It was the first time I ever took all 3 kids to Walmart by myself.
First hurdle: 3 kids, with 1 cart. Not the nice, 2 seater cart that Sam's Club has. Just one. So I put Kuzzles in the seat, and Jenny in the basket (since she's the only one that can be trusted not to stand up or try to climb out) and in a strategic psychological move, I told Isaiah he was "Mommy's big helper, going to push the cart."
Isaiah (still faithfully pushing the cart) decided to shout cheerfully "WE'RE GOING TO STEAL SOME FOOD!"
(awkward shocked laugh) "No, Isaiah, we're going to BUY food"
"WE'RE GOING TO STEAL SOME FOOD!"
"Isaiah, stop saying that"
"WE'RE GOING TO STEAL SOME FOOD!" (joyfully)
And the more irate I got, the worse it looked....
So I tried to ignore it.
He continued to shout it....every 5 minutes. For an hour. He must have shouted that at least 20x. And I had foolishly worn my bulky backpack-diaperbag into the store.
It was so, so, so awkward.
And then, after helping me faithfully push the cart for 20 minutes, he decided that helping the janitorial staff by sweeping the floor with his body, would be more productive. I would lose him, and find him in the aisle over, doing just that. I think he may have licked the floor once, even.
Jenny meanwhile, decided to unwrap some of the hangers in the cart. Then there was the cry "BROWN POOP!" Which is Isaiah's way of asking to use the restroom. We hurried to the restroom, but he was so overcome by the excitement of the public stalls and the automatic sinks that nothing happened. And we had to urgently rush back later in the trip, when the cry went up again.
At some point, we were in the food aisle, when Keziah decided that sitting in the seat any longer would be unbearable torture. (Isaiah was also making wild breaks for freedom at this point). I was trying to take keziah out, balance her on my hip (because the basket of the cart was full of stuff and Jenny) and wrangle a resisting Isaiah into the the demotion of having to sit in the cart.
Had it not been for two wonderful women who stopped to chase down my escapee and hold Keziah while I put him in the cart, I don't know how we would have done it.
Another woman helped me locate the phantom jar of minced garlic. They were all angels.
As we headed to check out, a Hispanic woman with a bunch of kids (who were being a lot better behaved than mine) smiled encouragingly at me and I felt like I was a new member of a new club, the taking-many-small-children-to-walmart club, and that someday, I would be as good at it as her.
That was nice.
Nevertheless, as we stumbled out to our car, 1.5 hours after we had headed in, I felt like I'd been through a war. But we'd survived. We'd done it.
So, a few weeks later, I felt I was up to the challenge again. This time, I brought a monkey leash to tie my helper to the handle of the cart, so he couldn't mutiny. We were through the doors, when Isaiah starts up with
"ARE WE GOING TO STEAL SOME FOOD?!"
He hadn't said anything like that in ages. He must associate shoplifting groceries with Walmart somehow, I don't know how.
"No. Don't say that. We are going to buy some food."
"ARE WE GOING TO STEAL SOME FOOD?!"
Jenny, helpfully "No, we are going to buy food"
15 minutes in, my helper had tried to mutiny a couple times and failed.
There was an incident with Jenny (in the basket) trying to shut the seat part (with Kuzzles in it). But I managed to referee that successfully to.
I felt so incredibly "with-it" and "together" even writing up a blog post "How to Survive taking 3 kids under 4 to the Store," when right in middle of the laundry basket aisle, Jenny threw up. Several times. All over the ground.
I had only a few wimpy diaper wipes in my purse (having left the huge diaper bag of shoplifting suspicion at home). God was good, and some manager-looking young man was only a couple aisles a way. I called him to the grisly scene, and left him standing guard over the putrid mess, desperately calling for maintenance, and beat a hasty retreat.
Jenny was already singing songs to herself by the time we got to the car.
So maybe the 3rd time is the charm....