i never had a clue...

>> Wednesday, January 13, 2010

...how ridiculously difficult it is to go shopping with a little baby.

Several days ago (before this nonsense cold snap arrived that's been blowing across the South), I went shopping.

I intended to go early so I could get stuff done around the house afterward.

Nice fantasy.

Little Man eats at 6 AM. After he's squared away, I grab some breakfast, throw in a load of laundry, shower, dress and fix my face - in between soothing him and putting him down for a nap. By the time I'm ready to leave, it's 10 AM and he needs to eat again. Warm a bottle of Mommy's milk.

He's a slow eater, so that took until 11. Then a diaper change, dress him in day clothes, and pack a diaper bag. Take 10 minutes at the breast pump. Dismiss sci-fi-style mental images of living in a warehouse filled with human women lined up at milking machines like so many dairy cows.

By now it's nearing noon. I'm hungry for lunch, so I grab a piece of fruit and then load the car.

But then Little Man fills his diaper. Run upstairs to change him quickly before leaving.

Pause at the laundry room to toss the wash into the dryer.

12:30 PM
Drive 30 minutes to find the stores I need in this new town. Get completely turned around. Find myself on the wrong freeway and try to GPS myself back on track without endangering myself and the baby.

Baby falls asleep in the car.

Arrive at the stores. Find a cart. Haul monster munchkin (he's super heavy) out of the backseat. Accidentally bump the side of the car, jarring and waking him.

Walk lopsided to compensate for heavy baby (WHY DID I TRY TO LOOK CUTE AND WEAR HIGH HEELS?) into store and grab teeny tiny undersized shopping cart. Baby seat doesn't fit properly into the front, so Little Man is practically standing up because it tilts so far forward.

Push cart with screaming baby around store. Try soothing him with one hand while steering the cart (WHY DO I ALWAYS GET THE CART WITH THE BAD WHEEL??!?!??) with the other.

Scan merchandise with my eyes, since both hands are busy. Find a dress to try on and maneuver cart and baby and dress and purse into fitting room area. Strip. Dress fits - yay! So what if it's two sizes bigger than I'd have worn this time last year.  

Will not dwell on unprofitable trains of thought such as weight and size.

Little Man is now expressing distress at a decibel level guaranteed to be ticking off every other woman in the fitting rooms. Decide to nurse him in the fitting room - I'm already undressed anyway!

Little Man fills diaper again.

Change him on the narrow bench in the fitting room. Try to let him touch as little of the surrounding area as possible. Give up trying.

3:00 PM
Little Man falls contentedly asleep in his carseat as I push the cart to find the rest of the things I need. Go through checkout. Psyche myself up to get everything out to the car without waking baby.

Store doesn't have automatic doors, so I load up the cart and shove the door open with my butt. Fail to notice that the cart has a tall pole on it to prevent removal from the store, and so yank with all my strength to pull heavy cart through non-automatic door.

BAM!! I succeed only in ramming tall cart-pole into top of door, again jarring Little Man out of a sound sleep. Just fabulous.

Three judgmental heads swivel my way as every cashier hears the ramming sound. "Lady, you cain't take them carts out inta tha parkin' lot!"

You don't say.

So ummm, how exactly am I supposed to lug my purse, a 14-pound baby in a 10-pound car seat, and all my shopping bags out to my car? HUH?

I will never come back here again. I will never come back here again. It's a mantra in my head. Over and over and over, like a clacking train.

But I know I will come back here again. It's ROSS, after all. And it's right beside Marshall's and TJ Maxx. I will definitely be here again. Whether I LIKE IT OR NOT!

My feet are aching. My back is killing me. All I want to do is curl up in a fetal position and trade places with my kid who was moments ago sleeping innocently in his car seat.

But instead I leave my purchases with a (slightly) sympathetic cashier, haul Little Man out to the car,  drive to the curb to load the rest. And try not to get lost on the way home.

I think I might run a hot bath when I get back.

By the time we arrive, it's almost 5 PM. I take Little Man inside out of the cold and go back for all the loot. If I hurry I can check my Facebook before he needs to eat. 

But no. Two very nice young Mormon missionaries pick RIGHT NOW to talk to me. They shake my hand and introduce themselves. "I'm Elder blah blah blah..." I see their spiffy name tags and all I can think is Elder? You're kidding. I'm almost twice as old as you, and I'M NOT THAT OLD! They ask if I've ever met missionaries before.

I tell them that I worked my way through college doing exactly what they're doing. So yes, I know all about it. Be nice, they don't know what kind of day you've had.

"Could we come back after the holidays and visit with your family?"

Right now I need to nurse so badly I'll agree to almost anything. "Tell you what, my husband is a Seventh-day Adventist minister. You wanna visit? Feel free to come back and meet with him any time. Now I've got a 9-week old baby inside that needs to eat, so it was nice to meet you!" I lug the last bags inside.

Once everything is unloaded I have about 5 minutes to spare before Little Man is starving and thinks his world is going to end immediately. Despite feeling like my milk machine is going to hit my chin, I warm a bottle, because it's faster.

Then another urgent diaper change. Then 15 minutes at the breast pump. I am not a dairy cow. I am not a dairy cow.

Grab a bite of supper. Say two quick words to the Hubby. Sort through the shopping bags in a rush.

7:00 PM
Bath time for Little Man. Knees yell at me for crouching beside the bathtub on tile floor.

7:30 PM
Little Man is in pj's. And he's hungry again. This child could drink me out of house and home. I jiggle the bottle in his mouth because he keeps nodding off. Sleepy wide eyes drop closed, heavy and slow.

8:30 PM
Little Man is down for the count. I need to put him down but he smells so sweet and feels snuggly in my arms, so I sit there rocking him in the dark for a few minutes more. I wonder what it must like to exist in such total trust and innocence.

9 PM
Change into pj's. Another 10 minutes at the breast pump. I am sooooo totally a human dairy cow.

Fall into bed. 5:30 AM is hurtling toward me already.

Oh crud. The clothes are still in the dryer. Sigh. So much for getting lots done around the house after going shopping.

Maybe tomorrow I can manage to get them out and fold them. That'll be my goal for the day. If I can get that done, I will have accomplished much.


© Sarah K. Asaftei, 2009 unless otherwise sourced. Use allowed by express written permission only.


Jennifer Olson Bouz January 13, 2010 at 11:11 AM  

Ok so sorry but this made me laugh....the whole "trying to take the cart out of the ROSS store"....I have been there done that!! and the most frustrating part is when the 4 cashiers are all like, "you can't take that out of the store!! " Like DUH we can't figure that out now!! and you're right...I went back to because after all it's ROSS!!!

Libby,  January 13, 2010 at 11:37 AM  

LOL! so...REAL! :) And yes, I'd be steaming and mumbling about the smart cashiers @ Ross...but I'd be back too...eventually...when I cooled down. :)

Lisa Allen Jenkins January 13, 2010 at 2:17 PM  

LOL! Hilarious! Been there, done that! Even more fun with a toddler running around and trying to escape under the door of the dressing room while you nurse!

Anna Marie Davis,  January 13, 2010 at 2:18 PM  

Sarah....too funny....been there, done that!!!! Welcome again, to motherhood. Seasoned mothers like me smile when we hear stories like that because (1) we can relate, and (2) it kind of gives us some sick thrill that someone else has felt our pain. You are officially welcomed into the "I think I have lost my mind motherhood society." It is a great society to belong to! cherish each and every memory. At least you can laugh about it and make others laugh also.

Crissy Sturgess Williams,  January 13, 2010 at 2:18 PM  

Baby carriers don't work so well for trying on clothes, but for the average grocery shopping trip, I've found them to be invaluable. Only as heavy as the baby is...so definitely lighter than a baby and car seat. Always in motion anyway...so if baby decides to sleep, he is used to my constant movements and isn't wakened by them.

Sarah Graw,  January 13, 2010 at 2:19 PM  

haha! try shopping with 2 or 3!

Yvonne Eller,  January 13, 2010 at 2:19 PM  

This is so cute and typical! Life definitely changes with a "little man" in the picture! But, it does get easier when they get bigger!

Bunsy February 12, 2010 at 3:08 PM  

Makes me laugh. I'm impressed how you manage to pump and still remain positive. I pump and while I do, I count the days until I plan on decreasing a pumping session. I too feel like a cow. A large cow.

Sarah March 24, 2010 at 7:03 PM  

i had to re-read this. it was so delightfully funny and true. lol. the funny thing is-i did this same exact thing at Ross with my two kids and bags of clothes, etc... and got the same response by the cashiers. I was so embaressed! I wondered why they didn't even offer to hold the door for me! I obviously had a child who couldn't yet walk in one arm, a small toddler by the hand and three bags of stuff and car keys and purse somewhere in the middle-c'mon! I was fuming mad and humiliated by the time I got to the car. so, yeah... gotcha!

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