Everyone Is Happy At The Grocery Store (As Long As They Have Free Cookies)

*Thanks to my hubby for the title suggestion. 🙂

                No matter how insane my kids are at home, the minute we decide to go to the grocery store, everyone becomes calm, patient, and good as gold. I’m a smart enough mommy to know that the free cookies given out by the nice bakery ladies have a lot to do with it. But even long after chocolate-covered chins and fingers are the only evidence, my Trio retains their calm patience. This sometimes causes us to visit the store five times in a week and buy more varieties of Ritz Crackers than we’ll ever eat. (Have you noticed, the flavors are endless!)

                The dilemma, of course, with taking three toddlers to the store, is that there isn’t any room left in the cart for groceries. When we’re lucky, we snag one of the giant carts with a little blue car in the front for Miss Toddler, and two baby seats for Mr. and Miss Twin. It’s a beast to push and has a wiggly wheel that’s sure to pop off and spiral away between the canned beans and fruit cocktail one of these days. But until then, the Big Cart allows us to stock up on all essentials, and even squirrel away a few extra boxes of frozen waffles in our basement freezer, along with giving Mommy a really good combined cardio and resistance workout.

                The grocery store provides endless teaching opportunities too. We can learn about strange fruits and vegetables, including our most recent discovery of donut peaches, which are, not surprisingly, peaches shaped like donuts. If they came with chocolate frosting, we’d be inclined to pay the exorbitant price to buy them again. Alas, it’s back to round peaches for us. The produce section is a great place to learn about colors and shapes, and Miss Toddler is always ready to give expert lectures on these subjects to two fascinated babes.

                We can also learn about counting. Again, Miss Toddler is eager to help Mommy count boxes of cereal bars, which our household goes through as fast as frozen waffles, so we count to 5 and then add 1 more (just in case), which equals 6. Numbers are everywhere and provide an endless recognition game, along with occasional teaching points about The Value Of A Dollar and How Generics Are Just As Good As Name Brands Unless You’re Buying Toilet Paper.

                Eventually, we wind our way around to the milk section and have a discussion about whether we should buy the yummy, pre-mixed chocolate milk, or use up the 64-ounce container of Nestle Quik in the cupboard at home. This allows Miss Toddler to practice her debate skills, while the twins watch and take notes for their own future discussions. Since Mommy is a pushover where chocolate is concerned, it isn’t a long debate. When we get to the cheese section, we practice our ABCs while we look for pre-sliced Velveeta cheese. (Miss Toddler’s current favorite and Mommy’s lazy way out of using a cheese slicer. Yes, I know it’s gross, especially when Miss Toddler drowns it in ranch dressing for breakfast.)

                Next, frozen waffles! We practice counting again, and learn that 4 + 2 = 6. (Because there’s a sale if we buy multiples of 2.) A few frozen OJs and pizzas for the basement freezer, and we’re all done.

                Next, comes the part that both humbles me and makes me proud as a mother lion. We go through the self-checkout, where the 3 year old finds barcodes and scans groceries faster than I do. The grocery store staff stand nearby, ready to assist, and instead make comments like, “Wow, can we hire her?” I have visions of this child troubleshooting complex computer malfunctions and texting her preschool friends before she can handwrite her name.

                We walk out of the store, content with our kill, confident in our skills, and satisfied with cookies. I’m tired of pushing the Big Cart and ready to go home. Until we get home and the children become insane once again. I look through my cupboards and discover that we don’t have any celery salt. Load ‘em up, kids, we’re going back to the grocery store!

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lynda Olsen
    Aug 04, 2010 @ 22:49:00

    As usual, I LOVE reading your latest blog episodes. They are so well written, entertaining and so totally enjoyable. Thanks again for sharing.



    • abbyplambeck
      Aug 05, 2010 @ 09:24:30

      Thanks, Lynda! I appreciate your comments to each one, and am thrilled the blog ends your day with a smile. 🙂 I miss you too…email me with your August schedule when you get a chance. I tried a trip to Omro with the kids on Tuesday and learned that it exceeded all of our limits. We did fine until we left to come home, and then the return trip and rest of the day were awful. So…even with the girls’ help, for now, it would be best to meet you halfway or host you at our house if you’re able to come down. We have a lovely huge playset now that I bet Kendra and Kirsten would enjoy! 😉


  2. bethy
    Aug 05, 2010 @ 07:51:31


    That Emily is amazing. She is definitely my favorite Emily in the world. And you…WOW, I admire you, look up to you. I hope your children are out of High School before I have mine. JP says we need a full time nanny if we have kids and I am hiring you. What’s your rate? (plus inflation, of course).

    Your loving sister,



  3. abbyplambeck
    Aug 05, 2010 @ 09:18:23

    Beth, if my kids are out of high school, they can nanny for you because I’ll be off in Great Britain somewhere, enjoying retirement. 🙂 Thanks for the kind words…your support and encouragement is part of what helps me get out of bed everyday!


  4. Unca Phil
    Aug 05, 2010 @ 16:31:37


    Ya know, we’re hiring techs so maybe we should interview Miss Toddler?

    Always love these stories. Miss seeing ya & the kiddo’s (Hubby too LOL)

    Thought of the Day, Duct Tape comes in cases LOL

    Love Ya


  5. Debbie
    Aug 23, 2010 @ 07:04:17


    This is my favorite blog entry to date. Thinking back on days of old I wish I had used all the teaching opportunities that you find amongst the aisles. Instead it was generally a samurai-style event with two loaded up carts and an empty wallet. But true to your blog episode the tribe was happy and couldn’t wait to get home to “claim” their portion of the bounty.

    Can’t wait for the next chapter.


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