Saturday, February 13, 2010

Retro Post: The Joys of Shopping with Five Kids

Published July 8, 2006
St. George Spectrum & Daily News

(Author's note: I don't know what miracle made emails from 2006 suddenly available in my hotmail inbox, but there they are.  I have found a few columns I thought I had lost and will be getting them up on the blog this weekend!  Here's one from July 2006 for your reading pleasure.)

People often ask how I come up with ideas for my column every week. My answer is the same each time. I get my ideas from life...from grand events to something as insignificant as a word said in a conversation.

Yesterday, life took me on a shopping trip to the grocery store, five rambunctious kids in tow, so here you have the metaphorical fruit of that trip. (The literal fruit is in the fridge).

Shopping with five kids under the age of ten is... There are so many obvious and obligatory endings to that sentence. Chaos? Pandemonium? Never boring? Good exercise? Grounds for a police action? It's an adventure, anyway.

Let the record show that I have five kids. I planned to have five kids, and I'm happy to have five kids. I wouldn't trade them for the world. I just thought by the time I had five, I'd be rich and famous and have a crack team of personal assistants to do all my shopping for me.

To illustrate: Shopping trips tend to follow the same pattern. I write a menu and a list, getting valuable feedback like, "McDonald's!" and "Candy!" from the kids. I remind everyone to make their last minute trips to the bathroom and we're off.

Once we've reached the parking lot, it's time for a quick going over of the Wilson Family rules of shopping. 1) Stay together. 2) No begging. 3) No whining. 4) No lying down on the floor and refusing to move. 6) No smacking your sister with pilfered fruit from the cart. 7) If you have money for vending machines, you can spend it AFTER we're ALL finished. 8) If you don't have money, you should get a, I don't care that you're only 4.

And then we're off...or more appropriately, THEY'RE off. Two seconds after hearing the vending machine rule, my kids scatter for the vending machines until I haul them back to the cart. We then proceed down the aisles, five little voices begging and whining for this cereal and that fruit snack. At some point, someone is on the the floor, refusing to move. It's not long before a wayward piece of fruit is sailing toward someone's head.

Just when I feel like I'm getting things under control, one of them starts the dance. You know the one. Legs crossed, hopping from one foot to the next, dancing along to the beat of, "Gotta go potteeeeeeeeeee!" And like a rapidly incubating strain of some foreign plague, it spreads until every non diaper wearing Wilson is in an extreme state of bladder distress.

On a good day, we finish in under three hours, I manage to keep all the kids in the same checkout lane, and we get home with everything we've purchased. In the non summer months when the pavement isn't capable of searing my lips right off my face, I kiss the ground in front of my home and praise the Lord above that I have another two weeks before I have to do it again.
That's about the time I realize I forgot to buy the light bulbs.