What Was I Thinking?

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I used to know how to go grocery shopping with Tiny and Buba. We would go to the large grocery store just down the road, and I could push both of my kids in the stroller (facing each other so they could entertain each other while I shopped) while I pulled the cart behind me. Yes, I certainly got many a look from shoppers who were probably thinking that this was an insane way to shop, but it worked well for me. Tiny and Buba were happy, I could fill up the entire cart, and the more we shopped this way, the more efficient I became.

Then I discovered another grocery store a few towns over that was a bit smaller, but less expensive. Well, who doesn’t want to save money these days? So, we started shopping there instead. However, the aisles in that store are so narrow that it was impossible for me to shop in our usual fashion. No biggie. I just put one in the front of the cart (no double seaters here) and wore the other on my back in the Ergo Carrier. I lost a little bit of cart space by having a kid in the front, but for the most part, this method work well for many, many months. Until just recently.

About a month ago, I began having some difficulties with whoever was riding in the carrier. It seems that both kiddos have decided that all the cool kids are riding in the cart, so the one on my back makes trouble throughout the entire shopping trip- pulling my hair, flinging his/her body backward causing me to be horribly unbalanced, and reaching and grabbing at any displays in sight just to try and get a rise out of me. So now the Ergo option is out.

I know this will sound crazy, but this past Tuesday, I decided to take Buba and Tiny into the store and just let them walk while each held one of my hands. We only needed one thing (I was actually making an exchange- hot salsa (picked up by mistake) for the mild salsa we actually needed). I thought this might be a good way to test whether on not two two-year-olds could manage the awesome responsibility of sticking by Mommy and not touching anything while shopping. I know-What was I thinking?!

Of course, this turned out to be one of my worst ideas ever. What should have been a quick trip in and out turned into an event that took seemingly forever. Tiny was actually pretty well behaved, but Buba was a mess. He didn’t want to walk in the direction that I needed him to go, and would flop on the floor and refuse to move. Nice. Once I finally got him to follow my lead, he decided that he needed to touch everything in the aisle that was at his level. I know- Why did I ever think he would do anything differently?

When we finally got our salsa and got back up to the customer service counter to make our exchange, I thought I was home free. But, Buba gleefully wriggled out of my grasp and ran off towards the produce section. Thank goodness Tiny is fast and Buba is slow. We took off after him, and once we finally caught him, headed out of that store as fast as we could.

I realize that the easiest way to grocery shop might be to do it without the kids, but it seems like my after bedtime hours are already filled with so many other things. So, what I need to know is this: How do you get your grocery shopping done? Is it possible to grocery shop with two toddlers? And if yes, I need details, please.

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27 thoughts on “What Was I Thinking?”

  1. I go on the weekends, and leave the kids at home! Actually – lately, I’ve been taking one of the girls and leaving the other home with my husband (switching off each week who goes). This gives us each some one on one time… at 16 months, the girls don’t really care yet, but I think they will later.

    When I have to bring them both… I go to the one store that has double carts, and I have to fight with them every time, because they have decided that these carts are so special that they can’t go outdoors, lest they get dirtied. So every time, I have to raise a fuss, get a manager, who has to have someone follow me to my car, ready to whisk the cart back indoors as soon as I have everything loaded.

  2. I have brought my two grocery shopping with me since day one. I am so impressed that you pushed yours in their stroller and pulled the cart behind you! I never braved that.

    Instead I used their stroller as my shopping cart. It’s amazing how much you can actually fit in the bottom of that thing. And I’d put the bread and eggs on the canopy on top.

    I always brought juice and snacks and the boys have never ever given me a problem.

    By the time I’m done unloading the groceries onto the belt though I am usually sweating my fanny off as I have to get down on the floor to get all the items out of the basket.

    Oh..and the Mom Hook is the bomb. It really does hold a boatload of bags :-)

    They’ll be two next month, so this past weekend I decided it was time to let them walk in the store with me, and use one of those double carts. It was big and hard to maneuver, but I can’t tell you how nice it was to actually use a cart. The boys were O.K. A little whiny..but I think in time they will get used to it.

    I too used to think about going to the store after they went to bed, but by then I am exhausted and don’t want to leave my house.
    .-= Erin´s last blog ..Showering With Toddlers =-.

  3. I have a 4 year old and twin 2.5 year olds. I DREAD going grocery shopping. Fortunately, a year ago we got a new, big store that has carts that hold three kids (one in the traditional seat and two plastic seats on the front of the cart.) It was a dream come true! The store is slightly more expensive, but I am willing to pay a little more to make my experience easier. (Since then, these types of carts have been popping up at other stores. ) I have to get to the store super early and hunt down the cart since there are only two.

    I tried shopping at night without the kids. It was too hard at the end of a long day. I tried the push-the-stroller-pull-the-cart method mentioned above, but our store was too crowded to make that easy. I tried using the car carts but my kids get restless and break free halfway through the trip. Just the other day I was shopping with just my twins and there were no big carts available. I put one in the regular cart and let my more trustworthy one walk along side…and it wasn’t too bad.

    I have found it gets easier over time. About a year ago I started going consistantly during the day and taking my kids every time. It was rough at first, but now they are in a routine, know what to expect, and it is not as bad as it used to be.

  4. My Whole Foods doesn’t have double carts and that is the main reason I don’t shop there often. When I do, the girls are in their tandem double stroller (the SBS is difficult to fit through the aisles) and I shop into reusable shopping bags hanging off the handlebars.

    Beyond that, I’m loyal to my main grocery store mostly because they have awesome racecar shopping carts that the girls love, and they have a lot of them so there is never a shortage.

    My girls are two, and there is no way they’d walk with me. We do okay at times without a stroller, but I wouldn’t try a grocery trip that way quite yet.
    .-= Erin´s last blog ..I See You! =-.

  5. Grocery shopping is THE HARDEST thing EVER with the twins. My hubby and I go together (with the girls) on the weekend. He has one in a basket, I have one in a basket, and we divide and conquer! We then meet in the middle to check out. It works pretty well, but on busy weekends that we don’t make it to the grocery store, I go to our store that has a double seater cart. ALL stores need those!
    .-= amy o´s last blog ..A Little Bit Preppy, a Little Bit Rock n Roll =-.

  6. I am pregnant with twins and have a 2 year old boy who is a nightmare to go shopping with. I am trying to teach him to walk beside me, and some trips are more successful than others. I have no idea what I am going to do when my twins are born! I think we might start shopping at Sams as much as possible and try to shop only once a month. I have no idea how I will manage two babies and a 2 year old in a store by myself!

  7. My heart goes out to you! My boy/girl twins are almost 19 months old, & I have preferred for quite a while to just use two carts. Both kids get to sit in the cart & can be strapped in. I push the cart with the one more likely to misbehave & pull the other behind me.
    This week was our first time to use the kiddie cart with two toddler seats at Target, & that worked pretty well. I’ve also started bringing a snack trap for each of them. I wait until they start to get unruly to bust it out to ensure that it lasts through the whole trip. Good luck!
    .-= Alli´s last blog ..From the Archives: Pantless Play =-.

  8. Before the blessed freedom of preschool, I went on weekends without the kids. It was just to hard to do a major shopping with them. If I do take them, I go to the one store that has the car carts with the seats on the top of the cart. I’ve found the ones where they are down low, we get things taken off shelves, heads knocked, etc. Sam’s Club or Costco is great too because you can put both in the top of the cart! Good luck…this too shall pass :-)

  9. I shop in stores that have two seater carts. The smallish grocery store in my town has carts with a bench seat attached behind the standard cart. I’ve seen other moms with twins shopping in my town just to use these carts. I’ve also gone to the larger grocery store in the next town over that has several carts with the 2 seat car in front of the cart. That’s not as good since the kids are further from me and less willing to listen/behave.

    In stores where two seat carts are not an option, I put one in the cart and let the other walk, depending on who is more cooperative. Although at 2, I would have strapped one in the seat, put one one my back and raced through the store or just use my stroller as a shopping cart, since these aren’t my main grocery stores and I’m never getting more than a few items.

    SNACKS really help, too. I usually shop at snack time and let the kids eat while we shop. We used our snack traps long after others stopped using them because they worked great for shopping snack holders.
    .-= Rhonda´s last blog ..The Victory Dance =-.

  10. I usually go to a grocery that has a two-seater cart. Once, I thought the store had them and they didn’t so one twin went in the seat and one in the actual cart. This was not great but doable – he kept standing up and then falling down and was eating all the grapes, but it was OK if you just need to pop in and out.

    Also, like the first Erin said, I often just use the stroller if I know I don’t need a ton. between my reusable bags on the Mommy Hook and the basket underneath my stroller, and can fit a lot. This is what I ALWAYS do at the mall because they don’t have shopping carts at all :)
    .-= Nicole´s last blog ..One, for better or worse =-.

  11. We had been doing with Abby sitting up front, and Alex in the cart. Well, she’s getting big and was starting to squash numerous items in the cart. So, I tried the option of putting them in the kiddy cart…they can both sit strapped in by me, while I shop. That did not go well really. The were fighting over “leg space” most of the time, throwing things on the ground, Abby didn’t like being confined…I’m going to start going on the weekends ALONE. 😉
    .-= Christina´s last blog ..Spring is trying to come…. =-.

  12. I usually push the SBS stroller and pull the cart. My husband is never here and we only have one option for shopping here in Japan. There are no double seater carts that work for us. My husband is going to be deploying soon and my latest scheme is to have a high schooler be a “Mommy’s Helper”. I am going to have her go to the store with me, let her push one of the girls in one cart while I take the other, and then I’m going to have her bring the groceries into the house. We live in an apartment and going back and forth with the girls just doesn’t work! So, consider finding a teenager in your neighborhood, church, or from other Mom friends. They work for cheap. This is also a suggestion that I got when the girls were young and I needed a little extra help. People kept telling me to hire a teen to come over 2-3 times a week from about 3-6 pm. It was an ingenious idea!

  13. I have been taking my kids to grocery stores without the stroller since they got out of the infant carseat. Now that they are too big to both fit in the cart and that they expressed their desire to “walk” I have dealt with this as best as I can. (It’s mostly the latter reason) They have to walk behind me and pay attention. I say that they can look and touch with a finger. If they do pick it up, they are okay with me telling them to put it back. They understnad that it is not ours so they have to put it back or it is not on our list (which I have prewritten) so we can’t buy it. They are not perfect, they do wander off to point out something instead of staying behind me. They never wander far though and can be retrieved by a threat of a time out or the loss of their “walking” rights. At the beginning of the “adventure” into the grocery store, I remind them what the goal is so they don’t take any detours. I say we need to get “so and so” and then go home. Needless to say, it takes longer to grocery shop but there are times, when we are extremely efficient. The best ones are the stores where there are samples. I don’t know what it is, but it keeps them content. Sometimes they want to bring an animal in with them, I say that if they bring it they have to behave. So then it just takes a reminder about the earlier agreement to get them inline. Good luck!

  14. My mom used to have to shop with three of us. My brother and sister are fourteen months younger than me, so it was almost like she had to deal with triplets. One would sit in the cart, one in the seat up front, and one walking, but holding on to the cart. She’d bring little fruit snacks for us to eat, but generally we’d just talk between ourselves and keep each other occupied for the whole trip.

  15. What a great topic! My two are 7 months old, and neither can sit yet without assistance. I currently use one of the following methods when it comes to grocery shopping:

    1. One twin in the Ergo, the other in a car seat in the body of the cart (groceries stuffed in the front of the cart and around the car seat -holds a surprising amount).

    2. Both twins in the tandem stroller, groceries in the stroller storage compartment and in reusable bags tossed over my shoulders.

    Of course, like any family with multiples, our mere presence in the grocery store attracts astonished attention from other shoppers. “Are they twins?” “How old are they?” “How do you do it?” 😉

  16. Oh dear. You violated my rule of NEVER LET THE CHILD OUT OF THE CART. It’s a big rule, and mine are a year older than yours (almost 3).

    Unless I’m just running in for a few things, in which case I go to a place with a double cart, we do it on the weekends. We each get a kid and a cart and half the grocery list—done in half the time and it’s fun 1:1 time. Or, I stay home with one kid and Seth takes the other to the store with him. Again, easy and 1:1 time too. If that doesn’t work, then Peapod or Roche brothers delivery.

  17. I used to mostly do shopping using the stroller (no cart), and big shops on the weekends when the girls were at home with dad. We did a lot of grocery delivery too — we are lucky to be in an area with somewhat affordable delivery. I have always gotten milk/dairy delivered and a fruit/veggie CSA box, and that helps cut down on how much and often I need to shop.

    Now, I still sometimes shop without them, but also do a fair bit with them in the double seater carts. With those my 3 year old walks, though several of our stores have ones with seats for 3 or 4 kids (two below in the car, two above in the seat) so we do that if possible. I do have to rotate who is in the car mid shop, though!

    Occasionally, very occasionally, if there is only a one seater cart I let one of my twins walk (21 months now) but I mostly have them “help me push” the cart and that keeps them close and busy. Doesn’t work for long, though. I rotate when they get bored and try to go as FAST as possible — not my favorite way to shop!

    Snacks do help a lot, too!
    .-= Kristin from Intrepid Murmurings´s last blog ..Toddler Activity Bags: Playmat fun! =-.

  18. LOL I can just picture it!

    I delegate the grocery shopping to my husband – there’s an added bonus. He actually only buys what’s on the list!

    He’s just informed me that I need to do it sometimes since I’m “too fussy” with the babies’ food :)

    The other one stays home with the babies because I think it would take about 3 times as long if they were with the shopping parent.
    .-= Leigh from 123 blog´s last blog ..29 gifts & gift-giving =-.

  19. I do grocery shopping online. Not sure what area you are in but I use peapod.com. They usually deliver next day. It takes me 15 minutes to buy all of our staples – beats going to the grocery store with three under two. Yes, it is a little more expensive but I actually think I save money because I buy exactly what we need and how much we need. In an actual store I tend to get “inspired” and buy extra things that we may not even end up using. Also, the online site keeps a list of things I normally buy so I just enter the quantity. It makes it easier to stick to the list and not forget things. Lastly, if I do forget something, I can still add it to the order until midnight even after I have checked out – beats running back to the store. Regarding quality – especially on produce – it’s not bad as less people actually touch it before it gets to my house.

    About every other weekend, my husband and I and the kids go to Costco and buy all the other things that are not great quality or too expensive at Peapod – some produce, meat, paper towels, etc.

  20. My toddlers (22 months) actually like grocery shopping. We almost always go to the stores with double carts, when we don’t I put both kids in one seat with both their legs through one hole (thankfully my twins are pretty small still, we don’t have much time left for this). When they can’t both fit in the seat I keep put on kid in the cart and I pull out a scarf that I keep in my purse and use it like a seat belt. This keeps the child safe and lets me get things done.

    I try to talk to the kids a lot while we are shopping. I point to food and ask them what it is, we say hello to the grandmas and babies. Sometimes I will let them get samples of food, but I have also realized that if they always get food or snacks when in the store they won’t be happy without them, so I try to avoid giving them treats at the store.

    When the babies were little we used our stroller as a cart. We had a double snap-and-go (a must for new twin moms) and it had quite a large basket.

    Don’t be afraid of the grocery store, children will get used to what you set as your expectation.
    .-= Rusted Sun´s last blog ..national children’s day =-.

  21. I go to the grocery store alone, often while a babysitter is here or first thing on weekend mornings, or DH goes by himself. We don’t have large cars, so there is not enough room for a stroller plus groceries plus two toddlers (16mo) and their seats. And my Maclaren side-by-side stroller has the tiniest baskets imaginable. A couple of times DH and I have taken the girls to the grocery store, but DH and I have different shopping styles… he browses and goes down every aisle, whereas my list is precisely in order of the store layout and I am rather proud of that! So it’s easier and more efficient for just one of us to go to the store.

    I’ve used online ordering and delivery a few times. It was very helpful, esp. for buying large items like frozen pizzas, multiple gallons of milk, a case of beer, etc.

  22. I’ve always shopped with my three. When my twins were born my oldest was 15 months. I pulled the double stroller behind me and pushed the cart with my 15 month old.

    Then I reversed it and pushed the double stroller and pulled the cart.

    Now they are 4, 3, and 3 and we only shop where they have carts where two or more can sit and they take turns sitting with one always walking.

    My tips are …

    1. Go early and give them breakfast while you shop … I give them milk in a sippy cup and cereal with raisins in a ziplock bag … they get to pick the cereal and it keeps them happy.

    2. Going early allows everyone to be fresh and not over tired and in the event of a total meltdown there are not many other shoppers :))

    3. Know that some trips are not going to go well … but be persistent.
    .-= Merri Ann´s last blog ..The Boy … =-.

  23. I used to do the big shopping alone (or with my daughter) on Sunday morning. The smaller, everyday shopping (fresh bread, extra fruit, forgotten stuff) I did with any number of children… because I live in a smallish European town, so I can go to very small stores where the owner just serves me while I tell her what I want.

    I started bringing the twins along shopping on Sundays when they were about 3, first separately then together. They would walk with me for a while, usually a short while, and then go wait for me sitting on the floor and perusing children’s books (which I often bought them).

    Now that they’re 7 they usually prefer to stay home and read (sometimes alone with their 10-yr-old sister) but occasionally they come with me and they’re really helpful. One of the them is especially good at it, and he can put away most of the groceries by himself when we get home. I didn’t teach him, he just looked at me and learned.

    There’s a very brilliant light at the end of the twin toddler tunnel.

  24. What worked at that age with Chris (singleton) was the grocery cart with a car in front. The cart itself is huge and ungainly, the basket was smaller than a normal cart, but Chris was happy and I got my shopping done. Now that I have my twins (17 mos), Chris goes in the car, the twins are in the seat of the cart. When they are older, they will go into the car, and Chris will have to walk. Funny thing…Chris WOULD have walked by my side at that age.

  25. I have a 6 year old and 5 year old twins.

    When they were at the age where they wanted to pull everything off the shelves, I would take two shopping carts through the store: one pushed in front of me (with a kid in the seat and another kid in the large basket area) and another cart pulled behind me (with a kid in the seat and the large basket area for the food). I’m sure we looked like a circus train, but I got used to it and it worked (plus probably a good work out as well). 😉

    Now that they’re old enough to walk through the store, if we are just getting a few things I try to walk through the store fast enough that they don’t have time to pull anything off the shelves. :) I do frequent checks over my shoulder to make sure everyone is keeping up, but I don’t slow down unless someone trips or something. 😛 If one of them starts lagging behind, the other two let me know right away and tell their sibling “Come on!” 😉

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