Before I had children, I used to leisurely stroll each and every aisle of the supermarket, picking things off the shelf when I remembered. I didn’t bother with a grocery list. There was only two of us and if I forgot something, I’d return the next day.
Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought of this simple act of necessity as being an enviable task. I miss the days of languid and uninterrupted meandering, just like how I wish I had luxuriated in more sleep. Oh, how I miss those days!
I go to the supermarket with either one or two kids in tow. The most pleasurable part of the experience is leaving. I don’t know about other parents but to me having two pipsqueaks continually saying, “Mummy, can we buy this?” and “Mummy, can I get that?” drives me insane.
I almost never leave home without a grocery list, and I speed down aisles to collect items like I’m on a My Kitchen Rules cook-off. I obviously pass the chip, chocolate, and soft drink aisles because seriously, who needs the drama of wrestling contraband off a raging kid?
Normally, I go through self-serve because it’s the quickest way out of the store. With a kid that can drop a tantrum like a hot potato, it’s best not to procrastinate in a place with too many temptations and “get the hell out of dodge” is my shopping mantra.
Today I had too many things in the shopping trolley to go through self-serve and seeing that Henry seemed eerily calm, I opted to go through checkout. I methodically placed items in groups that I hoped to get bagged together. The young man at the register began packing the bags, taking time to arrange items like he was a Tetris prodigy. Simply perfect for my anally retentive grocery packing personality. I appreciate good packing skills. No one wants a dirty tango between raw meats and fruit.
As he continued to pack at the rate of one item per minute, Henry started to grumble about wanting to hop out of the trolley. I tried to placate him with a yoghurt and silently prayed for the dude to hurry the hell up. Henry was about to throw down and no one would be ready for the impending Hiroshima-like explosion that would be unleashed.
I twiddled my thumbs, glancing nervously at Henry’s whining and thrashing about. I gave checkout dude one more minute for good measure but my eye twitched at the sight of him taking out a punnet of tomatoes and replacing them with the punnet of mushrooms. They were the exact same size!
“Mummy!” Henry wailed.
I suddenly jumped into action. I grabbed the tomatoes off the dude and shoved them into a bag.
“How about you scan and I’ll help bag,” I told him with a smile that was too wide to be considered normal.
He recoiled at the sight of my crazed look and started quickly scanning. I shoved items left, right, and centre into the bags, practically arm sweeping them in. I worked at a rapid pace and only paused for breath once I handed over my card to pay.
I stood back and took stock of my surroundings. The people behind me and the checkout dude were giving me strange looks. I started from the realisation of my erratic behaviour. Embarrassed, I quickly left with my screaming child. It was a sobering moment of self-awareness at how different my life had become.
Did I regret having kids? Definitely not.
Would I change anything? Probably not.
Oh, wait. Yes. Avoid the Tetris guy.
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