While Wife was down with the baby, recovering from the birth, I took most of the children shopping for some much needed groceries. That way I killed two birds with one stone. Wife got some quiet, and we all got to eat. Everybody is happy.
Anymore, when Wife goes shopping, she limits her stops to two. Maybe three, if it was a dire need. I, on the other hand, was not slowed by pregnancy or the energy drain of breast-feeding. So, with all the confidence of a badger taking on a bear, I decided to visit four stores with seven children. I would shop for our monthly supplies at the big-box store, and make a return at another, shop at a smaller grocery store, and stop at a pharmacy. I figured the trip would take me two or three hours.
I left #1 with Wife to keep her in bed, and to take care of #9 when he woke up. I can do a lot of things, but I was not about to wake up #9 just to buckle him in a car-seat. That kind of foolishness falls in line with a tiger crossing a tar-pit.
Well, our adventure began, and we plunged first into the big-box store. With all these children, yes I buy in bulk. What’s that? A box of a hundred and eighty diapers, I’ll take two, and twenty-five pounds of rice.
As we shopped, I had a lot of, “Dad, can we have those?” and “Daddy! We need that!” and “Can we get it just this once? Please. Please. Please.” I can see how a person with one or two children could just ignore them and just pretend they were quiet. The din of the store could mask it well enough. But if I let one get going, they would all start squawking like a nest full of baby birds.
But my children were not the only people trying to talk to me. It seemed every two or three minutes a stranger made a comment about the number of children with me. They were polite enough. Some gave encouragement or related to me. But most expressed their surprise that the children were all mine, like a small cave that inexplicably held an entire pack of timber wolves.
As I passed one gentleman, he gave a chuckle and said, “Looks like you need about three more.”
To which I automatically laughed and said truthfully, “Oh, I left them at home.”
We made our way through the store, and had to divert our trek to the bathroom only once. In all, the children were well behaved. So I treated them to a box of cookies.
Pack the van, and off to the next store.
At the next store, we picked up our discounted milk, and went to the bathroom. The children were still just as good as the last, and I still had cookies. Pass everyone another.
Two more stops.
We pulled up to the store to return the bad canned peaches, and go to the bathroom. That was where things got frustrating. The four boys suddenly felt the need to vent their energy. It was like pushing a cart full of ferrets. As soon as I settled two down, two more started up. Maybe those cookies were a bad idea. Or maybe Wife’s limited stops had more wisdom than I gave her credit for. In either case, the boys did not get cookies.
The pharmacy was the quickest stop. The children did behave, which was good for them, because I felt like an irritable crocodile. Ready to start biting off heads.
When we finally got home, it was seven hours later. But the work was not yet done. The groceries had to be put away, and dinner had to be made. I was as busy as squire on a nut farm. And, I was exhausted. Next time I will consult Wife more closely on her shopping strategies.