I spent Sunday afternoon wandering the aisles of the grocery store with my six-week-old snuggled closely to my chest. It was pure bliss. While the older two darlings stayed around home with dad, I grabbed the opportunity to grocery shop with only one child in tow - the easy child. Strapped onto my chest and sound asleep, my son made roaming the four aisles of Aldi seem like a luxurious getaway. I scanned some new products, read a few labels, and even retraced my steps back to aisle one when I forgot hamburger buns. He slept peacefully the entire time, those chubby cheeks pressed into my chest as strangers oohed and ahhed.
"I should do this every Sunday," I thought to myself.
Cue foreboding music.
The following week I decided to take him grocery shopping again after Sunday lunch. I grabbed my bags and the baby wrap as I hurried off, eager for another therapeutic getaway disguised as an errand.
That darling boy fell asleep during the five-minute car ride to Aldi. I slowly lifted him from his car seat and positioned him gently into the baby wrap. He let out a few baby grunts as he arched his back, but settled in quickly as the warm breeze hugged his chunky frame; he was asleep again by the time we reached the entrance.
The air conditioning hit us hard as we entered the store. Maybe it was the transition inside or maybe the Lord just needed to keep my humble, but the moment we entered the store, he awoke with a cry. Before we even passed the nuts and dried fruit, he had worked himself into a wail.
I knew this feeling. This was my third child, after all, and each one before him has stopped me with the What am I supposed to do? terror. The first time my daughter began wailing in the grocery store, I felt like all eyes were on me, watching and waiting to see my next move. I remember the panic. Do I abandon my full car? Just keep going? How do you hold an infant and push a shopping cart?
But today was different. Instead of paralyzing terror, I felt a calm confidence. I left my cart in the aisle and walked back outside. I strolled down the sidewalk, past Jo-Ann Fabrics and the Asian Market. The movement and warm air lulled him back to sleep, and I reentered Aldi, my abandoned cart waiting where I'd left it. Unfortunately, this same scene repeated itself two more time.
I couldn't continue this absurd sequence all afternoon. I weighted my options: go home or plow through with a screaming baby. I didn't like either of those options. I began wishing my children had taken a pacifier, but none of them did. They all preferred the boob.
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