Thursday, February 12, 2004

My Own Cart
I like to think that I am a very in-tune and sensitive stay-at-home-dad. Even so, it's still so easy to see this world through our adult filters. Last night, when getting Four ready for bed, M asked him what his favorite part of the day was. He responded, "Going to the supermarket and getting my own cart!" Such a simple pleasure. For me, the event was mildly stressful. I had already done my weekly shopping on Monday, and was now just picking up a few things first from BJ's (our nearest buy-in-bulk club -- hey, if it's good enough for Ice Cube -- it's good enough for me) and then from Wegman's. Interesting that BJ's, a store for the thrifty at heart, and Wegman's, a store with very upscale selections, share essentially the same address. Anyway, that's a different story. On the way to BJ's, Four was complaining that he did not want to go to BJ's, and that he wanted to go to the mall. The local mall with its indoor playground has become his diversion of the season. Again, another story. To make the experience more enticing to the three-and-a-half year old, I promised that if he was a good boy in BJ's, he could push his own "customer-in-training" cart at Wegman's. You would have thought that I had promised him gold. He was an angel in BJ's -- sitting in the BJ's double-wide cart next to his sister, he gave LuLu more hugs and kisses than she cared for and practically force fed her the snacks I brought for them to share.

The local Wegman's must have been designed by either a mad man or a marketing genius. It's one of those stores that I want to like because of their awesome produce and breadth of selections, including a decent ethnic foods section, but the layout makes it impossible to get around easily. When it first opened, I assumed that it was just because it was new and once everyone figured it out things would get much easier. Well, they haven't. There is just no flow. There's apparently a marketing factoid that the longer, people stay in a store, the more they buy. This store must be raking in the dough. Again, I digress. Through the marketing maze, even with his own cart, or maybe especially with his own cart, Four was again an angel. Putting bananas, celery, yogurt, and only one unauthorized purchase in his cart, he followed LuLu and me through the store like a veteran shopper. One of the attractions for him at Wegman's is the large (O-Scale?) train that hangs from the ceiling. This day the train was not running. He asked me why. I told him I did not know and that he should ask one of the workers. He marched right over to a woman in a Wegman's apron and stocking shelves on a ladder. He made his initial inquiry and then began to quiz her about the nature of her work. You know, all the W's your mom always wanted to know: who, what, when, where, and, most importantly to Four, WHY. It's a shame we can't get him out of his shell more. ;^)

At checkout, they were doing Cholesterol screenings. Of course, he was very curious about this. He's a bit afraid of needles and shots and was quite nervous. He kept saying, "This is terrible." I tried to explain why chol screenings are good and that the minor pain is only temporary. I told him to go ask if he could watch. He walked over and stood about 15 feet away and asked, "Can I watch?" He asked twice, quietly. No one heard him. He came back and said, "They didn't say I could watch." Too cute. Amazing, that with school and the other fun things in his day, this was the best part of his day.