Jan 5, 2006

"Why I only have two" or "If I have another, I will surely end up admitted"

Last Saturday, I believe it was (see how I've already tried to erase the memory?), I had the very unwise idea to go with my friend to Sam's Club. Not only was it unwise because of the copious amount of money I can spend on Cheeze-It's in bulk, but because we have 4 children between the ages of 4 months and 4 years. Getting there wasn't the hard part--she has a mini van, I have a mini cooper. She just flipped down her backseats, and I pulled in. Damn, those automatic doors are nice!

Anyways, we get to the warehouse, and I'm all ready to save loads of money by buying in bulk, which is a smart thing to do these days, because my boyfriend's two little boys are very much like shrews--they eat 12 times their own body weight per day. I know little boys need food to grow, but sweet baby Jesus, what kind of person can eat 3 pounds of animal crackers in one day?! It's fascinating, more than anything. The little one shows me his belly, so I can witness the success of his caloric intake; and the big one must burn it off as quickly as he eats it, because he's a skinny thing. But he does run fast--it must be those animal crackers and the they-turn-your-tongue-green Cheetos. But I digress...

So my friend and I load up the kids in these nifty, double-seated shopping carts, and steer our way into the mecca of bulk-food buying. We have the 3 year-old and 4-year old in one cart, and the 2 year-old and 4-month old in the other cart (2-year old's in the back, and the baby's in his seat in the front). This all works out fine and dandy--for about 5 minutes. Then the little one wants to ride in the other cart. Then the older two want to walk. So we play cart-switch with the little one, and take the older two out of the cart. Chaos ensues. They like to hold hands and run. Pretty soon, they're dodging other shoppers, and elderly people handing out samples of bagel bites. Between my friend and I, there's the constant warning of, "Girls! Slow down!" "Girls! Stay by the mommies!" and "Girls! Watch out!" It's really a good show, and several people are eyeing us. While the girls are holding hands and charming the other shoppers with their hijinks, my friend and I are loading our carts with oatmeal cream pies the size of my head, and cheesecake. I didn't say it was a healthfood store, people. Who wants to buy healthy fare in bulk? Not I. Bring on the Little Debbie snackcakes.

We finally make it to the checkout line, where we both find out that we spent way more than we planned to, but since we were "buying in bulk" and there were "so many good deals," we talked ourselves into thinking that we were amazing shoppers and had just saved the entire country's financial woes by the money we spent. We're both very persuasive. So, being the smart women we are, when the kids started getting rowdy, we decided that I would take them out to the car. Again, that's a 4-year old, a 3-year old, a 2-year old, and a 4-month old. I'm not sure at which point in the shopping extravaganza that we were secretly injected with crack, but surely, we had to have been. I stroll out of the store--the two oldest holding hands, walking on my right; the toddler, holding onto my pants, walking on my left; and the baby, in his carrier, on the basket seat.

It was all going really well, and then we got outside. Where there were cars, and people, and bright lights and noise, and all the other things that distract kids from listening to the boss. Pretty soon, I was trying to corral the older two by fervently yelling at them to "hang on to the cart!", keeping the little one close by, by holding out my left leg and hooking her in with my foot; hopping on my right leg, pushing the cart, and preventing the baby from tipping out of the shopping cart with my right arm. Have you ever seen one of those street performers than can play 15 instruments at once? Yes, it was much like that, but without the cymbals or the harmonica. My friend exited the store just in time to see me nearly get run over by a Suburban, in which the driver had failed to check the rear-view mirror; and to which I ignored the man in the truck, flailing his arms and telling me to stop--assuming he was just waving at the kids. Come to find out, he was trying to flag me down to tell me to stop because of the impending flattening of me and the orphanage that I was trying to keep under control.

My friend met up with me, and we tried to group the kids together--which didn't work as we had planned. Thankfully, a grandma was walking by, took pity on us, and commandeered my shopping cart, allowing me to arrest the toddler and carry her, football style, across the parking lot. Meanwhile, my friend and I are yelling to each other over parked cars, "NO MORE! THIS is why I stopped at two!"

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