Toilet Paper & Shopping Cart Roulette

Last night I was faced with not one dilemma, but two.

I had an upset stomach. The kind that had just put both my co-workers out for the previous day. The kind that makes your heart race and the blood drain from your face. The kind that makes you double over in pain. You know the kind.

I got out of work and drove to pick up my kids at daycare. I need to go to the store and buy toilet paper. Do I get the kids and go home and go to the bathroom? Or do I just wait and go home and THEN go get toilet paper? Then it hits me. We don't have toilet paper at home. I can't go home without it. That means going to the store in this state and praying to God that I make it out without incident.

My daycare provider kindly offered to let me borrow a roll and I guess I figured that would make my day too easy so I thanked her and declined her offer. Then I took my two kids to the store.


I wanted to hurry home. I'm not a shopping cart snob and threw both of my children into the basket, hoping that it would save time on our trip. Two kids who are happy to sit together, who aren't expected to walk or be buckled in equals two children who are happy and travel through the store as fast as I can push the cart.

We were without incident right up until the very end. As my children sat in the shopping cart, I loaded the car quickly. Then came that moment that all mother's have. You look at your two kids and you know you can only put one in the car at a time. The wind was blowing and it was chilly out and my youngest wasn't wearing any socks. For some reason this decision always feels like I'm choosing one of the two to live and one to die. Shopping cart roulette. Maybe that's too dramatic. Maybe no one would die. Maybe one would just be kidnapped or hit by a car or suffer the elements for an extra 3 minutes while I buckle their sibling safely into the car.

I took a whole 2 seconds to look my children over.

On this day, I chose the sockless baby.

As I wrestled with his straps and fought his arms through the loops, there was a gust of wind and I heard my daughter yell from behind me, "Woohoo!" I turned around to see that she was standing in the cart as though it was a surfboard. She was rocked it with her knees as the wind picked up off she went. The cart began rolling downhill towards the edge of the parking lot, straight for the ditch. The wind swirled her hair around her head and she continued to shout, "Woohoo!"

I took one look at my half-buckled son and ran to catch the run-away cart. In four steps I saw images of my daughter flying out of the cart, face down in a gutter. It's a wonder I didn't shit my pants right there, but no, I caught up to the cart and stopped it just before it toppled into the ditch.

"What happened?!" I asked her. I was full of relief and upset stomach-ness and more relief.

"Can I do it again? That was fun!"

Oh yea, loads of fun.

The fact is, nothing about this shopping trip was remarkable at all. This is my life. This is parenting at its finest. If I learned anything from this experience it was: 1) Don't ever run out of toilet paper and 2) One of these days one of my children is going to ride a shopping cart into a ditch. Luckily, it wasn't that day.    


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