I reserve my evenings for “me” time. This is when I workout, relax, and drink a glass of wine while watching my favorite TV show (at the moment this is Weeds…dark humor in suburbia always sucks me in). This means if we want to eat, I have to grocery shop with my trio in tow. I actually don’t mind taking them to the store. They are usually very well behaved and that means 1 hour less of whining during the day! However, the “protocol” of taking the triplets anywhere is pretty lengthy and rarely goes as planned. Here is our typical grocery store trip…
About 20 minutes before I want to leave, I take a deep breath…
Protocol – Give the kids one last sip of milk before I put their sippy cups back in the fridge.
Mia finishes her milk and I put her cup in the fridge. Mia frantically screams when she sees Marcus sipping out of the blue straw cup. Mia gets a sip from the blue cup. Josie screams as Marcus grabs her yellow cup. Marcus takes a sip and throws the cup across the floor. Josie retrieves the stolen cup and sips down another 4 oz of the “yellow” milk and hands the cup to Mia. Mia throws the blue cup across the floor. I retrieve the cups, put them in fridge and wipe up all the milk that has leaked from the “spillproof cups”. The kids scream frantically signing “milk”
Protocol – Put the kids shoes on
I slip on Marcus’s shoes. Mia pulls his right shoe off. I slip on Mia’s right shoe as she squirms and kicks. She hands Marcus’s shoe to Josie who tries to put it on her foot. I pull Marcus’s shoe off Josie’s foot and get her shoes on. She sits and plays with her feet. Marcus has pulled his other shoe off and Mia has taken it into the ball pit in the other room. I frantically dig for Marcus’s shoe while Josie goes and opens the “childproofed” kitchen cupboard. I find Marcus’s other shoe by the front door. I finally get both Marcus’s shoes on. I find Mia’s other shoe in the toy bin and after about a 5 minute struggle, get it on her foot.
Protocol – Grab the diaper bag
I grab the diaper bag from the hall bench and lay it on the living room chair while I go grab Josie from the kitchen. I discover bowls and snacks all over the floor. Oh well, I will clean it up later. Grab Josie and head back to the living room. Marcus and Mia have pulled the diaper bag down from the chair and have taken all the diapers and happy meal toys out. Forget it, let them play with the “special” toys and throw the diapers back in the diaper bag.
Protocol – Carry two kids out to the car and put them in their carseats. Come back for the third child and a diet coke (If I didn’t drink in the car I would be perpetually dehydrated. I’m afraid I drink lots of diet soda now).
Shoot, I can’t pull the darn door leading to the garage closed anymore while holding my two 20 pound children. F%^& it, Josie can’t go down stairs yet and she is the cautious child. Buckle Mia into her seat and let Marcus sit on the garage floor. Struggle for 3 minutes as Mia wrestles the car seat straps. Retrieve Marcus from under the workbench on the other side of the garage, sh%^, is that a screwdriver in his hand? Crap, Marcus just pooped his clean diaper! Ugg, Josie is trying to come down the garage steps head first! Grab Josie with one arm (Marcus is in my other arm). Set Marcus on the floor and buckle Josie in who is frantically clicking her tongue for her stuffed kitty. Where the H$## is kitty? Find kitty on the floor of the garage outside Josie’s door. CRAP, Marcus has climbed back up the garage steps and is now back in the house. F$%& it, he needed a new diaper anyway. It is REALLY HOT in the car and the girls are whining. Start the engine to give the girls some air (the garage door is open) and turn on their Baby Einstein DVD’s. Sh%^, Josie’s DVD player won’t turn on. Finally, figure out how to get the DVD player to work and go inside to get Marcus. Marcus is playing with the bowls and snacks that are strewn all over the kitchen floor. Pick up the kid, change his diaper and finally buckle him into his carseat. All three kids are quiet and mesmerized by the miracle that is van DVD players.
Protocol – Make sure I have diaper bag with wallet, phone and grocery list before pulling out of driveway
Sh#$, I forgot I took my wallet out last night to order that damn book on “surviving toddlerhood with multiples” (because that will solve all my problems). Run inside, grab my wallet from my desk and FINALLY pull out of the driveway. Sh$%, I forgot my diet coke. F$#% it, I’m so dehydrated as it is, what is another hour without a drink. Gosh it’s bright out here…God only knows where my sunglasses are, I sure as he$% am not going to try to locate them now. 40 minutes has passed since I thought about mobilizing the kids.
Protocol – Drive through the parking lot until you find a monster truck size Target cart in a cart return. Hope for a parking space close by.
Yes, somehow I always luck out with this step!
Protocol – As soon as I exit the car, put the van keys in my right front pocket. Get the cart, wipe it down with a bacteria wipe, place Mia’s infant carseat in the “I have too many kids seat”, place Marcus in the front of the cart and place Josie in the Ergo backpack carrier. Grab your diaper bag, lock the van and head into store.
Pop out Mia’s carseat and place it in the “I have too many kids seat” (I do not know what I will do when Mia grows another ½ inch and can no longer safely ride in her infant seat..God knows she is not going to be able to sit in the “I have to many kids” seat with only one buckle holding her down). Sh%^, the cart is missing the child strap in the front seat. F%^&; it, place Marcus in the seat anyway and hope for the best. Crap, I forgot to wipe the cart down and Marcus already is chewing on the grocery cart bar. F$%^ it! Grab the diaper bag, throw it in the cart, close the van door and wheel on over to the other side of the car to retrieve Josie. Sh^%, I forgot to grab the backpack carrier from the other side of the van. F$%^ it, climb over Josie and her seat and grab the backpack carrier. Finagle Josie in the carrier and roll eyes as Mia laughs hysterically as she pulls off Marcus’s shoes. Close the other van door and wait patiently for the damn automatic door to lock into place (good lord, why do these doors have to take so long to close, don’t they know a mom driving a van runs in fast forward!) Grab keys out of front pocket. Wait…where are the fu%^ing keys! Open van doors and search frantically for keys. Find goldfish, puffs, dirty diapers, and stuffed animals on van floor but no keys. Dig through diaper bag…no keys. Look in Mia’s carseat…no keys! Check Marcus’s pockets (hey…you never know and I stopped thinking logically months ago), no keys. Realize that Josie kicking me in the a##, hurts more than usual and realize my keys are in my right back pocket. What the h#$$ was I thinking? Shut all van doors…tap my feet waiting for doors to close and lock doors. Wheel into Target
Protocol – Grab the items off my list while in motion. Do not stop to browse or read labels at any cost. Avoid eye-contact with everyone and try to be polite if someone makes any “you have your hands full comments”
I am the master at this…no problem. I have grabbed everything from my list (minus store brand diapers and formula which Target is almost always out of) in record time and have made it to the check-out with only minimal stares. I am feeling awesome! Sh$#, Marcus’s shoes are no longer in Mia’s hands or carseat. F%^& it, I am going to have to go back through the store to find them. PHEW! They are in the grocery cart (who knows how, who cares)! Sh^&, I forgot the canvas grocery bags..oh well, at least I bought environmentally friendly dish soap (and another 100 disposable diapers). Feel a tinge of frustration when the check-out lady asks me for my ID when ringing up the huge box of wine (HELLO…I have 3 children) but then realize I must look under 21 and feel fabulous (just let me believe this).
Protocol – Unload the kids into the car and then the groceries. Otherwise I will not have room to climb into the van to put the kids away.
F$%^, you have got to be Sh&^ing me! A teenager has parked their SUV right up against the right side of the van. How am I supposed to load the kids in the car! Load Josie into the left side of the van because she is on my back and that is the only seat I can reach. Frantically look for anyone in the parking lot who could help me out. No one..at the busiest place in suburbia, no one is around. Move the kids in the cart into an empty parking space next to the van, quickly get in the van and pull out into the parking aisle. Load my kids and groceries into the van before someone calls the police. F%^&; it, leave the cart in the empty parking space rather than wheel up to cart return. Fantasize about leaving a nasty note on the teenagers SUV and a picture of my triplets that says “I hope this happens to you!”
Protocol – Arrive home; keep the car and DVD’s running while I unload the groceries. Then, turn off the car and unload the kids. Put away the groceries.
Sh$%, I accidently turn off the car as soon as I put it in park. The kids immediately start whining since their DVD’s have turned off. Quickly carry as many groceries as I can into the house in one load while the kids start screaming. Kick myself for trying to save the environment by requesting my milks not be put into bags and attempt to carry in 2 gallons of milk and 6 bags of groceries at one time. Finally unload the kids (by this point you can imagine how smoothly this must go) and get into the house. Realize Marcus has already decided to help put away groceries when I find a banana in the hallway. Sh$#, I forgot to close the bathroom door when I frantically peed (which only happens once or twice a day due to my lack of liquid intake) before leaving the house and now Mia and Josie are splashing around in the toilet. Get the kids out of the bathroom (this is not as easy as it should be because as soon as one is out the door, the other crawls back in while the other pulls the door back open, etc.). Crap, Marcus has managed to open the puffs I just bought and they are now all over the kitchen floor. The girl’s realize this and come running over. They are eating puffs before I get a chance to wipe down their hands after playing in the toilet. F#$% it, my ice-cream is going to melt If I don’t get it in the freezer pronto.
Protocol – Congratulate myself on another successful grocery store trip, take a deep breath and start dinner.
I frantically grab a glass of wine, gulp it down and celebrate making it home. Thank goodness our kids are so darn cute! Can’t wait for our trip next week.