So it’s not news that I do the grocery shopping. In one of my personal favorites here, A Day with Dad, I discussed some of the strange looks I receive for being “brave” enough to take my kids with me shopping. I do not take my kids with me to the grocery store because I am a stay-at-home dad. I take them because I am legally obligated to watch them, and I have always done the grocery shopping.
I have seen parents whose kids have lost it while shopping, and I sympathize. So far, I have avoided it. The important thing to do if/when it happens is to remain calm. I fully intend on issuing a timeout right then and there in the produce section. Sure, there will be some screaming and some looks, but we all have to make choices.
I imagine it will feel like being on a plane with a fussy child. Everyone is looking and wondering what I will do next, and no one is afraid to show his or her frustration. Let me be very clear about this situation. No one — and I mean NO ONE — is going to be more frustrated than me. The sound of them crying is genetically engineered to bother me in particular. Like I said, remain calm. This will all be over in a moment.
The closest we came was when Glenn wanted to ride in the cart that has the car in the front. It is a bulgier cart with less cart space for actual food, because a pretend car in the front is using it up.
“Why can’t we use that Cart….I waaaant tooo.”
“Glenn, this is not a playground. This is a grocery store, and we are not here to play games. We are here because you drink more milk than a single cow produces in his lifetime.”
“Glenn, we have two choices. We can go in to the store to buy you milk, or we can go home and starve. What would you like to do?”
The funniest part about shopping with the boys is what I call the grocery store ramble. I have done this since day one, even though for a long time they couldn't even talk, let alone answer. I guess it’s not fair to call it the grocery store ramble, because, really, it is ongoing all of the time. But it gets looks in the grocery store, hence its name.
If you are having trouble with your kids eating, the best advice I can give you is to take them with you to the store, and defiantly use the ramble. Let me give you a preview.
“HMM…The bananas a little over ripe this week, lets only get a few, so they don’t go bad. Wow the organic bananas are 20 cents more. That seems like something your hippy mom would buy. Did you guys want to get berries or grapes this week? Well, what color grapes would you like? Yeah, I like the purple ones as well. Hey, how about that? Your raisins are on sale this week. Can you get that box there, and put it in the cart. What was it your mom said she wanted? Are you sure it was Greek Yogurt? Yeah, I think your right. Well, no we can’t get that type. Your mom is allergic, but it looks like they have blueberry, strawberry, or raspberry. Which would you like…MMM raspberry good choice…”
By far, the best part of the ramble is it forces you kid to become involved in the grocery store. I see so many parents (Well, moms, because you know most dads aren't brave enough) dragging their kids through the store. It’s as if the kid gets no benefit from the grocery store. My kids understand that there is a direct correlation between what we buy and what we eat. Later in the week, they will inevitably tell you they don’t want to have a peach for lunch.
“Well, you picked out the peaches. If you want blueberries, just remember next week to get some.”
You can really bring it home by involving them in the cooking.
“Glenn, can you go get that bell pepper you picked out this week? Do you want to snack on some of it before I cook it in the pan?”
The ramble starts from the moment we get into the car until we are finished. Well, someone telling me how brave I am, someone usually over 70 years in age, occasionally interrupts it.
This week, this little old man walks up, “Are you going to get them something for being so helpful?”
“Yeah, I was thinking milk…”