January 30, 2012

The pavlovian car-cart, redux

I freely admit this is a recycled post from my days blogging over at MA! Motherhood with Attitude. However, it's just as apt today as it was then. In fact, it's become even more so with the invention of mini-grocery carts that a lot of stores now keep front and center as you walk in the doors. Now, as if taking three tired kids for a last minute onions-and-diapers run (don't ask) isn't fun enough, I get to argue off the inevitable begging, "Can I push the little carts? PLEEEEEASE!". Right, because that sounds like fun. Going through to store with a screaming baby wiggling in front of me, followed up by two little girls racing in the aisles with their own carts, picking out boxes of cookies and slamming into precariously balanced displays of tomato soup. FUN.

This is all compounded by that fact that, despite a full awareness of my no-kid-cart rule, someone in this family, let's call him Murt, let's the girls use them when he runs out to the store on the weekends. Thanks, Murt. Way to set me up.

Here's the blast from the past. Enjoy.
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(Originally from July 20, 2009 at MA! Motherhood with Attitude.)

I understand, in theory, that whoever invented those grocery carts with little cars on the front had good intentions at heart. I’m sure he thought what could be more fun, more distracting, for two little kids than to sit in a cab and be pushed through the store, totally occupied while mom peacefully shops?

Except that inventor, I have a strong suspicion, did not HAVE any children. The car-cart is my nemesis. It’s bulky and difficult to maneuver and the actual basket is too small to hold groceries for the average family. Most of all, though, is its debilitating effect on my kids.

“Car-cart! Car-cart!” would erupt the second we got to the store. They were at one time infamous for collapsing into complete hysterics if, God forbid, someone else was using it and they had to settle for its poor cousin. Then, after all this drama, the entire trip through the store would be marked by screams, pushing, hitting and my not-so-whispered threats to dump them in the diaper aisle for someone else to buy and take home if they didn’t stopthatrightnoworIwillgiveyousomethingtocryABOUT (yes, it’s finally happened– the threats of my childhood are now mainstays of my own vocabulary).

The worst, worse even than their deafening battles to control the wheel, is when they would wait until I was as far from the front of the store as possible, with a basket at least half-full, and then jump out of the cab. So there I would be, pushing a monstrosity through narrow aisles with two children running in opposite directions from me and the barge. This was an awful lot like threading the proverbial needle with a camel, only with a heard of jackals circling you at the same time.

The car-cart is now forbidden in my family. The last time we used one, I ended up abandoning it in the dairy section while I pulled two squalling whirlwinds by their shirt collars out of the store, dangerously close to using them both as bowling balls across the parking lot. The upside to that day, (which I salvaged with a VERY large glass of wine), is that they both now associate the car-cart, like Pavlov’s well-trained dogs, with a healthy dose of respectful terror.

Because what would be the point of having children without them being at least a little bit afraid of you?

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