Few things frighten me more than taking a shopping trip with baby Alex. At this point even a short trip to the grocery store can spell real trouble. Normally a happy baby, little Alex seems to truly despise his car seat. Within minutes of being strapped in, his little face crumples, turns bright red, and emits screams shrill enough to burst my eardrums. Okay, I'll admit this doesn't happen each and every time. Being completely honest, I have to admit that approximately 10 percent of the time he sleeps peacefully in his car seat while I cruise around town. The rest of the time he is a demanding little tyrant.
It does seem reasonable for Alex to stop crying once we arrive at the grocery store and allow me to shop for tasty vittles to feed our family. Unfortunately, Alex does not seem to think that is a reasonable expectation. Usually we make it through the produce department and half of the way down the dairy aisle before he begins to protest. I pick him up out of the infant carrier and carry him in my arms, hoping he will be more content with my arms wrapped around him. This keeps him quiet for about 8 minutes. Alex becomes bored once more and commences crying. I always make sure I have his sling with me no matter where we go. Like a magician, I whip it out of the cart and slip it over my shoulder. I put baby Alex in the sling, very satisfied with myself for buying an extra twenty minutes of shopping time.
Twenty minutes later, Alex begins to cry again and root for my breast. He wants to nurse, but unfortunately the local grocery store is seriously lacking in any attractive places to breastfeed. I absolutely refuse to nurse my precious, though tyrannical, baby boy in a smelly, germ filled supermarket rest room. I've tried breast-feeding him through the sling, but I am much too awkward at it to make it work in a brightly lit grocery store. I bounce him around and sing a little lullaby in his ear, while simultaneously reaching for a loaf of whole wheat bread. I want to run from the store to nurse him, but I must buy food for my family. I hastily throw, and I do mean this literally, all the food I can manage to grab in sixty seconds into my shopping cart. I begin to notice the pitying stares I am getting from the other shoppers. Finally, I head towards the check out lane to purchase my groceries.
Alex takes turns in the check out lane, sucking his fingers as if he's been waiting weeks for a meal and squalling in demand of breast milk. Finally, fifteen minutes later, I exit the grocery store and hustle back to my van. I park the cart next to my van and jump in the back seat, quickly lifting my shirt and offering Alex his breast milk meal. Thankfully, he usually does sleep in his car seat on the way home. I'm sure all the fussing makes him quite exhausted.
After a few such trips to the grocery store, I finally learned my lesson. I do not do the family grocery shopping anymore. I made a startling discovery! My local grocery store delivers groceries for a $10 fee. Each week I make a list, submit it online, and have my groceries delivered to my door on the next business day. Alex and I find this a much more pleasant arrangement. I get to spend more time pushing him in his stroller, playing peek-a-boo, and cuddling. Now we are both happy.