Thankful for grocery store pick-up service
‘The Marion Mom’ By Dorothy Wilson
Nearly a decade ago, my grocery trips looked like something from a horror flick.
I had five children under age five, including infant twins, who always accompanied me. Even before we commenced the torture of rolling around a magical building with every kind of forbidden treat at eye-level and arm’s reach, I actually had to subdue and wrestle each child into appropriate clothing.
And brush hair.
That’s true torture.
Even now, I keep my baby girl’s hair short to her ears because she screams like a banshee when I brush it. Since I just learned yesterday that you can actually be killed by a sound louder than 170 decibels, I’ve decided the short haircut is medically necessary.
Now dressing, grooming, and feeding one child is a remarkable task, especially if you manage to get yourself groomed as well. But handling five at a time? You need a super-hero cape.
I prepared the eldest fairly easily — she was five, after all, a veritable kindergartner who could accomplish many things herself.
Matching her shirt to her pants was not one of those things.
Neither was cutting her own hair. Although she only tried once, her timing stunk. She sheared her bangs down to the baldness a month before her only stint as a flower girl. The hairstylist recommended extensions “once enough hair grows back in.”
Anyhow, I often sat my independent child at the table with a bowl of cereal while I chased down her siblings. Invariably, that cereal ended up on the floor and the glass-top table.
Now, I love glass tables. I kept that one for ten years, until my mother-in-law pointed out to me how hard they are to keep clean.
It never occurred to me — probably because I didn’t make time to clean because I was too busy trying to keep everyone alive — but yes, you have to wipe a glass table twice. On the top. On the bottom.
And the bottom of that table is the perfect place for Shorty McGreasyhands to smear leftover peanut butter and Play-Dough.
So I chunked it. I’ve never once scrubbed the underside of the giant farm table my brother built for me.
And I’m okay with that.
But I hadn’t learned that yet at this point during my story, so I had to set my half-clad child aside with prayers that he would refrain from throwing popcorn at the fan while I sopped up the cereal from the top and the bottom of the table.
When I retrieved my son, I put his pants back on, searched for his missing sock until I decided he could just wear sandals, slapped on a tank top and sat him next to the door.
“Don’t move,” I would say.
He treated it as a challenge, full of giggles and mischief… and moving.
Then I’d set about scrambling for the infant twins. I liked matching outfits, but that first required that the laundry be done and the clothes be organized. So I just grabbed whatever onesie my hand discovered first.
Snapping a T-shirt over a diaper is like a Mensa challenge, designed by either a genius or an idiot. It’s like trying to dress a cat.
Then I buckled those babies in their infant carseat inside the apartment to immobilize them — they could scream all they wanted, but they couldn’t stick a finger in a socket while I was finding my other shoe. Just getting to the car was a hoot. I hooked one infant car-seat on each arm with my biceps of steel, shuffled out the door, and prayed the three walkers would follow. I set a seat down, snapped one in, snapped the other in, and pulled a kid by his foot off the steering wheel and back into his seat, contorting like a yogi to reach his buckles. Then I ran back down the apartment hall to locate the adventurous explorers who preferred playgrounds to passenger vans, and carted them football-style to the van.
Then I climbed in the driver’s seat, exhaled, and prepared for Walmart.
Once there, I wrapped the babies on my chest in a long, stretchy piece of fabric, tossed the three walkers into a cart in front of me and pulled an empty cart for groceries behind me.
We rehearsed on the way in: “There’s no asking for anything. There’s no snatching anything. There’s no screaming or running away.”
Of course, my children were quick to obey my every command.
I remember once, while standing in line at Aldi, my 2-year-old and my 3-yearold squirted out through the line back into the store, and due to the setup of the checkout lane, there was no way for me to follow them except to exit the store and return back through the front door.
The lady behind me kindly pointed out, “Ma’am, your kids just ran away.”
She could have stopped them. But I think she just wanted my spot in line.
Another time, I trudged on through the store for about thirty minutes with a miserable kid who was screaming, hitting, and hurling things. I threw in the towel, left the cart where it was, and went home. After all that work, coming home empty-handed to face another day of cheese, bread crumbs, and ketchup was disheartening.
It was a special kind of torture.
I said weekly, “I wish I could hire someone to shop for me!”
Walmart has finally responded with free grocery pickup. Hallelujah! Of course, now I have a teenager who loves to shop. Last week, though, I let her buy “bread, hot chocolate, and packaging tape” from Marion Market, and the tab was $35, so we still have some kinks to work out.
But Walmart grocery pickup is kink-free.
It’s a little slice of heaven. I spent half an hour searching for my Thanksgiving list (which was about 50 items). By searching, I don’t mean wandering the store scrutinizing the product selection, wondering if crunchy noodles will be in the noodle aisle or the Asian aisle or a random end-cap somewhere.
You type it in, you click it, you pay for it, and you select a pickup time. KoKo called me to let me know my order was ready, and when I arrived, she put the bags in my van for me.
It was the best ten-minute trip ever.
Nothing was missing, nothing was crushed, and nothing was thawed.
Now I really can shop in my pajamas, and no one cares if the kids have on shoes or not.
But I’m still going to fix my hair.
Dorothy Wilson lives in Marion with her husband Chris as they enjoy all the adventures their seven children provide. Her column appears monthly in the Marion Ledger.
“ The Marion Mom” By Dorothy Wilson