My six year old and I started a new bonding ritual: Friday night grocery runs.
After a long week, all I wanted was my weekly 90 minutes of freedom: going to the supermarket.
“Oh, can I come?” T asked chirpily.
“Oh, fuck no,” I said to myself in my head.
But I simply said, “No.”
“Please!” He begged and gave me a big hug, pulling out the charm offensive.
“Ok, fine. You can come,” I said.
He cheered. He was practically bouncing off the walls by the time we walked out the door.
In early days of parenting, learning about T’s prognosis and experiencing his hyperactive impulsive behaviour and meltdowns often made me anxious when we went out.
But I have to say he’s mostly good now with going out and it’s a blessing I don’t take for granted.
I am strategic about the places we go out to. He’s a kid who’ll sometimes start doing half cartwheels and front rolls at a restaurant just because he can’t help himself.
A supermarket is a place I often avoid with T, because I know he can’t resist wanting to touch everything and I dread the thought of chasing him up and down the aisles.
But there’s something appealing about getting T into the habit of doing groceries with me.
It’s a life skill we can nurture and help teach him about responsibility.
It’ll remind him that things cost money and to value the food we have on our table.
It’ll hopefully open his eyes to the variety of food options and encourage our picky eater to widen his palette.
When we arrived at the parking lot, I gave him my usual before-we-enter-a-store talk.
“Please don’t do anything that’ll make us go viral on the Internet for the wrong reasons,” I said to myself in my head.
Instead, I reminded him to not touch or grab anything without asking.
T is getting to be quite big, now at 4 feet. But I still plopped him into a cart and he was happy to be pushed around.
My mission was to go in and out as quickly as I could.
I have to say that T did a great job.
He was like a tour bus driver, loudly narrating and pointing out all the vegetables and fruits in the produce aisle to nearby shoppers.
“Oh look, brocoli!” …
“Oh my God, is that a coconut?!”
I asked him to make decisions along the way, like which type of pasta, ramen flavour, cereal, snack and fruit to buy.
I also handed him the non produce items to sort onto the cart. He created a big messy mountain on one corner of the cart, as expected.
He clung onto his Gluten free Oreos.
“You’re going to have to give that to the man now,” I said when we arrived at the checkout.
He watched everything get scanned and then finally gave his Oreos to the cashier.
He has no idea what Gluten free means, he just liked the white packaging, different from the usual Oreo packaging.
We were in and out without incident and I have to say that I enjoyed his company.
When we got to the car, I gave him several high fives, genuinely delighted at this bonding time that we spent together.
“Do you want to do groceries with Papa every Friday?” I asked, because I’m clearly a masochist who needs a sanity check.
“Yup!” He replied back with a smile.