Brad Pitt once taught me that there are two certainties in life: death and taxes. (He taught me this in Meet Joe Black; in case you’re not a Brad Pitt expert.) Well I say that there are two certainties on Sundays: laundry and grocery shopping. Princess Rapunzel did not want to grace the grocery store with her presence today, so it was me and Little Boo against the rest of the Sunday shopping world. We left the house feeling a little rejected by PR, but also hopeful that the holiday weekend would mean that Market Basket might not be it’s usual nightmare self.
As we pulled in, a stroke of genius suddenly hit me like a gift from above. LB hates sitting in the cart, especially when her sister isn’t there to keep her semi-entertained. I needed a distraction and not just any distraction. Something that would keep her content, something that she wouldn’t expect and that would keep her happy and occupied while we cruised the aisles. I knew just what I needed and where to get it. We walked in, I selected the cart that looked to be covered in the least amount of germs, and as I tried to get her to sit nicely and she fought me with every ounce of her 20 lb body, I dropped the magic phrase on her, “Little Boo, don’t you want to have a balloon?” Her eyes immediately lit up as she squealed, “BALLOON!!” I carefully reviewed all of our available balloon choices and was less than impressed. There was Happy Birthday, Congratulations, It’s A Girl, and Get Well Soon. I selected Congratulations, as in Congratulations – you have solved the age old mystery of how to peacefully accomplish grocery shopping with an almost-two-year-old.
LB was so excited to have a balloon in her clutches and kept saying, “Happy!” as we made our way through the store. This lasted until we got to the soup aisle, when the novelty officially wore off and she insisted that it was time to get down. My hopes that the holiday weekend meant that either everyone had better things to do than grocery shop, or that everyone had enough turkey soup to get them through the week had actually come true and the store was far less crowded than usual. I was either feeling brave or at wit’s end, I’m really not sure, but I took her out of the cart and let her walk. Besides the fact that it’s impossible to get a toddler to walk by your side in a grocery store, or in a straight line for that matter, it is also hazardous for them to be out on the loose because of their tiny size. They can’t be seen over someone’s cart, so they run the risk of being run over. But my balloon idea proved to be genius once again. People may not have been able to see her, but they could see the balloon and refrained from coming at her at ramming speed. I feel the need to add a disclaimer here: Do not try this on your own, people. I am an expert grocery shopper and could only pull it off within the perfect conditions of a rainy and cold Sunday after Thanksgiving, in New England, during a Patriots game that was all tied up. The perfect storm for a quiet grocery shopping experience.
We made it the rest of the way through the store and I do believe that I got everything on the invisible list that I didn’t make before we left. We almost lost bunny at one point, but I saw him dangling from the cart and scooped him up to safety before he managed to fall. LB was still so consumed by the balloon that she didn’t even want a sticker from the cashier before we left. Either that or she has completely given up on the fact that we will ever get into the right line with the cashier who draws the meow-meow on her stickers.
Who knows if this will work again or if LB will be too wise for my mommy ways. All I know is this: the $2.49 that I spent on the balloon today was totally worth it. It continued to provide entertainment to both kids for hours after we got home. Definitely a good investment. Almost as good as my Meet Joe Black DVD. Almost…