Let’s Run Errands, or Not

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As a mother of five month old twins I find getting out the door to do errands a sometimes mountain sized challenge. Let’s just say I order everything possible via the internet for a reason. Efficiency is key once at the store, baby nerves wear thin fast when being snatched in and out of car seats and dashed through stores. I am certain their nerves reflect mine as we weave our way through curious fellow shoppers and attempt to more or less politely fend off the never ending barrage of questions from persistent folks. I set out to do my errands the other day, whisked my children away from their toys with which they were playing peacefully and prepared to stuff everyone into car seats.

imageEfficiency being foremost in my mind, I made certain I was set up for success. The car was loaded with reusable bags, car seats loaded with baby toys, diaper bag packed and at the ready. I was clad appropriately in mom shorts and nursing scarf and already wearing my baby carrier to avoid parking lot delays. Babies were fed and diapered with stuffed toys in hand and I began my first attempt at loading us all into the car. This was cut abruptly short as my little boy valiantly filled his diaper. Back to the changing table we went for a fast change. Not to be outdone, my little girl promptly filled her diaper. imageChanges complete, the hungry fussing began and I realized it was either take the time for a quick feeding or listen to screams all the way to the store. Feedings done, one more diaper change, and we were finally in the car and on our way with my poor sister in tow. By this point, the wind was screeching and getting from car to store was a challenge in and of itself. I hastily tucked my wee ones into the carrier and stroller and imagedashed into the grocery store.

In my rush, I dropped my bank card into the unzipped carrier pocket after checking out and then promptly forgot about it. We dashed to our next location, with one frantic stop at a light to give my hysterical little boy our trusty singing giraffe. I leapt back in the car still sporting my baby carrier and realized to my horror I had never taken my bank card out of the still open, and now empty, carrier pocket. I jumped back out of the car and frantically scoured the ground for my card, it was nowhere to be seen.

Back in the car and on our way to our next destination, I began to furiously berate myself that my brand new (very recently replaced due to having lost it twice recently before) shiny card was no doubt in repose at the last parking lot we had just left. I shot off a terse text to my husband, ‘LOST BANK CARD’, and as by now the babies were crying and hungry we all sat in the parking lot while I fed them and alternated singing quietly to the babies and vehemently scourging myself. So much for buying baby toys! I cried hysterically. Now we had to trek ALL the way across town AGAIN! My groceries were going to spoil, not to mention my card was lying around in a parking lot. Back to the grocery store we raced, and miraculously, my card was still there. My sister graciously allowed me to drop her and the groceries at home, and the babies and I were at last able to get the coveted toys. Next time, I’m just ordering them from Amazon.image

Personal space, or Baby Defense 101

imageIf you have a child, I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. Walking into a store with a baby is very much like dropping a magnet into a pool of metal shards. Suddenly, there are people in your face, in your baby’s face, and they seem to all have a story to tell. Some stories are sweet and short, some stories are, well, not so sweet and seem destined to last until the world ends. And the touching! Why do people think it’s ok to paw at my baby’s face, hands, and other parts?! I mean, yes I know my baby is cute and I’m sure you’re a real nice person, but no I’m not ok with you fondling my little one! They can’t exactly fend you off at this point, so I will.

I’ve already mastered the art of the nod/smile/walk quickly backwards while defending my babes with my arms/legs/shopping cart. And the questions! With twins, I’ve been asked everything from ‘are they identical’ (no…they’re boy and girl…) to ‘did you use fertility treatments’ to ‘you had twins, on purpose?!’. (Ummm….really?!). Yes, walk into a Whole Foods with a double stroller and everyone looks at you as if you’re single handedly ruining everyone’s carbon footprint. (Hey, I breastfeed AND cloth diaper, thank you very much).

I have decided that an important part of parenting is How to Defend your Baby in a Public Place. Just the other day, my mom and I were checking out of a Natural Grocers, each carrying a baby. The cashier asked with an expression of shock, ‘how close did you have them together?! How far apart are they?! How did you do that?!’ I stood in stunned silence, thankfully my mom had the presence of mind to reply in cool tones, ‘They’re two minutes apart, they’re TWINS’. I know my boy is a little bigger than my girl, but not that much bigger for goodness sake! Yes lady, I got pregnant while 2 months pregnant and gave birth twice in a span of weeks. While I was processing all this, another cashier approached, arms out, repeatedly asking to hold my girl. Are you serious?! Lady I don’t know you from Adam no you can’t hold my baby! We checked out and almost ran backwards out of that store.

I will admit before babies I wasn’t very good at confrontation. However, having little ones who depend entirely on me for protection has done wonderful things for my backbone. While you might get away with offending me and invading my personal space, invade my kids space and my claws come out. My baby can’t tell you that you’re making them uncomfortable, or that they feel violated. So, until they’re old enough to tell people themselves, (so maybe 25?) I will absolutely be telling people for them.

 

 

 

Errands, well planned chaos?

imageGetting out of the house and in and out of stores has become a bit more challenging these days. I will readily admit that if it were both possible and economically reasonable I would probably order everything online and have it delivered to my door step. And by everything, I mean, everything. Is it possible to have a smooth trip running around town doing errands wth babies in tow? Of course! But, mildly put, today was not that day.

The fact is, most of the time my errands consist of speedy, sometimes loud and often chaotic, dashes in and out of stores. No longer do I walk the aisles, I bounce up and down them in an effort to soothe fussy babes, all while trying to remember why I went down that aisle in the first place. When the cashier asks the typical, “did you find everything ok?” I survey the pile of groceries that multiplied in a seemingly miraculous manner, “oh yes…” I reply, wondering why exactly I thought I needed 7 bags of cheese. Then the dreaded, “did you bring your own bags?” I respond with an embarrassed “well yes but no because I left them right inside the door as I was dashing my twins one by one to the car in a desperate effort to finally get out the door but don’t worry I will recycle these”. The cashier nods in a condescending manner, as if they’ve heard this story many times before. I want to say, look lady, YOU try remembering bags on your way out the door with two babies but instead I just smile and know that one day if they have children, they too will forget their bags at times.

Today my husband came with me for errands, and having two people wrangling two babies undeniably makes it infinitely easier. But even that cannot prevent the chaos that insists on presenting itself at times. Knowing well the baby hunger game, I fed and diaper changed both babies in the car immediately before attempting the quick shopping we had to do. This entailed popping into one store for some bandana baby bibs I been coveting, (ha, like I “pop” in and out of anywhere these days),  grabbing a few groceries and some food for the cats. Despite having been fed less than five minutes previously, my little girl decided to wail her heart out incessantly the minute I put her in the carrier, and no, I am not one of those blissfully talented souls who can feed in the baby carrier. My baby boy, who was being carried by my husband, was on one of his infamous ‘nap strikes’ and had also begun crying inconsolably.

We briefly considered throwing in the towel and going home, but decided since we were already there, to brave it and just go for it. And let me tell you, if you think people don’t look at you enough with twins, try walking around with WAILING twins. One bonus, folks do tend to let you cut in line at the cashier, probably out of a desire to have the screaming go away. You know what’s fun? Bouncing, shushing, and trying to check out all at once. It’s great fun, really. You can imagine the looks on the cashiers faces.

We did all make it home in one piece, the babies resumed their more cheerful demeanors, and all was far more calm than just an hour before. We had survived the outing and the nosy fellow shoppers who all forget the concept of personal space the minute they see a baby, but that is another story for another day.