Carts.

My whole entire life revolves around carts. Store carts. Okay, not my whole life, but most of my mother-strategizing revolves around carts.

When I had one child, the extent of my tactical planning about shopping was 1) bring some goldfish crackers, and 2) park near the cart corral in the parking lot.

Once I had three children under three, however, the logistics were cranked up to a whole new level. We’re talking The Situation Room just to leave the house. Intelligence analysis. I had one who couldn’t reliably walk through a store and two who couldn’t hold their own heads up. Shopping carts were not an option at all. My only option for shopping alone was to take my triple stroller. I could only buy what would fit in the basket of the triple stroller, and (I’m speaking from experience here) that was NOT a pack of diapers or a can of formula.

costco cartOnce the twins could, you know, sit up, my options improved dramatically. Then I could actually fit two kids in the front of a cart, and one kid in the back. The problem with this plan was that the only place that had double-seater carts was Costco. So, at least I could go to Costco, right? Right – if all I wanted to buy was maybe a can of formula. Not much else is going to fit in the back of a cart with a kid back there.

Once my oldest could reliably walk beside me in a store, my options opened up ever more. Then I could go to Costco, with the twins in the double-seater front of the cart, and my oldest walking beside me. (I still couldn’t go anywhere else, because nowhere else has double-seaters. And I can’t trust either twin to sit in the back of a cart yet.) I could fill up the back of the cart with all our groceries, instead of my kid. Well, I could do that… when I wanted him to whine “I’m tired. My legs hurt. I want to go home. I can’t walk.” through the entire store.

Another option that became possible was shopping with the double stroller, which is SO much lighter than the triple stroller, while having my oldest walk through the store (again, while tantrum-ing). I could only buy what would fit in the bottom basket of that stroller, though, or what would balance precariously on the top of the handles of the stroller.

I, of course, buy diapers in bulk, so I have to balance that bulk box on top of the handles of the stroller, while steering it, and while a grouchy kid clings to my legs. Suddenly, he will decide he wants to steer the stroller himself, which keeps him happy and then I can carry the big box in my arms… until he careens into innocent bystanders.

And SPEAKING OF BYSTANDERS,

Why does no one ever help me? I think I look pretty friendly and open. Maybe it’s because I have the look of a crazed animal in my eyes. Maybe it’s because I haven’t slept in years and my ponytail is always askew. I think if I saw a mother with three children careening around and a giant box of diapers balanced precariously on top of the extremely-heavy-and-hard-to-push stroller, I would offer to help. But nope. Never. What’s the point of living in the south if no one is going to be chivalrous? Sheesh.

Other options I have tried include:two carts

-getting two carts. I push one and pull the other. I look ridiculous, I crash a lot, I usually amputate one of my kids’ legs, and it really hurts my wrists. But it works in an emergency.

-asking a friend to meet me there and push a cart for me. This only works if you have friends without children. Or friends with children in school. Since I am mostly friends with other Mormon moms who have about 17 children each who aren’t yet in kindergarten, this option is a pipe dream.

-parking next to the BIG DADDY CART.

My oldest said, "Look, momma, we found a cart that fits all our children!"

My oldest said, “Look, momma, we found a cart that fits all our children!”

<— You know what I’m talking about. Each Target has, like, maybe one of these things.

The Holy Grail of Carts, The Big Daddy Cart, is the monstrosity with the cart and the wagon all together. This cart fits one child in the basket and two children in the wagon. Sadly, my Target does not have one of these. Sometimes, I will drive ten more minutes to the next-closest-Target, hoping against hope that I can get that cart. I believe the next-closest-Target has one of these crazy contraptions in its entire store. ONE TIME, I was lucky enough to snag it… and my husband happened to be there that time, so I didn’t even need it anyway.

And, the only possible way that I can even USE the Big Daddy Cart is if it happens to be in the parking lot cart corral. I will circle the entire parking lot in my minivan, looking for that thing. If that thing is in the store, how exactly am I supposed to get all three kids across the great expanse of life-endangering parking lot? One of my kids is a bolt of lightning who doesn’t hold hands. I would have to secure the twins in the double stroller just to get them across the parking lot, then hope that the Big Daddy Cart would be waiting for me inside. Then I could fold up the double stroller and put it inside the Big Daddy Cart with all three children. Then I could shop.

It never works. I usually can’t find the Big Daddy Cart and then I am just stuck with buying, again, what will fit in the basket or what I dare to balance on top of the handles, while my oldest yells that his legs don’t work anymore and he needs to lie down on the Target floor for a rest.

And, oh, yeah, he has to go to the bathroom now, too.

Just then, a mom with merely twins casually strolls by me in the only Big Daddy Cart in the whole store, with ONE EMPTY SEAT. How dare she? She smiles at me with her non-askew ponytail and I want to make it go askew.

 

***

Just FYI, I don’t attempt any of these maneuvers on a regular basis. My husband took over the grocery shopping when I was on bedrest – and I will take it back when the twins go to Kindergarten. Or college. I do the shopping for the diapers/household goods/accidentally-purchased-cute-dresses when my sweet in-laws come for their weekly visit. I am a very lucky momma.

 

Moms Are Not Good for the Environment: An Apology to the Earth

I guess I do bathe them sometimes.

I guess I do bathe them sometimes.

As my dad always says, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions!” Despite my good intentions, since I have become a mom of three, I apparently no longer care about the environment. Well, I do, but you would never know that because of all this naughty stuff I do.

I used to be an environmentalist. I was careful with resources. I have been taking care of this earth since I convinced my parents to start recycling in the early 90s when I was a mere pre-teen.  It was no easy feat to recycle while living on a mountain with no trash-pickup! It required going all the way into the next town to the real dump, and not just to the dumpster in our own little town. We paved the way to the recycling center!

Anyway, sorry, Earth, here’s a list of things I used to never do… but now I do them because I am an Okayest Mom. I am an Okayest Mom who is paving the way to hell – or at least to the landfill – with my good intentions .

Using paper plates sometimes: I swear, I never did this before kids. I never even bought paper plates before! But now, sometimes the dishwasher is just too full. And sometimes I haven’t unloaded it. Also, it already takes me about 20 minutes to clean up after each meal at this stage, because of all the food on the floor and the two high chairs, and sometimes I can’t spare any more minutes that the dishes would …oh, well, nevermind. Excuses.

Using paper napkins: I was raised on cloth napkins. I used them in the first eight years of my marriage. I like them. They were not a big deal. Now they are.

Using ridiculous amounts of paper towels: We go through a Costco-sized pack of paper towels more often than I’d like to admit. With my first son, I wiped the cute little sweet potatoes off my cute little sweet potato’s cheeks with a cute little washcloth and let it dry on the cute little towel rack. No. No more. There is no towel rack big enough to hold all the washcloths I would need to clean these twins. Also, we have a lot of clean-ups that involve things that I don’t want to see on a regular towel.

Using ridiculous amounts of disposable diapers: I used cloth diapers for a short time with my first son. I actually kind of liked it. It wasn’t too bad. Plus, his bum was enormous – and enormously cute – in those things. However, once my twins came, those cloth diapers were out the window. (Or, to be more precise, they were on their way to the consignment sale.) At our peak, when I had three kids in diapers and the twins were doing that pooping-every-hour newborn thing, we used more than 25 disposable diapers per day. To the landfills of the world, I am truly truly sorry.

Using ridiculous amounts of wipes: To all those more-hippie-than-me moms who are using those reusable washcloth wipes or making their own wipes, I salute you. I think.

Wasting gas by driving around to keep a sleeping baby asleep: I would have never ever done this in my pre-mom life. But a parent will do ANYTHING to keep a baby asleep. Tiptoe, stop breathing… you name it, we’ve done it. And so have you! Don’t lie.

Wasting gas by idling the car to keep a sleeping baby asleep: See above. (Funny how I didn’t waste gas back when it was only a dollar per gallon, but now I will willingly waste it at four dollars a gallon when the budget is tight. Go me!)

Not recycling as much as I used to: Okay, for this one, I am super ashamed. It is hard to admit, but sometimes I am too tired or too busy to rinse out the dang yogurt container, and I just throw it away because it’s easier. Seeing other people do that used to make me really angry.

Letting a kid pull out all the wipes, tissues, or toilet paper: If it allows me to shower or make dinner, who am I to stop him? I calculate how much that roll or box cost me, and then I ask myself if the peace is worth that price, and the answer is always yes. The earth might disagree.

Using more propane, oil, or electricity: Turn that heat up, baby! If my kid is waking up with cold hands and feet after being clothed in a long-sleeve onesie, socks, and fleece footed zip-up jammies overnight, then it’s too cold in here. (By the way, that was only one of my kids. I also have one normal one and one who feels like a furnace that has a fever.)

Letting the water run: I will happily let the water run in the sink for 45 minutes to keep my preschooler occupied quietly. Sorry. It’s water therapy, right? Besides, I make up for it by hardly ever bathing my children. And, when I finally do bathe them, all three share the same bath water.  Also, my own showers are super short. As my friend Anne once said, “My shower is only as long as the crib mobile’s song.”

Okayest Mom wants the earth to know that she is SO SORRY. When my kids are in school, I will make it up to you.

Because I will be sleeping, in the dark, all day long, without using any resources.

2-Year-Old Kid Quotes

I am writing these quotes down for R. You can read them or not.

sarahs pic

From when he was two years old…

Me: Where’s your smart brain?
R: In my head.
Me: Yes!
R: Can you open it?

At church:
Me: This is Jesus’ house and we need to be reverent and quiet.
R: [thinking] Jesus come R’s house?

Me: NO!
R: Time-out?
Me: I didn’t say you had to go in time-out.
R: PLEEEEEEASE TIME-OUT?!

R: R so happy. R show Daddy smile.

After a bath:
R: Water go bye-bye? Water go home?

On the way to Grandma’s house:
R: Grammy so happy see R?
Me: Yes. Are you happy?
R: No. R not happy. R big boy.

To the dog:
R: Don’t goose Momma. No goose.

Talking to Daddy on his toy phone:
R: Hi Daddy. How you? You all done work? Fireplace on. Babies crying please.

After a diaper change:
R: Let me see it poop. Looks like hot dogs. Hot dogs Costco.