Just Wait

Just wait, you brand new parents, traveling through Safeway in your new baby fog. Just wait until that mushy little bundle is 5 years old and demanding sugar.

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The other day, I took my 4 (almost 5) and 2 year olds to Safeway for a little shoppin'. It was the night before Samuel's birthday, and around here, birthdays are an occasion for sugary cereal. We don't buy sugar cereal except when we have a birthday, and then, the person of honor gets to pick one. He picked Fruit Loops.

So there I was, in the produce section of Safeway, with IT and OTHER IT, who were both, at 5:30 in the evening, a tad wild. Along came the new parents. Mom, looking all glowy and soft, like a clean, downy pillow that has just been punched, fluffed, and smooshed into maximum comfortability. Dad, wearing the baby sling, with Newborn Miracle snuggled contentedly inside. The two (or rather three) of them were strolling through the veggies and fruit, doing that slow, ethereal walk one does when the very miracle of life coming forth is ever present in one's mind and walking through the grocery store feels other-worldly. They had that look.

Plus, they looked clean, if sleepy, and wore that distinctly Berkeley uniform, the one that says "We are progressive, enlightened, comfortable, and organic. We wear 100% cotton, and these shoes are really expensive, but no animals were harmed in their production."

My little girl-terrors love babies, so I pointed out the newby, which elicited the expected cuteness reflex. Then they started running all over the produce section and screaming like banshees. I had one of those moments where you realize that your kids are behaving exactly in a way you thought you'd never tolerate. You balance this with the fact that you're quite happy they haven't upended the apple display. You finish off the musing by calling the excursion successful, so far.

The new mommy and daddy smiled at them. I could be projecting, but I think there was a tinge of "We'd never let this little miracle run rampant like that. Now, where's the organic locally grown celery?"

There was quite a bit of smiling back and forth; their baby was completely adorable. I got lost in a little moment of nostalagia, made more potent by Sam's birthday, the 11th anniversary of my first foray into that squishy pillow stage of new motherhood. My revery was interupted by It and Other It chanting: "FRUIT LOOPS, FRUIT LOOPS, FRUIT LOOPS!" Translation: "Let's get the hell away from all these vegetables and find the freakin' FRUIT LOOPS!"

So off to the cereal aisle. To our great fortune, it turned out Fruit Loops were on sale, and therefore, on an end cap of one of the aisles. With a family of seven, I knew I was basically committed to two boxes of pure HFCS. So when Elizabeth saw the Fruit Loops, started panting and frothing at the mouth, and said: "Can we get two boxes!?!?!?!?!? One for breakfast and one for lunch?!?!!?!", I was ready to say yes.

As luck would have it, cute little ethereal organic newborn family was strolling by right at that moment, in time to hear my crazed daughter ask for two boxes of sugar AND my willing agreement. They floated by the sugar cereal, as I did 11 years ago, certain, I am sure, in their resolve to never, ever buy cereal loaded with HFCS and all manner of crappy crap.

* * *

Time does change things, doesn't it? The best laid plans of mice and moms meet reality as their children grow up and demand Fruit Loops. I remember that lazy, foggy walk through the grocery store of new parenthood. I'm pretty sure I thought I would raise kids without Fruit Loops.

And in reality, it physically pains me to purchase Fruit Loops. But it also gives me great delight to be able to offer my 11-year old the forbidden fruit of sugary cereal on his important day. That's the stuff I didn't count on 11 years ago, the power of making your kid happy.

I couldn't resist. Before they were out of earshot, I said to the girls: "Why don't we go for the trifecta and call it dinner!"

* * *


Viv said…
Confession time...I think that your cereal birthday treat is a winning idea! So, for the last two birthdays I have allowed it. One box filled with dyes and HFCS...my kids no longer care about presents. It is all about being so nice to the birthday boy/girl that they might be able to influence the cereal selection. You are a genius!

Oh, and I know just exactly what you mean about those first time parents. My baby had a well check today w/ the nurse practitioner. She has one son a couple of days older than my 14 month old. I think they ought to credit me for today's visit. She asked all the questions and I provided all the answers, and none of them involved my baby girl.
Anonymous said…
Love it! I think I saw the same "new family" when I was stocking up on Pop Tarts and Zingers when they were on screaming-deal sale at Safeway!


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