I have a confession to make: My son is nearly five months old and Iâ€™ve never been in a public place alone with him. I know, crazy, right? Truth be told, the whole endeavor freaks me out, because the thing is this: itâ€™s not just me and my adorable cherub adventuring the world together. Thereâ€™s the car seat, the stroller, the diaper bag, my purse, oh, and the simple fact that Iâ€™m out in the world, so if my baby does anything but smile and coo, my heart will race, and I’ll wish to be teleported out of the store. Oh, thatâ€™s just me then? Okay, cool.
But, hereâ€™s the thing: I am a fan of the world (most days). I love to do things, I live in a very family-friendly town, and I also, you know, have to keep a house going. I canâ€™t just leave the baby propped up in his Boppy pillow watching Bob the Builder and peace out to go pick up chicken…so, I have to put on my big girl boots, and brave the world. Whatâ€™s the worst that could happen? He could cry? I can always leave. He could poop? I can always change him at the store, or at home in a few minutes. He could be totally great and entice me to always take him out shopping, thus spending our measly fortune at Target? Now that, thatâ€™s the real problem.
The other thing is this: I love to cook. Food, to me, is love, and I love to demonstrate my love with food. How have I survived doing all of this cooking without once going to the grocery store with babe? The beautiful delivery service that is Peapod. I can shop with my thumb, on my iPhone, while feeding the baby. Now, that, my friends, is magic. But, sometimes I forget things. I decide spur of the moment to make something else for dinner and I need ingredients. Well, Iâ€™m in luck because I live about two minutes from a grocery store. Iâ€™m not in luck because so far my anxiety has gotten the greater of me.
The Rookie Moms challenge I most closely identified with this week was Challenge #5: Go to the grocery store for just one thing. Why just one thing? Well, this first visit is like a test run–you need to know you can do it–for when you actually need to go! Perfect, I thought to myself, not only do I want to do this, but I need to do this. We donâ€™t grow into experienced moms from rookie moms by sitting at home and watching Parenthood, right?
No. We have to get out into the world, baby by our side.
So, after school, I picked Weston up from my motherâ€™s house (I am a teacher). When we got to the market, I got the giant stroller from the back of the car. I struggled with the seat position for way too long, and Weston began to fuss. I strapped him in, and we sped off. Once we got into the store I decided on my â€œone itemâ€: I needed shampoo. We strolled to the beauty aisle, picked up the shampoo, and I put it in the stroller with him, and his blue blanket. He was so wonderfully behaved, I figured, â€œTo heck with the â€˜one itemâ€™ in the challenge title, letâ€™s keep going!â€
Bad idea. (If the Rookie Moms give you a challenge, stick to it!)
I made the quick decision to make hamburgers for dinner, so we rounded up buns, tomatoes, and pickles. I threw in a Rice Chex for the husband/daddy, and a gluten-free fettuccine. People were very kind to us, and kept smiling at him. Weston was entranced by his toy and the straps on his stroller. I had a good stride — and felt like a real mom!
I decided to do the self-checkout, since there was no line. I was relieved; Weston was so well-behaved while we were inside! Outside, he started to fuss a little, so I put him in the car, disassembled the stroller and threw it, with the blanket still inside the seat, into the trunk. When I got home, he was crying, so I quickly unlocked the front door, stuck him in his Jumperoo, and ran back to get the things from the car.
Groceries: check. Diaper bag: check. I went to grab his blue blankie, and guess what was under it? The shampoo! The one thing I went to go buy, I totally didnâ€™t pay for. Oops! He must have kicked it under his blanket in the store and I was just a little too anxious and frazzled to see.
I threw my head back and laughed out loud. Ultimately, I left the shampoo bottle in my car to bring back and pay for next time; but really, is there anything else to do but laugh in a moment like that? Lesson learned: if youâ€™re going to use the stroller as a shopping cart: check all parts and under blankets before you check out!
The Bottom Line
Overall, it wasnâ€™t really too bad. The hardest part is getting in and out of the car; otherwise, Westonâ€™s getting really good at being in stores, and I donâ€™t mind making silly voices and goofy faces to keep him entertained while shopping. This was a fantastic challenge because it did get me to do something sooner that, letâ€™s face it, I probably would have put off until he was twelve.
What did I learn? Itâ€™s not only Weston who has to learn to behave in stores; apparently, itâ€™s his mama too!
Addendum: Upon going to make the hamburgers, I discovered we had no ground beef. Repeat: throw head back and laugh. Itâ€™s the only thing to do!