I must’ve drawn the short straw this past weekend, because my mission, whether or not I actually CHOSE to accept it, was to go to the grocery store with all 3 of my kids.
When it comes to trying to accomplish tasks with the kids in tow, Anne’s philosophy revolves around the idea of bribery, as in, “If you guys can keep it together while we’re in the store, maybe we’ll buy something special on the way out.”
My philosophy is more along the lines of, “You guys need to keep it together while we’re in the store mainly because I said so and if you CAN’T keep it together while we’re in the store, then there’ll be consequences.”
It’s like Anne is the Martha Stewart of parenting and I’m Judge Judy. And basically, I’m fine with that.
For young kids, even the grocery store is an exciting and untapped world full of aisles upon aisles of stuff they think they’d like to buy and despite my laying down the ground rules on Saturday, our little shopping trip quickly turned into an exercise in “How many things can we ask Daddy to buy for us in under an hour?”
“Ooh, Daddy! Here’s a Hannah Montana Movie? Can we get that?”
“No, I don’t think so honey. We need the dough more than Hannah Montana does.”
“Dad, did you see this thing over here? It’s a whole package of super balls! Can we get it?”
“Let me check the list Mom made. Nope. No superballs on the list. Sorry, pal.”
“Daddy, the Jonas Brothers are on that box of cereal. Can we get that cereal?”
“Are the Jonas brothers offering rebate checks on their useless boxes of sugared up cereal? I didn’t think so. Negative, pardner.”
“I’m thirsty Dad, can I get a Gatorade or something?”
“Uh, how about ON spelled backwards?”
“What’s ON spelled backwards, Dad?”
“Think about it, kid. You’ll figure it out.”
6 aisles into the store I had to line up the troops again and explain to them that:
A. Other than the luxury item known as “food to eat” we weren’t getting nothin’ else.
B. In order to keep Daddy from losing his already tenuous grip on his sanity, all children under the age of 10 had to IMMEDIATELY stop asking him to buy stuff! Now-ishly.
As a result of this admonishment, all 3 of my little blonde haired kids skulked through the store shuffling their feet and doing their best to look desperate and neglected.
“Oh, woe is us. Look how mean our Daddy is. He never buys us nothing. Perhaps YOU, friendly stranger, would like to take me home with you. To a proper home. Where there are endless super balls, and boxes of Jonas Brothers cereal, and scads of Hannah Montana movies.”
Unfortunately for them, I turned off my guilt-ometer so SO long ago that this sort of thing doesn’t even make me flinch anymore. I’m like a vet who hasn’t seen combat in 30 years, but you throw him back on the battle lines and BOOM, he’s right back in the zone.
When we FINALLY finished shopping and loaded back into the car, my 9 year old son said, “Hey Dad, what’s that store called again?”
I said, “Uh, King Soopers. It’s a grocery store.”
Evan looked at me somewhat wistfully, and for one brief moment, I remembered that exceptional day back in the year 2000 when I first held him in my arms and thought, “Man, I love this kid SO much. I’m going to be the most awesome Dad in the history of Dad-dom.”
And this little kid, who is allegedly the fruit of my loins looked deep into my eyes without even a trace of irony and said, “I think they should change the name of the store to Daddy’s House of No. I think lots of other Dad’s would really want to shop here if that was the name of it.”
I recognize that I got zinged on that one and I respect the kid for taking his shots when the opportunity arises.
But you know what?
I bet I could find a lot of Front Range Dad’s who would be FINE with that name change.
I keep my cell phone on 24–7 now, just in case King Soopers calls.
See? I’m an IDEA man.