When I shop with my two children I feel like a broken record. For some reason my children turn into circus monkeys the second we enter a supermarket. It seems the aisles of groceries induce a hyperactive state and no amount of reasoning will bring them out of it.
I don’t believe I am alone. I often see other mothers struggling with their children. I see them trying desperately to break the speed record for filling the trolley with all required items while rounding up children.
The key is to get out the door as quickly as possible. You need to be organised. You need to know where items are and make sure you move through the supermarket systematically and swiftly. Going back to an aisle could prove deadly.
Throughout this process, a mother finds herself saying the same desperate pleas for good behaviour. It is par for the course and it goes something like this:
- Put that back! – It doesn’t matter how many times you say it, they still need to grab something they shouldn’t. All those shiny wrappers are simply too much temptation and unless you have managed to cage them in the trolley and place it further than arms reach from the shelf, something will be grabbed. The hope is to have the item returned to the shelf before it is dropped, squashed, torn or broken.
- No you can’t have that! – Usually said in relation to something with a high sugar content. Often this follows the whiny plea of “Muuuuum, can’t I have it”. I often have this plea followed with the reasoning of “my friends get these” or “dad said I could”.
- Get up! – If your child is like mine, the previous statement has the potential to lead to a full tantrum. This usually involves throwing themself on the floor. Alternatively, this statement gets used when the child ends up crawling on the floor to see under shelves or to try to find a dropped toy or grocery item.
- Come here! – the minute you let them loose they seem to have a beacon guiding them in the opposite direction. Inevitably they wonder off or the end up distracted by something sparkly and fail to follow as you move to the next item on the list.
- Leave your brother alone! – why they insist on annoying each other I have never understood. There is an innate need to snatch anything your sibling holds, poke your sibling, pull hair or find otherways to irritate your sibling.
- No you can’t get in the trolley! – the trolley is for the shopping. If I could carry the shopping, I wouldn’t need the trolley. There is no room in the trolley if it is filled with children. Not to mention the squashing of items that occurs when children are in the trolley with the groceries. That of course does not stop the temptation for children to get in the trolley. The lustre of shiny metal and wheels is simply too inviting.
- I’ll leave you at home next time! – I don’t know why we say this. Although usually said as a threat, both mother and child know it would be preferred. In reality, neither child or mother really wants to be at the supermarket and given the choice, any mother would prefer to shop without their children. Still, in desperation we say anything to try to get them to behave.
- Don’t touch that! – Don’t touch the fresh fruit and vegetables, don’t poke your finger in the meat packets, don’t smudge your finger prints on the deli banemarie, don’t press the button and don’t touch anything on the shelves!
All in all, there is just far too much temptation for a child at the supermarket. This leads to far too much frustration for any mother. But we will always go back for more. Not because we want to; because we have to.