Shopping with a Crazed Toddler – The Home Improvement Store

I’m not terribly superstitious, but I totally believe in jinxing. I should keep track of these occurrences because I’m pretty sure I can prove that jinxing exists.

My definition of jinxing: If you say aloud that something is going well in your life, you have just doomed yourself to that very thing going wrong.

Take yesterday, for example. At a moms’ group meeting a local author read to us from her book about surviving and navigation stay at home momhood, and in the ensuing conversation we talked about ways we carve out time to not just be mom.

I piped up and said that while I used to cherish solo trips to Target and the grocery store, I now try to bring the kids with me on errands like that because they like to be with me and they (generally) keep their hands to themselves and their voices below a dull roar. I didn’t go so far as to say my outings will all the kids go smoothly 100% of the time, because that would have made me a big, fat liar, but the implication was that taking four kids shopping wasn’t so bad that I had to stop doing it altogether. Big mistake.

So. Today I had errands to run. After my moms’ group meeting Jonah and I dashed to the grocery store to buy the celery I forgot I needed for the soup I was supposed to make yesterday (we had mac n cheese instead). Wrestled with Jonah a bit to try to keep him in the cart but to little avail. Made it to the checkout only to realize I forgot to get an onion, which I’d also need to make the soup. But, on the bright side, at least I didn’t remember after I’d left the store, right?

Got the onion, paid (only had to chase Jonah once, as he made a dash for the automatic door while I was bagging), drove home, put away the cold food, then got to the bus stop just in time to pick up Grant.

Took Grant and Jonah to McDonald’s for lunch (no judging here – Grant’s teacher gave out vouchers for Happy Meals that the kids could redeem once they read five books), then off we went BACK to the grocery store because I realized I’d failed to look in the lost in found the first time for the mittens Jonah lost on a previous trip. Then trekked to Target so Grant could buy a little Lego set with his own money, which he carried around in a paper cup with his name on it. Jonah threw himself on the floor probably nine times, half of which were when he pretended to slip, and half of which were because he wanted chocolate/a toy/a trigger bottle of bleach and I wouldn’t let him have it.

I should have taken this as a sign that it was time to go home, but no, I really wanted to get to the home improvement store so I could buy some cabinet transforming paint kit I’d seen advertised. Bright one there, Mom! Arrived at the store and, hooray, discovered one cart with a little yellow car cab on the front. Sized for two kids Jonah’s age, but Grant wanted in, too. This meant much pushing and screaming, which I tried to shush during the tinting of my paint kit at my paint counter. Finally had to eject Grant from the car altogether.

At this point I lost all control. Jonah decided he wanted out of the cart, too. And then he decided he was in charge of the shopping mission. As I looked at paint brushes he picked up fragile piggy banks nearby. I wrested one out of his arms and he was off to the tape aisle where he chose eight rolls of duct tape to throw into the cart. I put them back on the shelf and Jonah took off down another aisle, climbing into display bathroom vanities. I followed as best I could, with my nearly six year old child still in the car cart. Jonah reached the check out lanes ahead of me and grabbed two bags of M&Ms which are oh-so-conveniently at toddler height. He threw himself on the floor again as I took them away.

The checkout lady was not amused. She looked down her nose at Jonah and said, “I don’t like whiny kids.” Jonah took that moment to let out a good, long scream, then made a dash for the customer service counter where he found, again at toddler height, stacks of rebate slips. Like a madman on drugs he reached in and grabbed a few, throwing them in my general direction with all his two year old might.

When I went to retrieve the slips Jonah took that as his sign to escape. He took off running down the rows of checkout lanes and then down the middle of the store. I chased as fast as I could, dragging the cart with Grant still inside and trying my hardest not to laugh loud enough for Jonah to hear me. Or any other customers, who might mistake the chuckling, running mom for a deranged person on the loose.

Jonah probably could have done ten laps around the store before I caught him but his curiosity tripped him up – he spied a toy and stopped to look and I grabbed his hood just as he realized I was closing in.

Carried him out to the car. Drove around long enough for him to fall asleep, but he woke up as soon as I took him out of the car.




  1. I feel for you. Then again it could have been worse. My mom actually used a display potty at Sears when she was a toddler. Wait, did I just jinx myself?! Also, what a crappy thing to say to a harried mom. As if you enjoy whiny kids. My husband took the girls to Home Depot one night to let them blow off steam. He didn’t think it was a coincidence when they made a store announcement saying that children should stay off of displays and not run. 🙂

  2. It is early in the morning right now and I’m trying to keep my laughing down so that my family doesn’t wake up! So very funny. Especially the woman who probably grew up with an overly strict mom and is bitter that she works at Home Depot (or wherever). It’s always the extremes isn’t it? Either people are cooing over how incredibly well-behaved your children are OR they’re looking down their noses, shaking their heads. You’re doing fabulous. Keep up the great work.


  1. […] I raise my voice to tell a story about how my energetic toddler ran through the home improvement store and I couldn’t get my shopping done, it’s like the waitress complaining to her friends […]

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