Running to Walmart is a necessary evil on the weekends when your list contains milk, dog food, tampons and pepto (thanks, by the way, to whichever kiddo gave those germs to my clan!). With daddy gone so often for training, briefings, and the like I seem to be frequenting Walmart with 4 little boys in tow more and more. Not exactly the same as having my cake and eating it too, but I've learned that not all things in life are fair (or fun for that matter) so instead of pouting or grumbling about my predicament, I try to make our outing as fun as possible.
Since the older boys grumble in regards to all-things shopping, I decided to allow them to make a small purchase of their choosing while at the store hoping that this would deter the afore mentioned whining. With money in hand and spirits risen, we loaded into our van trying to beat the winter storm that was creeping closer.
Navigating any store with 4 kids isn't for the slight of heart. It's a stress-inducing task that threatens to defeat the weak. However, I am one tough cookie and never crumple in the face of fear...I took the challenge head on determined to conquer this store, my list, and the toy aisle all without tantrum, lost child, or breaking the budget.
The first obstacle in this shopping extravaganza involves navigating the parking lot. Our weather has been willy-nilly and indecisive so the streets are muddy, slushy, and full of puddles...which, of course, need to be addressed by the 2 year old. Avoiding tantrum, I hold his little hand as he proceeds to splish-splash and stamp his future date with a bath all the way across the parking lot. Once inside, he refuses to be restrained or otherwise detained in the cart. The 12 year old is put on alert and is assigned to toddler duty while I keep a "twenty" on the wandering 7 and 4 year olds. To keep the dudes focused, we form a choo-choo train as I decipher which items are hiding in which aisles....mama is the engine (I think I can, I think I can, I think I can!) and the 4 year old takes up residence as the caboose. This all goes down complete with chugga-chugga's and choo-choo's! We are truly a sight to behold!
Pharmacy...check. Pet supplies...check. On to the toy aisle which is an adventure in and of itself! All in all the toy selection went off without a hitch. Each child clenched their prized selection impatiently waiting to open their treasure as we headed off to groceries. This section is always a slippery slope. So our train chuggs onward adding cargo as we go. However, the 2 year old is getting sleepy and I foresee meltdown in our near future...so we chugg through the rest of the grocery section singing "ah! ah! ah! ah! stayin' awake! stayin' awake!" Yes, I receive many stares, glares, giggles, and roll of the eyes...but I've lost my will to care.
With cart full of items and toddler we head to checkout....usually the straw that broke the camel's back...but my hopes for success are still high! Of course, Murphy's law insists that I occupy the line with the ssssslllloooowwwweeeesssstttt customers and/or clerk. So I divert the impatient children's attention with the selection of candy and allow them to pick out a treat. (as a side note...I hate this part of the checkout line....those items are deliberately placed there so parents HAVE to purchase unnecessary junk in order to avoid meltdown and tantrum!) Here is the kicker....in this instance I am that mom that we all love to hate. Each of my boys has their own money clenched in their tight sweaty fist ready to purchase their desired treasure. Instead of being behind 1 customer...you are, in fact, behind 5 customers!!
Each of us exit the store with our bag of goodies and our pockets a little bit emptier...but I did it without tantrums or meltdowns. The kids had fun, didn't complain (too much) and even enjoyed some giggles watching mommy bust a groove in the cereal aisle!! All in all, my kids had fun! Hey, we can't possibly be any crazier than any other family packed into our Walmart!!