The terrible twos are terrible. It true.
My once sweet and innocent little baby is now a toy throwing, temper tantrumy, little hellion. Not only has her attitude done a complete turn around, she has now learned to climb furniture, turn on the oven, flush the toilet, hit, kick, and emotionally manipulate. Yes, I said emotionally manipulate. If that isn’t enough, she is still the cutest little thing I have ever seen in my life. The terrible twos are Russian Roulette for mom, the most adorable toddler, doing the most horrible things to-date. Talk about mind blowing.
Yet with all this “terribleness” going on you still have to shop for groceries with your toddler, potty train them, get rid of their crib, take them to events and (the big one) discipline them. This is the age where they are able to learn right from wrong. So guess what tired single mama?! You have to teach them!
I tried to write one long blog about Squeak as a two year old, and how we’re dealing with this phase in our mother/daughter life. However, there is so much to say, most of it being ongoing, that I’ve decided to break it up into parts, this is the very first part.
I’m just going to put this out there. I used to judge parents when their child was throwing a fit at any fine shopping establishment. I used to think, “Man, learn how to discipline your kid.” with a judgmental grimace on my face. Now people judge me. My child is horrible in the store. She grabs stuff off the rack, she screams, she cries, and she tries to jump out of the cart.
I am totally serious when I say that I AM NOT that mom that laughs and giggles as my kid annoys all of Walmart. I very much believe in teaching her how to behave in public. Thus, I give her the death stare, I do the Nanny 911 “I mean business” voice, and I threaten. It goes nowhere. If anything, it makes Squeak want to act out even more because she’s definitely not getting her way and she wants to take me down with her. It’s so embarrassing.
However, I do have three things I now do that help out our entire shopping experience. Only when I don’t think ahead, do I have a horrible time shopping with Squeak. They are pretty obvious little tweaks that most seasoned mothers already do. I thought they were genius.
1. Candy necklaces. She gets one on the way into the store, or while we are there and she’s being good. I do NOT give out candy necklaces after she has started acting up. I don’t want her to think she gets candy when she’s bad, that sends the wrong message. I’m thinking about trying apple slices too, she loves them, but that might make a big mess I’d have to clean up along the way. I like the necklaces because they stay around her neck and she has fun munching on them. I don’t keep candy in my apartment, just healthy treats, but my glove compartment is a veritable treasure chest. Really any tried and true method of distraction will work. She used to love suckers, so I kept those with me.
2. The race method. That candy necklace is a count down. I try to be in and out in the length of time it takes her to eat it. Does it always happen? Of course not. My town may be tiny, but I swear to you, every single person goes to Walmart at the same time. Even if I get the majority of my shopping done by the time that necklace is gone, I consider it a success.
The point here is to be realistic. I have a two year old in my cart, in a store, full of brand new, shiny and curious things. It’s only a matter of time before she starts boundary testing and wants to get out and go crazy. Some day she will be older, she will have an attention span, then we can shop peacefully and try on hats and drink smoothies (yes, I have this very clear picture in my mind). However, today is not that day. As Jeff Dunham so eloquently put it ” Welcome to Walmart, get your shit and get out.”
The race method only works if you are prepared. Which brings me to number three.
3. One hell of a shopping list. Organize everything on your list by department, and from exit to entrance. That way you can walk in and grab what you need in an organized, timely, fashion. Kids feed off your energy, if they can tell you are stressed and temperamental, they will become stressed and temperamental. To me, an organized shopping list is like a map, and I follow its direction from beginning to end.
Those are my tips for surviving necessary shopping trips as a single mom. They seem to work quite well with my daughter because they help keep the trip as predictable as possible. If she’s super crabby, and I have a few things left to eat in the apartment, I don’t take her shopping. When we do go together it’s usually after she wakes up and eats breakfast. That way I know she’s well rested, fed, and ready for her day. Shopping is an awesome time for a two year old to learn and experience the world around them, even if they tend to get temperamental. I hope these ideas at least moved the odds in your favor.
What are your tips and tricks for shopping with kids? I can probably learn something from you!
To read a very interesting article on surviving the terrible twos, please click here!