Little Bella and the Almost Boring Shopping Trip

(Image from: http://blogs.psychcentral.com/mindful-parenting/files/2013/05/grocerygirl.jpg)

Little Bella spent hours playing with Christie yesterday. They found two more fairy princesses that are safely tucked away in their fairy houses they created and they successfully turned Little Bella’s room into a disaster zone. Today, after the house was put together again, we needed to tackle the weekly challenge: grocery shopping. Little Bella absolutely hates grocery shopping, in fact, if you were to ask her what her worst nightmare is, she would tell you grocery shopping without missing a beat. I used to tell her that if she doesn’t clean up her toys will go to the grocery store, and that would be enough to get her to do as she is told. But that bites me in the butt every week when we actually do have to go.

“Bella!” I call up the stairs.

“What?” I hear her little voice say from her bedroom.

“Get your shoes on, we’re taking a trip!” I holler up the stairs. Okay, so maybe I neglected to tell her the entire truth. But, in my defense, a trip sounds a lot more exciting than a trip to the store. It has more promise of getting her to cooperate and get into the car willingly than telling her what we are really, truly doing.

Little Bella strolls down the stairs in an outfit she has picked out herself: striped leggings, a cheetah print skirt and a polka dot shirt.  A moment that every mother stumbles on and debates with herself about. Do I make her change into something that matches? Or do I let her wear what she likes, because she should be able to express herself? That is while she is young, because it’s different when she’s older and her way of expressing herself is showing skin that should remain covered and piercing and inking up her skin.

“Let’s get in the car, honey. It’s time to go,” I say, and she leads me out the door, mismatched clothes, and all.

Once we get to the grocery store parking lot, Little Bella knows full well what we are actually doing and she quietly pouts in her seat. She slowly gets out of the car once we  are parked and reluctantly takes my hand as we walk in. Did I mention she hates going to the grocery store? To her, it’s the end of the world, to me I believe it is just as dreadful. No matter what time I go, it’s always packed with people who are often cranky and rude. They always seem to be out of whatever item is the most important on my list and the lines to the register resemble the line you’d see at the midnight premiere of a popular movie. But unfortunately, we need food to survive.

She slumps from aisle to aisle, trailing behind my cart and throwing in some sighs for dramatic effect. When we turn around the corner to the frozen foods section, I immediately head towards the middle to get some vegetables.

“Mommy!!!” Little Bella screams, the kind of scream I would expect to hear if she was being attacked. I run over to her and see her standing in front of one of the frosted doors and covering her eyes with her hands.

“What’s wrong?” I ask frantically.

“In there, mommy! Look!” She squeaks behind her hands. I look at the frosty doors and see a little face pressed against the door. I look closer and see that it’s a little boy who is pressing his face and hands against the door and is smiling, obviously getting a good kick out of scaring my daughter to death.

“Oh, you know what, why don’t you open the door. There’s nothing to be afraid of in there. Go check it out,” I encourage. She takes to tiny steps closer and then looks at me for reassurance. I nod, and she keeps going. Her tiny little hands grasp the handle and pulls it open to reveal a small boy her age grinning on the other side.

“I scared you!” He yells, his teeth chattering from the cold freezer. He’s laughing and at first Little Bella didn’t think it was so funny, but when he continued to laugh and laugh, she soon joined in. I can see her feeling more comfortable and no longer scared. Now, she actually looks like she is having a good time because now she wants to join in on his fun and scare some other child unaware of their master scheme. They managed to scare a lady near my age, who just so happened to be the boy’s mother who didn’t even realize her son was missing, until she discovered him in the freezer, handing her a bag of peas.

I retrieved my daughter, who now didn’t want to leave and finished the shopping and headed for the exit. She kept looking back and scanning the crowd for the little boy who changed the way she thought about grocery shopping and made the boring something fun. And as I think about how much easier it will be to get her to go shopping with me, I also realize I can no longer use grocery shopping as an ultimatum when I am begging her to do as she is told. Oh well.

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