I went to the grocery without the kids the other night and it was very odd. First of all I couldn't park in the "Expecting or New Mom" parking spot that I been able to claim for most of the past three years. As I grabbed my buggy I spotted something out of the corner of my eye sitting in the corner - it was one of those little baskets they have available for single people to use when they shop. I can not remember the last time I shopped with one of those baskets. It's so . . . well, small. You surely can't fit a mega box of Huggies in there so they aren't an option for me any more.
As I shopped I noticed the people who were carrying those little baskets around the store. Several college students and a few old people who could still manage to carry one the distance around the store. I used to fit all my groceries for an entire week in one of those baskets!! Then I got married and I graduated to a full-sized cart. Then I started having babies . . .
Having one baby and grocery shopping is a breeze. You can prop the pumpkin seat in the seating area and glide around the store while everyone oos and aahs over how precious your quietly sleeping baby is (your baby is precious because you were able to carefully time your trip to the store right after a feeding so the child is content and darling to all passerbys). Then an even better day arrives: your baby can sit up in the cart! No more lugging that ridiculous seat around! Your cutie pie smiles and babbles with all the old ladies in the store making you feel like a wonderful and proud mother. Once they start talking to everyone in sight you are the hit of the store. Especially when they turn up the cute factor and say hello or something really darling to everyone you pass in the aisle. Eventually #2 arrives and the seating problems start. Where are the carts designed for a toddler and a pumpkin seat? Don't bother looking because they don't exist. Now you must sacrifice your actual grocery space in the main buggy to hold the pumpkin seat which takes the entire space while the toddler rides in the seat. This means you must utilize all of the lower shelf-thing, stack food around the baby and bribe your little one to hold various items. As much as possible I put the baby in the Baby Bjorn (a must have for me) so I actually have a cart to put groceries in. We were plugging along with our various shopping systems when Rhett took Claire to the store one day and everything changed . . .
I had been avoiding the big green race car shopping carts for a while. Claire didn't even know that they existed - ignorance was bliss for me. Well, that all ended when Rhett made his first trip to the grocery store in about 4 years and quickly introduced Claire to the big obnoxious cart. Once you go to the race car there is no going back. The first time I had to drive the thing I encountered two college girls (carrying their little baskets with fun stuff like sushi and hummus in them) who were commenting on how cute the kids were and talking to Claire. They were very nice but I could tell that when they saw us coming they made a mental promise that they would never drive one of those bohemeths around the grocery store no matter what their kids wanted.
It doesn't seem like that long ago that I had that little basket with fun food in it and I was standing in the aisle with my roommate investigating the caloric content of something while in my workout shorts because I had just (gasp) exercised. I lamented the fact that I was the race car driver and they were the hottie college girls for about 10 minutes. Then I realized that even then I wanted to have a cart full of kids to push around the grocery store. I have gladly turned in the keys to my 2 door car and my size 2 jeans and moved on to bigger and better things (no pun intended). Those two girls have no idea of the wonderful fulfilling life experiences that are to come. So for now I will happily drive the race car because I know there will be a sad day when there will be no little one begging me to drive it and I will go back to shopping with a little basket and telling all the young moms how cute their babies are.