February 07, 2009

A Typical Shopping Trip, Part 2

I have left my readers hanging long enough.  It's time to tell the last part of my shopping trip. (Be sure to read “part one” if you haven't yet done so)

Now that the children are safely buckled in the car, fed, and starting to doze off, I start my journey home.  The twenty minute ride is fairly peaceful, and I drink it in, knowing what is coming next.

Getting up the snowy hill isn't too bad this time, so I'm hopeful that the driveway will welcome my homecoming.  As I approach it, I take a wide right turn and floor it.  It appears, hope against hope, that I will make it to the top of the driveway!  But alas, just over halfway up, the tires spin and will go no further.  Since I'm too exhausted to fight the good fight today, I just park it at the bottom of the driveway, and start the winter routine...

I make sure that the emergency brake is on and that the wheels are turned hard so that if the car starts a slide, it will end up in the woods, not the road (and, by the way, it did slide into the woods more than once).  I find the bright orange toboggan to the side of the driveway and steel myself for the work ahead.  I open the van door, and extract two children who are awake, plop them on the toboggan and pull them up the driveway.  I plant them on the porch and close the gate so they cannot escape.  I return to the bottom of the driveway to bring up two more children, one in an infant car seat and the other sitting directly behind, now fussing because they were awakened.  Once at the top, I gather all four and herd them inside.  

Next, we take off the winter gear (four sets of hats, gloves, mittens, boots, and snowsuits) and leave it in the hallway to be scooped up and put away at a later moment. I dispense juice to all in sippy cups, stopping to wipe up a spill or two, wipe a runny nose, or settle a disagreement.  Then begins the diaper/pullup/potty routine.  Finally, I place my properly hydrated and dry-bottomed children into the living room and turn on PBS or a Psalty video, then secure the gates so that the sweet, angelic munchkins don't wander off while I go retrieve the groceries.

Once again, I don my winter gear, grab the toboggan and carefully descend to the car.  I've learned from some not so pleasant experiences that if I stay out of the tire tracks and instead walk to the side of the driveway, there's a litte more traction, which prevents an unpleasant slip or fall.

Back at the van, I carefully load up the groceries on the toboggan.  I smile smugly as I remember the disdain on the bagger's face when I asked for paper instead of plastic.  The paper bags sit neatly on the toboggan, and I don't have to stop to retrieve slippery plastic bags that fall off on the way up the hill.  Bummer, I think, as I see there are more bags than will fit on the toboggan for one run.  Alas, I must trek back up the hill and plop these bags in the kitchen, so I put on my happy (now winter blasted) face and trudge up the hill once again.

Arriving at the top of the hill, I silently wish for a dumb waiter or ramp so I can just pull the stuff up the stairs.  But no, I carry a bag in each arm up the stairs and put them in the kitchen.  "Nuts!"  I exclaim as I retrieve the five year old ADHD child (who has escaped the gated living room)from the pantry cabinet.  At least, I think, she didn't open the gate and let the younger ones out.  I return her, with a stern warning (or was it an open threat??) to the living room.  I scowl as I walk back to the kitchen, realizing that I have tracked dirt and snow across the kitchen floor and down the hallway.  I hastily put away the freezer items and head back out for trip number two(or is that four??).  

After putting the last of the bags on the toboggan, I check for left behind bottles, sippy cups, pacifiers, or a misplaced glove or boot.  I lock the doors and begin my final ascent.  There's a sense of mixed relief and dread.  I am "done" with the driveway debacle, but inside are a week's worth of groceries that must be put away, and there is no way any sane woman would ask her toddlers to help do that.  I count my blessings and arrive blessedly peaceful at the house.  

That peaceful feeling is immediately turned to panic as I step inside the kitchen to see that TWO have escaped, and are rummaging through the grocery bags.  For a moment I dream that these two cherubs have decided to help mommy put away the groceries.  The bubble bursts when I see that they have found a snack and are trying to open the box.  I growl loudly and warn the monsters, (sorry... I meant angelic cherubs) that "mean mommy" is just outside the door and if they don't hastily retreat to the living room, I am going to let her in.  The scurry back to the living room, properly terrified, and I can begin the process of putting away groceries.

I would love to tell you that once I started unloading bags, I kept up until those bags were all emptied, folded and put away.  But, I'm being honest here, so I  must report that I put away only those things that would spoil if left out.  Once that's done, I pass wearily by the stacks of dishes that should be done, through the dirt/snow covered hallway to dump my coat and boots on the pile of winter gear that must be put away at a future moment, and then retire to the couch for a snuggle session with the kids.

About an hour later I awaken to the sounds of children who are bored with the TV and fighting over some toy which both must have "right now". I also hear a howling infant who has realized that it's been a few hours since the last feeding.  Ahh, this is the music of my day.  Share the symphony with me!

A few minutes later after baby is fed and changed, I get out the crayons and paper for the two oldest (the others are napping now...) and head back out to the kitchen to put away the last of the groceries.  Then I tackle the pile of clothes in the hallway.  I'm feeling majorly productive, and a bit worried since the girls aren't interrupting me.  I peek in the living room and they are still busy with crayons and paper.  What a gift!! I use the extra time to load the dishwasher and wipe up my mess on the kitchen floor.  

Suddenly, two sweet baby girls call me into the living room.  "Mommy, come look!" they beg.  I groan inwardly, wondering which wall will need some some masterpiece scrubbed off of it.  But instead I am greeted by two smiling faces and two love notes (two of many that I have kept).  Suddenly the toy strewn floor and the overturned crayon box are invisible.  We walk out to the refrigerator and put my love notes up where I can see them while I work.  Then, in a fit of playfulness I hug, kiss, and start tickling my toddlers.  The giggles peal out like bells on Easter Sunday.  

You know, maybe it wasn't so bad after all....

1 comment:

  1. Children have such a great way of helping us to learn how to focus our attention on good things.

    Who would have thought that children can help us learn Philippians 4:8?

    Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

    Thanks for reminding me that I need to focus on the good. It's there ... somewhere.


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