Friday, July 10, 2009

Hi-Jacking Another of Nene's Posts. ;) "Shopping With Kids"

Nene posted about shopping with her kids, and it brought back a flood of memories to me. I often did take my kids shopping, but I had one hyper-active one, so it was difficult for me. I think that by the time I had one old enough to babysit, I would have her watch the older kids while I ran to the store with the baby.

When we were in China, I didn't have many options. I used to go shopping at the open market where farmers came to sell their produce. I put the baby in the stroller, and made each of the other older kids hold one side of the stroller. I layed the stroller down like you do when you let the baby lay down, but I had my baby sit in the front. Then as I bought vegetables and fruit, I would put it in the stroller behind the baby, and even on the top of the sunshade. There was a basket underneath, but I still had to put some in the stroller. Sometimes I would hang things from the stroller handle I can remember many times that I overbalanced it and the stroller toppled backwards. That baby didn't seem to mind hanging backwards for a few seconds. lol My biggest problem with this arrangement was that if I had to pay the farmer, or pick out vegetables, I couldn't keep good hold of my hyper son. He would take off and run all around in and out of the farmers' wagons. They seemed to like him, and often he would come back holding a cucumber, zuchinni or piece of fruit that they gave him. It was very stressful for me to keep track of him while trying to shop. After the first year in China, we got a babysitter to help out a couple of days a week so that I could shop alone. It was so physically and mentally hard to shop with them that it was exhausting me. If I could have contained them somehow, like in a grocery cart, I think I could have done it.

The other problem in China was that if there were something in particular that I wanted to buy, I may not be able to find it at the regular store. I would have to ask people on the streets where to buy it. Most often than not, they would tell me that the store that sold it was clear across the city. It would be a whole day event just to ride the bus across the city to buy the item. For example, I needed pans to cook in. I was told that they had a special "cooking" store that sold pans, but it was clear across town. I believe that when I went to buy the pans, I did take my kids with me, but it involved putting them in the back of my bicycle and riding for an hour uphill just to get there. It was just as exhausting for them as it was for me. After getting the babysitter, I still did take them places, but I tried to get my grocery shopping done while she was there. It's such a luxury here in the states to have grocery stores where we can find everything we want in one room.

I remember one time when "T" was little and I took her shopping with me. I sat her in the seat at the front of the cart, but she kept trying to stand up. Suddenly, over the intercom, we heard, "T....(mumble mumble)....cart" "T" was sure they were talking to her, and sat down in the cart immediately. lol I think they had an employee with the same name and had asked her to go get some carts outside. lol

Now that my kids are older I love to take them shopping with me. I can usually tempt at least one of them to come. The big benefit, aside from spending time with them, is that they help me. My middle son, in particular, makes a special effort to push the cart, and load the groceries. Also, he is a kid who loves fashion, so will willing come clothes shopping with me. :) I think my memories of when they were small are a little dulled, but I do remember that it was very hard at times to take them shopping. I'm glad we can do it "stress-free" now.


Looney said...

When we lived in Japan, my kids were in elementary school. We would walk to the market as a family and have the kids each carry a bag or two of groceries home, while I would carry several bags. I can't imagine what it would have been like if they were babies and toddlers.

Nene said...

I could never get Babs to go clothes shopping with me. I would have to literally threaten him to make him go. He never cared about clothes.

Amber said...

that would've been scary to have your small child run around in a foreign city, I don't blame you for being stressed out!