough for her. I would use the Walmart limo (you know, the car with the two extra totally open plastic seats for kids to jump off of while you’re driving down the aisles.. Oh, wait… That’s just my daughter?), but I’m too worried moms will two or more kids will give me the stink eye. So I resorted to this. Why? Well, because walking around is destined for doom. If you haven’t read my BabyCenter blog you probably have no idea what I’m talking about.

We were fabric shopping—Well, I was fabric shopping; Little J was tagging along, at a local store when it stuck me. I was in the very predicament I thought I’d never find myself in: Child being entertained by random objects that should be off-limits, and mother in distress.

I’ve found myself in this predicament more often than I’d like recently. Before she started walking it was easy to keep her close at bay in the shopping cart I’m pushing around. But since she recently discovered how to walk along side me, she’d much rather use her own legs. I haven’t resorted to a leash—That’s on the list “HAIL NAHS” I made way back when before I was pregnant. Come to think of it, I wonder how many of those I’ve already done.

18 e1320685563461 Why mothers should never say never

I had a heap of fabric on my shopping cart to get cut, but I wanted to put a roll back I decided I didn’t need.
Lil’ J was right in front of me and the roll just went on the shelf a few feet around the corner.

I made a beeline for the shelf, set the fabric down, and turned back around to grab Lil’ J, who had magically managed to run over to a display of plastic (or were they ceramic?)  fruit, grab the largest one–what looked like a giant pear—and bring it back to show me.

I tried to stay calm and quickly analyze the situation but the look on my face must have said “hey let’s play tag” because she immediately knew I was about to chase her and try to take her new treasure.
She let out a huge giggle, turned and started to run. But two steps in her retreat she dropped the shiny pear—Which was ceramic—And we watched it smash into a dozen little pieces.

Then came another decisive moment. Do I run?—No, of course not, there were probably bystanders watching the whole thing. Yell at her?—No, it was my fault. Pick up the pieces and offer to pay for it—Bingo!

It was humiliating to say the least. I worked in retail years ago and have been shopping enough, witnessing similar situations with other mothers and their children. I swore up and down that would never be me. Yet, here I am. Picking up pieces of an overpriced decoration that costs who knows how much because I was bright enough to take my eyes off her for five seconds (I still should have known because it only took four for her to throw my blackberry in the toilet).

Even though I offered to pay, they told me not to worry about it, and I confined my daughter to the shopping cart for the remainder of our trip. My guilt lead me to spend a little more than I ordinarily would have, and I even signed up for their rewards program. Hankock Fabrics has my business for life.

I’ve only been a mom for 17 months but I’m learning quickly. One thing I know for sure: Never say never, and don’t roll your eyes at that poor mother trying to do her best, because in another year, that could be you.

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  1. HAHA, my kids are 10, 5 and 4 and they still do things like that. As a matter of fact we were just out shopping for an angel we adopted for Christmas and my 10 year old picks up this “awesome” T-Pain mic… well he dropped it and it all fell apart. All I could do was give him the evil eye, tell him to pick up the pieces and put it back in the box… Needless to say it wasn’t broken and I didn’t have to buy it but I did have to tell them to go be with daddy the rest of the shopping trip. He isn’t more strict, his blood pressure just doesn’t go up as quickly as mines does, LOL!

  2. My husband is anti-leash, and I really don’t care. I know too many kids that really need that space to walk, but also need that string to keep them from getting into trouble. I’ve had to use a leash with a little boy I babysat for. Not because he was trouble, but because he would just wander off. Without the leash, I would have lost him. And my son… well, boys are a whole other ball game. I thought my daughter was bad… I’ve been proven wrong. I’m pretty sure after a few more trips to the store of just my husband and my son, my husband may change his mind about the leash.
    I’ve been where you are, and I’m currently experiencing it all over again, and in a year or 2 I’ll be going through it all over again. All I can say is “Good Luck” and do whatever works for you and your child, because every child responds differently, and since you’re the mom, you’d know more about her then I would!

  3. I heard something about a mom using a purse leash instead of actually putting a leash on her child. You could make a cute 2-3 ft “leash” that attaches to your purse (or the cart or whatever)and if she wants to walk instead of being in the cart, she has to hold onto it at all times. It sounds like a good idea (or at least in theory!)When we were little (us first three kids were all born within 2 years of each other), my mom had the rule that if we were walking we had to hold onto the cart or her purse. My older sister was allowed to walk in front of the cart, but if we stopped or something she had to hold the cart also. It sounds a little overboard, but with a 5,3, and 1 year old, she didn’t have many options!

  4. That is totally going to happen to me… but I’m sure the little one will take down the whole display on my watch. 🙂 When we were little my baby sister actually shop-lifted a candy bar (she was maybe 2..) We didn’t notice until my mom was buckling her into her carseat. Needless to say my mom had to unbuckle us both and go back into the store to pay for it. I still remember it. (I was 6)

  5. I have 4 kids 8, 5, 2,and 1 ( 14 months to be exact). Shopping has gone from a fun relaxing experience to pure HELL! I refuse to be one of those people who are “afraid” to take their children anywhere so they become recluses for however many years till they think its safe to emerge. Im a firm beleiver in kids dont hinder parts of your life … u just have a bigger challenge… but i tell u what here lately i find myself thinking “how bad do i REAAAALLY need that item?” before loading everyone up. My children are disciplined we r actually very strict however the minute we get in the car it never fails all manners and hearing have been left in the house :/ The 8 year old is constantly trying to dance off or getting distracted by something she likes, the 5 year old looses all focus and is aggrivating his big sister or attempting to hide from me. my 2 year old thinks she MUST walk and rearrange the ENTIRE store as she goes and if u try to put her in the basket she literally will bail over the side and my 1 year old who thankfully is just learning to walk so he doesnt think hes totally independent, even strapped into a basket can manuver himself to standing which gives me a heart attack every time. This past weekend all 4 kids in tow i was at Kohls which our kohls here doewsnt have but maybe 3 child friendly basckets per 200 customers which 100 of them have KIDS! so i know to bring a stroller but i was at wits end ready to leave 3 of my run amuck children under the christmas trees when on multiple occasions an older lady would look at me and smile with that sweet knowing smile and say mom your doing a great job… it will get better. (deep sigh… lets fight back a few tears) ” thank you SO much for those words of reassurance” as Im racing off again to locate my ducklings. I promise you we all feel your pain and your right never say never.. desprite times call for desprite and most of all GOOD LUCK!

  6. Oh the squeal and run, lol, I remember that with my 2 boy sand I have one more who will be there in about a year. Sometimes its funny, sometimes you just want to get them and leave the store and NEVER EVER come back because you are so embarrassed! It gets better. I’ve just learned that a crying baby in the cart was better than the running baby in the store.

  7. Oh my word, I’m so sorry! Emma hasn’t broken anything yet but I’m sure it’s just luck. But then… I did the evil leash thing, too. 😉 I don’t mind being thought a horrible mother as long as I have the security of knowing my daughter isn’t going to make a dash for anything dangerous. Kids are FAST! You really can’t take your eyes off them for a second. *sigh*

    I had a very old lady at church tell me once that when she was a kid her mom hooked her up to a dog run to keep her safe, LOL. Now that is scary…

  8. This had me rolling! My daughter is just a couple months older than yours and fortunately for me, she begs to be put into the shipping cart, but in narrow store aisles I can’t keep her from thinking the whole store belongs to her, and those long arms snatch up all sorts of things. I swear she has more than two. What you say is so true! I thought I knew how to parent before I became a parent and now I realize that one critical element was missing to that logic: the KID. So now when I look at moms struggling with their kids I laugh and smile because I know we’re in the same boat – just trying to keep our kids alive, teach them a thing or two, and maintain our sanity all at the same time.

  9. I’ve eaten a plate full of “a child of mine will nevers” (you know, that saying before you have kids that begin with, “A child of mine will never do”… fill in the rest.) I’m still learning the parent business and just when I’m just about to perfect it, she’ll be 18 and off to college!

  10. I can completely identify with this! DH likes to let our 16 month free but I keep her restrained unless there a seat so I can sit down to nurse her and calm her down. Otherwise her goal is ultimate destruction of anything around her. I just stay calm and keep my voice down. I can’t stand to see parents yell after their kids.

  11. Definitely NOT just your kid. Mide is hell-on-wheels. He’s almost 2 and I am just now confident enough to take him in public by myself. Even then, sometimes- I still regret it! Yelp.

  12. My daughter likes to twist around and try to get out if she’s buckled into the proper part of the cart.

    How do you shop if you have a lot of stuff to buy? I couldn’t possibly throw V in the main cart because I need someplace to put my stuff! Do you two cart it? I saw a lady at Costco a while back with four kids spread over two carts. She looked pretty harried. That’ll probably be me in a few years. >.<

  13. I can say NEVER to this. When we go in stores, if there are baskets, and there usually are, she sits her tail in it. I’m not chasing her around any stores period! She’s so used to it she request to sit in baskets in the store.

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