The Hopping Cart

In case you haven’t guessed it yet, when I’m out with the kids I don’t tend to worry too much about appearances. For me, it’s more about having a good time with the kids and getting through whatever errands I have to run with a minimum of tears and stress.

One of the days during this past week, for example, found N and I in the grocery store. The others were at home wallowing in illness, and we had been sent out to pick up medicine. At our grocery store/pharmacy, you drop the prescription off and then have about 20 minutes to kill while the good people behind the counter mix it all together and pour it in the bottle for you.

Ever tried to kill 20 minutes in a grocery store with a 21 month old? It can be a bit challenging. It’s one thing if you have something you’re actually doing (like shopping), but if you’re both feeling pointless and bored – well, like I said, it can be a bit challenging.

My first thought was to go fast. We zoomed around the store with him riding in the basket of the shopping cart, and me jogging along behind making car, airplane, and occasional train noises.

Sadly, the grocery store attendees weren’t a big fan of that.

Then we did spins. As we walked around the corners, I’d say “spin” and spin the cart in tight little circles while N squealed. After one such spin, however, it took him a little too long to focus again. That reminded me of the danger of spinning: shaken brains.

At this point, we still had about ten minutes left, so I decided to try a new approach: shopping. There were a few things, I thought, that I could perhaps purchase. Pudding, for example, and Jello. You can never have enough Jello.

Unfortunately, N was firmly in play mode. He wanted me to do something more exciting than pushing him around in a Quest for Jello.

I fell back on something I used to get in trouble for as a child. Bracing my hands on the cart handle, and bending at the waist, I hopped. For some mysterious reason (having to do with Physics, probably) you can get really high this way without putting too much weight on the handle. Your head and upper torso don’t move much – just your legs and hips. If you keep your feet together, you can sort of emulate a downhill skier. My feet would land to my left and then come up high and then land to my right.

N loved it and, aside from a few odd looks from strangers, it didn’t seem to have any negative side effects. I looked at him and said “it’s not a shopping cart, it’s a hopping cart!” I was really quite proud of my cleverness.

We returned to pick up the medicine, and as I walked towards the door, N shouted “Hopping Cart! Hopping Cart!”

Whoops. I tried to explain that it was time to move on, but no luck. He wanted the Hopping Cart, and he was willing to cry to get it.

I told J what happend, but I really feel sorry for her the next time she goes shopping. It’s one thing to spend 10 minutes hopping around the store behind the cart. It’s another to spend an entire shopping trip doing it.

Not to mention that she’s a little..ah… bouncier than I am. Whereas I was getting odd disapproving looks, I can only imagine the looks she’ll get.

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