Because I like a challenge, and because I’m trying to prepare for the fact that I’m going to be a single mom for most of October (more on that later…) and because we were out of bananas, laundry detergent, yogurt and other staples at the Baby Squared household, I decided to go to the supermarket today – by myself, with the girls.
While I’ve gone to the store with them before, it’s always been when I just needed a few things and could put them in a hand-held basket or stash them under the stroller. Today, however, I attempted my first all-out, major, triple-digit shopping trip avec twins. I’m proud to report that it was a resounding success.
Just follow these handy tips and you too can successfully shop with two human beings under the age of one.
What you’ll need:
A car, equipped with car seats
A backpack baby carrier (I used the Kelty Wanderer(tm), bought second-hand from another MOT)
Two babies capable of sitting up on their own
Pacifiers or toys or whatever else you generally use to distract and appease said babies
Strong quadruceps and decent core strength
Before you go:
Make your shopping list. You don’t want to be wandering aimlessly around a supermarket with fifteen to twenty pounds of infant on your back.
Feed and diaper your babies, and make sure they’ve recently had a nap. The last thing you want on your hands is cranky-ass babies.
Eat something. You’ll need your energy.
Pee. (This is good advice for any time you’re going to the grocery store.)
In the parking lot:
Choose a spot close to the entrance or a shopping cart corral
Get thee a shopping cart with four functional wheels and a working safety strap for the seat part.
Choose the smaller of your two babies and remove her from her car seat. Set the backpack carrier on the tailgate or in the trunk of your car and load your child in. Put on backpack, inhale deeply and stand up. Adjust as needed to make sure your underwear is not showing. Damned low-rise jeans.
Remove the larger of your two babies from her car seat and put her into the seat portion of the shopping cart. Good mothers will wipe the cart down with sanitary wipes prior to this step. Mothers like me will not, rationalizing that it’ll help build up baby’s resistance to germs.
Proceed to the nearest entrance.
In the store:
Shop as you normally would, but remember the following:
When bending down to reach something on a low shelf or to retrieve a fallen pacifier or toy, go straight down, bending at the knees. Remember: you have a baby on your back.
Do not take more than two or three steps away from your cart (and the baby in it) at any time. This means that if, while you’re in the cereal aisle you realize that you forgot to get lemons, you can’t just leave your cart and sprint back to the produce section like you used to. You have to take the whole kit and kaboodle, big baby and small, cart and all, back to produce. This is why a good list is essential. (As if you’re actually together enough to make a truly complete list before you go. Ha!)
Watch out for those protruding coupon dispensers. Remember: you have a baby on your back.
Do not be alarmed when people smile in your direction, but at the level of the top of your head. They are not crazy. They are looking at the baby on your back.
Have one of the free sample cookies on the counter in the bakery section. You’ll totally burn it off walking around with a baby on your back.
When you leave the store:
Put the grocery bags into your trunk or rear compartment
Remove baby from cart and secure in car seat.
Sit on rear of car to take off backpack, remove baby from backpack, put into carseat.
Pat yourself on the back. You done good, kiddo.
Bring the babies inside first, deposit into exersaucers or other containment devices.
Bring groceries into house, preferably while shaking your head in disgust at how poorly and inefficently they’ve been bagged. (That stupid kid used a whole bag for ONE loaf of bread. One loaf! Why does he hate the earth? Why didn’t I remember to bring used paper bags? Why do I hate the earth?)
Find Zweiback biscuits you bought and give to babies to keep them occupied while you put the groceries away
The most important step of all: Be sure you have a nice Sauv. blanc chilling in the fridge for after the babies go to bed.
Oh yes, and one more thing — be sure to snap a picture with your phone to document the occasion, even though it will be very tiny when you post it on your blog:
Laundry detergent, Elsa, basmati rice