And, yes, I mean LOVE like I wanna marrrrrry it.
When the time came that Boe outgrew the seat area of shopping carts, it was a HUGE deal for me. For most children, when they are physically too big for the seat area, they are emotionally too big for the seat area. For kids like Boe, the timing is way off for these two events.
I made shopping trips with Boe in the buggy seat as long as I could. Finally, one day (and I remember that dreaded day), I could fool myself no longer. I’m struggling to fit his long legs and size 11 shoes into the openings with one hand while balancing 40 pounds of boy with the other. Even with Boe helping me (yes, he does that sometimes), it was tough; however, I had not prepared myself (emotionally or strategically) for him not to be in the buggy so I had no choice, he had to ride in the shopping cart seat one last time. Needless to say, I spent that shopping trip thinking about how I was going to get him out of the buggy seat.
When my shopping was done and we were struggling to get him out of the shopping cart seat for the last time, I began to imagine my next shopping adventure with an unrestrained Boe. I was anxiety-stricken by this thought.
On the way home, I began preparing “the rules” for free-style shopping in my head. Yes, I know that some stores have those huge “car carts” or the huge two-seater, face-forward buggies but those aren’t always around (almost non-existent at most of my stores) and I had no desire to struggle with those behemoths anyway. I knew I would eventually have to face this dilemma so now was the time. And, yes, I know that I could have had him ride in the basket part but, again, this is Boe and I know my kid – if he’s in the basket part, nothing else can be in there with him so I would be resigned to piling everything in the little buggy seat part. Now, I’ve seen those complacent, docile children riding sweetly and serenely amidst boxes of food, bags of toys, and once even A PLANT! But, in our case, I would be purchasing crushed bread, smashed boxes of whatever, and leaking bottles of more whatever by the time the shopping trip was ended. And not that he would damage these things intentionally, it would just be Boe being Boe. The trip through the store would include a slew of “I’m sorry”s and “Uh-oh”s that really wouldn’t appease me.
So, I made my list of rules: 1) At least one hand on the cart or on me. 2) At least one hand on the cart or me. 3) At least one hand on the cart or me. 4) At least one hand on the cart or me. 5) At least one hand on the cart or me. If you haven’t gotten the gist of this – there’s just one simple rule. Simple to remember. And I knew it wouldn’t be simple for Boe to follow but I had to have something.
After that, I came up with my list of consequences if the rule wasn’t followed. These were dependent on the day, of course, but I usually had a few you-won’t-get-to-do-this type things and on occasion, a bribe or two – yes, I bribe. And if you’re judging, it means that your child has no inkling of Boe-ness – that you have one of those kids mentioned previously – so you haven’t even remotely been able to relate to this post – how nice for you.
Anywho, the day came. And this was the day that I fell in love with Target shopping carts.
It just so happened that our first free-style shopping trip took place at Target.
Oh. My. Gosh!
It was WONDERFUL!
As we entered the store, I went over The Rule again with Boe. After we found a clean cart (so hard to do with Target carts – there must be some rite of passage or something to pour soda into a Target cart b/c it takes at least 3 tries for me to find an unsticky one every time I go in there), he placed his hand on the side and, as is normal for Boe, he immediately figured out how to use the cart in the most unconventional way possible. It took him only seconds but he realized that he could maneuver around the outside of the cart completely without touching the floor. So he spent the entire 20 minutes around and under the Target cart without ever touching the floor (with his feet – his hands “cleaned” the floor while lying prone under that basket part). This kept him entertained and engrossed. I was thrilled!!!! And I guess I shouldn’t be in love with the cart as much as with the wonderful person who designed it. It is a feat of wonder! The cart never tipped! A 40-pound child can hang on to any side of that cart without it tipping! And although it’s against the rules for kids to be in the baskets, Boe can climb in and out without it tipping, as well. It’s a jungle gym on wheels. The designer should get a raise and some kind of award from some highly-recognized Mommy group. I truly love this person that I’ve never met. He or she is a genius. She should feel fulfilled and complete with her life knowing that she has created a modern marvel – nothing short of a NASA space door.
So, free-style shopping (at Target, at least) has not been the nightmare that I envisioned. It’s not a pleasure stroll by any means but within 20 minutes, it’s not bad.
Thanks Target shopping cart designer – whoever you are. I love you.