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March 7, 2011

The People of Walmart...

…and, not to stereotype, the people of Target, and the grocery store, and the mall, as well…

You may or may not know that I kinda like numbers.

Spreadsheets? A thing of beauty.

Statistics? Gotta love ‘em!

A precise operator’s manual for everything – including kiddos? I would be in Heaven.

For the past couple of years, I have been collecting data, observations I’ve made when I'm out in public with the girlies.

I’ll spare you the scientific analysis and pages of geometric proofs…and in fact I’ll just round things to the nearest 25% (since this is a baby blog)…but I think my findings are pretty interesting.

After extensive research, I have concluded that, on any one trip to a retail establishment, approximately 25% of the general population will make some kind of well-intentioned, or “cute”, comment.

We all know the drill…”Are they twins?” “Do twins run in your family?” “You’ve got your hands full!” “They’re adorable! Which one is the boss?

I know such comments are generally the bane of the multiples community, but I honestly don’t mind them too much (as long as I’m not in a terrible hurry). I am super proud of my babes, and – as long as folks don’t get too nosy OR try to actually touch my children – I love to share my girls with the world.

Approximately 50% of the general population will not acknowledge me / the girls one way or the other.

I’m certainly fine with this. While there are days that I would consider calling the toll-free number on the back of the ketchup bottle to have some adult conversation, I don’t go to the store for that particular purpose. And I know my babies are cute; I am not reliant on some stranger to tell me so.

So, 25% well-wishers + 50% mind-their-own business’ers...that leaves approximately 25% of the population that ranges from mildly scowling to downright hateful.

I know we’re often quite the spectacle with our double stroller. If I only need a few things, I’ll just tuck them in the bottom of the stroller, rather than wrangling a basket or a cart. I am not stealing these items, Mr. Nosy Old Man.

If I need more than a few things, I recognize that my “push the stroller, pull the cart” routine is an eyesore. Yes, I take up more than my fair space in front of the oatmeal, but I am pretty proficient in my maneuvers. As long as you haven’t stopped to chat in the middle of the aisle – in which case I will very politely say, “Excuse me, please,” – I will not sideswipe your buggy, Ms. Disapproving.

And yes, I do narrate the entire contents of the store to my children as we shop, which I realize may be a little disconcerting to those of the “children [and mothers?] should be seen and not heard” generation.

But really, have you ever stopped to appreciate the array of colors in the produce section? Or have you ever pondered how a potato has dirt on it, as evidence of where it grows; while lemons are beautiful and shiny and yellow, like the sun? Well, perhaps you should, Miss “I Can’t Believe She’s Talking to Herself”.

I usually take the sideways looks and funny glances in stride, but when someone stands to the side while I navigate an unruly set of double doors with my double stroller, I do have a good mind to “accidentally” hunt them down and roll over their foot with my +75-pound stroller.


[Thanks to Helene for prompting this post...and if I were a little quicker on my feet, I probably would have said something along those lines myself!]


Julia said...

I narrate the entire grocery store for my girls too :)

You are my hero though! I still don't brave the grocery store by myself with both girls, unless I need one or two things. Otherwise---we go as a family on the weekends.

Dolli-Mama said...

I understand completely! I'm so with you!

Helene said...

Amen!!! You know, I honestly feel bad for the children of those people who stare at moms like us when our kids are acting like KIDS in a store. I mean, can you imagine how strict they must have been with their kids!! Totally not fun!!

I remember those days of having to push the double stroller with one hand and pull the grocery cart with the other hand...plenty of people stared. When they would say, "You have your hands full", I'd say back, "Thanks for noticing!! Are you offering to push my cart for me??" That would pretty much shut them up.

Thanks for the shout-out!!!

Andrea said...

I agree... you rock taking them to the grocery store by yourself! I have never done the stroller and cart thing! Of course you do what you have to do! So kudos to you! I guess a quarter of rude people we can deal with. We are MoM's, right? I don't get me wrong......I don't get these people by any means. I always just wonder how messed up their home lifes are and feel sad for them.

So glad to hear I am not alone in loving to talk to my children in public and i am just now getting a response. Did it bother me before...heck no they were listening & learning!

Some people just don't get it! They live very bitter lonely lifes.

Great post!

Anonymous said...

1. i am so scared to push the stroller and pull a cart. i can barely push a cart/stroller by itself without running people over!

2. i call the what to expect books the "baby manual" :)


Barbara Manatee said...

ha! good observations! I talk to the kids all the way through the store and now that J&S are old enough to help - they totally get into picking things out and putting it in the cart, etc.

Holly Ann said...

A-freakin'-men, my friend! This post is spot on! Thanks for the great read this evening. ;)

Life with Gemelos said...

Ah, the grocery store. My 16M old twins go in the cart, but the only double cart is the one with the huge car on the front. TWICE, I have knocked over an entire display of candy near the checkout line because it is so unruly! Ha Ha! I love your observations on comments too! I don't mind at all when people comments on my little girlies, but my husband and I laugh because inevitably when we go somewhere in public, we ALWAYS here the same four comments..."twins?" "a boy and a girl?" (nope...both girls wearing all pink..thanks!) "double trouble" and "wow, you've got your hands full"

Rebecca said...

I give you credit for paying attention to the general public...I can't stand them!

Cottongirl7 said...

I'm feeling more like Rebecca today. :) The last few times we have been out, people will actually block our way by stepping in front of our cart to talk to us. That, and they always want to touch the girls.(Gross, I don't know you or where you keep your hands.) OH, and for some reason ( I have no idea why) everyone feels the need to say "Wow, red hair huh? Is this really a question? Do they think its a trick of the lights? I dont't know. For the last 6 months I have avoided all eye contact and try to look really busy. For goodness sakes, sometimes I just want to get a gallon of milk. :) My exceptions to this are at the park or the Children's museum. Mostly the parents there just seem to be looking for some adult conversation, It's hard to blame them. Oh, and the "Are they twins?....boy and a girl?...Identical?...Real twins?..Double trouble?...Fertility drugs?...Run in your family?..." I have to constantly remind myself that the people who ask these questions really have no idea that they are the 42,000th person to ask. They are trying to be nice...I know. I'm just feeling less patient all the time.

James said...

I don't mind the stares and since I'm a dad, I get nothing but compliments when I'm out. I mean, I'm not supposed to be able to care for a child, let alone take multiple children to the grocery store. The bar is so low, I can't lose. I am quite the spectacle, though, when I've got the twins each in a cart, the one year old strapped to me in the Baby Bjorn and the five year old tagging along. Once at a Walmart a woman yelled from across the parking lot, "YOU GO, DADDY!"

I used to do the stroller/cart combo. The real secret is to take two carts and put one kid in each cart. You pull one cart and then push the other cart BACKWARDS. You can reverse direction effortlessly (now pulling the one you were pushing and pushing the one you were pulling). It is SO EASY to maneuver that way and the kids have a better view of the store than if they were in their stroller. Plus, with the amount of groceries I have to buy, the two carts come in handy.

Also, as they get older, I give the kids their own grocery list to check off with words and pictures of the most common items we always buy (bananas, milk, bread, etc.). It keeps them busy and engaged.

Keep taking them often. It will pay off as trips to the store will be routine and uneventful.

MultipleMum said...

You know how I feel about those well-meaning "you've got your hands full" types! I can honestly say I have never pushed the pram and pulled a trolley as well. I am impressed with your dexterity! My kids go in the trolley for big shops or a basket sits on the pram for little ones. You must be quite a sight!

Dolli-Mama said...

I just nominated this for M&M post of the week!