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Running errands with a toddler is an Olympic event

GAYS MILLS - The joys of taking a toddler in public never seems to end I find. The more his language develops, and the more he can move, the more exciting formerly mundane trips out become—a mom Olympics of sorts.

We learned the hard way that big box stores like Wal-Mart are a bit over stimulating for our social toddler.

Although it’s been reported to us by his grandparents who take the young lad shopping periodically that he is the perfect gentlemen, we found that, as with many things Thatchy does, it is not the case for ol’ Ma and Dah.

We have this sort of strange Saturday ritual that we’ve recently developed where we toodle to Viroqua, go to breakfast and the chiropractor and one of the three grocery stores to pick up a few things for the week.

Pre-baby days, Chasca and I would go to the big city every Saturday morning lazily getting breakfast and slowly wandering the aisles of the co-op, gabbing, dreaming and having a good time.

Now, breakfast and shopping have become somewhat of an Olympic event. The chiropractor is usually the most relaxing meat of the sandwich.

The thing about it is, Thatcher loves people. He loves charming people and shouting “HI!” across a room. He also, has the patience of a toddler.

It seems like he is slowly learning that we have to wait for our pancakes at the restaurant and that no matter how much he yells “NUMMY NAH!” joyously, the waitress will only smile at him and pinch his cheek, but not bring the grub any faster. 

We have also learned that he is an orange juice monster, and that if we forget and order it, we either have to slam it with extreme speed or figure out a way to safely hold it between our knees under the table while the little guy trades parents back and forth.

Once fueled on maple syrup and bacon grease the young lad is cut loose into his favorite chiropractor’s office. He is usually adjusted first and then Dr. Paul lets him “help” adjust mom and dad, which usually involves some light karate chopping from his sticky little hands.

All of that could be thought of as training for the real gold medal event of the day, the shopping trip.

We try to plan accordingly, so we can get in and get out at breakneck speed.

Seemingly charged by the florescent lighting and masses of people scuttling through the aisles of endless items, Thatcher really shines at the store.

“Vroom Vroom Vroom!” he exclaimed from his perch in the cart, refusing to sit in the baby seat, opting instead for the lower section generally reserved for groceries.

Before long however, the young man begins to request “down down down!” to wander free and greet the smiling faces.

One of the more comical incidents that really set the bar high for shopping trip comedy was when we discovered little feather sticks for cats and grabbed one. We gave it to the toddler thinking he would be entertained for the remainder of the shopping.

Entertained he was, chasing other shoppers and squealing with glee  “HI!!!” He chirped while waving the fluffy little tail at the shoppers, seemingly hoping they would bat at it like a frisky kitten, before taking off running at them waving it more seriously and squealing with laughter. Luckily, Chasca has long legs and arms and was able to stop this madness before he delivered an unwelcomed prod to someone.

Once deposited back into the cart and told that other shoppers are in fact not frisky kitties, the momentum of the trip declined and the remainder of the trip looked something like the show Super Market Sweep, as we ran through the store like there was a big clock counting down.

It’s reassuring though that I am not the only one, as I explain this to my friends with kids. They just laugh and share their stories of their kids taking bites out of every apple available for sale in the store, or hiding for hours in a clothing rack.

If there ever was a Mom Olympics though, a supermarket division should surely be included.