I can’t remember a time when I ever liked grocery shopping. I only do it because it’s easier than hunting or gathering. If you looked into my fridge right now, all you would find is a half gallon of milk, four eggs, and a few leftovers that aren’t ripe enough to throw out. I think what originally spoiled it for me, was shopping with four children under the age of five. Even now, the moment I step on that ribbed, rubber mat and the automatic door flings open, I twitch like a burglar zapped by a stun gun. I tell myself, it’s okay. It’s only the memory from long, long ago that is still as fresh as the pyramid of cantaloupes to my right, now on sale, two for five dollars—

This is where the text gets all wavy and then clears again…

The twins are sitting in the cart—one in the seat, one in the basket. The three- and five-year-olds are holding onto either side, but that is only under threat of “No Happy Meal!” if either one of them wanders off. Their pudgy little white-knuckled hands hold steadfast, but only for as long as I am able to avoid the cookie aisle where those sneaky little elves gleefully taunt all young’uns in some psychic language only a child is able to hear. “Betchacan’tfindme!”

Faster than a mouse zeros in on a crumb of Gouda, they shoot off the cart like miniature torpedoes–

“Mom, Mom!” One veers left.

“Mom, Mom!” One swings right.

Nothing wrong with their sonar–

“OREO, OREO!” A direct hit.

“CHIPS AHOY!” And another.

“Out! Out!” The twin up front squirms. One foot makes it onto the seat. The other is jammed, because her loaded diaper throws her off balance.




The twin in the basket swings around. Distracted from poking holes in the ground meat package, he’s on a new mission. “Cookie! Cookie!” He stretches his porky little Popeye-arms up into the air. With a grunt, he makes a grab for the fine vertical spindles of his silver cage. His 90% lean-beef slicked hands slip. He teeters. Like a gentle sasquatch treading on a bed of moss, one foot sinks into a loaf of sliced whole wheat. He totters. “Uff!” and thumps onto his padded butt. Those eggs never had a chance anyway.

How I made it to the checkout is still a blur. How I made it through that narrow chasm of Tic-tacs, Snickers, gum, miniature flashlights, and into the parking lot unscathed, but for a case of raw nerves, is an even blurrier blur.

The one clear memory I do have though, is swearing very loudly—no, not curses, there were children present, remember?

No—I swore an oath—something every adventurer is bound to do when she has had a harrowing experience and lived to tell the tale. I vowed to never grocery shop with more than one child under the age of twenty-one in tow ever again. If I couldn’t drive thru a Dairy Barn or have it delivered to the house—we would simply have to starve.

Grocery shopping makes climbing Mount Kilimanjaro look easy, but that’s an adventure for another day—

The Frantic Four

Do you have any wacky adventures to the grocery store you’d like to share? I’d love to hear about it. After all, the fun is in the sharing. See you next week…

About Donna Gwinnell Lambo-Weidner

I am an adventure seeking ponderer of the mysteries of the universe, writer of children's books (represented by Stephen Fraser of the Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency), and lover of anything involving armor, archery, or swashbuckling.
This entry was posted in ADVENTURES, FAMILY, HUMOR and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. alexa macpherson says:

    I salute you! Not only four children but twins. I struggled at the store with just two…


  2. Cheryl says:

    What cute cookie monsters! Love your writing style! 🙂


  3. Ailine Helms says:

    Ok, Donna, here is my sharing: I wound up taking my two kids, at the time, only 2 and 3 yrs old on a flight from Detroit to JFK to Oslo. Being a pilot, I bought my kids seats and had portable car seats with me that folded into my backpack so I could keep my hands free. I also, for the first time, purchased those leashes you put on kids that went around their bodies. When we got to JFK, I put them on them for the first time. Emma, the oldest and definitely, the most vocal, promptly sat on her derriere and proclaimed, “No, OFF.” Taylor, my son, just sat down and did what she did. I was very adamant about keeping them right within my sight at all times. We had a good 3 hours before our flight. Emma is about as stubborn as her mother. So, we made a deal. “I get to keep you kids provided you don’t disappear with some stranger.” They looked at me. I said, “These can come off, but you cannot get out of Mommy’s sight.” Emma said, “OK.” So, they taunted me for three hours with running here and there, but always together and always just – just, within my sight. I was exhausted by the time we boarded. And I vowed, never again will I fly alone with two toddlers.


  4. Corinne Fabian says:

    Good Morning Donna,
    So cute…it’s hard to believe the frantic four are all grown up!
    Grocery shopping ranks up there with going to the dentist…
    The tables have turned though…my boys have taken up that role
    and I now enjoy a stocked fridge without even breaking a sweat!
    Lots of Love,


  5. Petra Bardon-Stroebele says:

    My first memory of trying to take my children shopping by myself goes like this:
    My daughter was 2 yrs old and my twin boys were 11 mos old. I was pretty sick and tired of being housebound. I live in Quebec and we pretty much have two seasons: summer and winter. I started by dressing my 2 yr old in all of her winter layers and proceeded with layering my other two. By the time I got to the third one, the other two were screaming bloody murder..and by that time I was crying and feeling sorry for myself. That shopping expedition never took place and I don’t think that I actually left the house with children in tow for many years after that! I too, hated grocery shopping in all of its forms and refused to go unless my husband agreed to go along.


  6. Val Bielenberg says:

    I can’t beat these stories, but one does pop into my memory…In a store with Neil when he was, oh, maybe 3 yrs old. I’m in the ladies dept. looking at a rack of clothes. There is a full length mirror nearby that Neil spots….wait for it….yup down came the pants with diaper to do a dance in front of the mirror for the entertainment of the entire line of people waiting to check out.*sigh*


  7. Nina Kozain says:

    Funny – I can picture it all now!


  8. Vic says:

    Great story and great picture! Yes, it’s always been an ordeal but we did do it! Think how many women gave up! It’s kind of like a war story…”I took my children to the grocery store and actually survived!” “dun dun duhhhhn”


  9. Lyn says:

    I transported myself here via the sneaky transporter link you left in todays blog post about the writers’ conference 🙂 Ahh, but how it brings back memories of shopping with my own three under-fives 😮

    Then came grandchildren…but that’s another story 😀

    LOL no wonder you’re such a good story teller Donna!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. A.PROMPTreply says:

    Aside from the loaded diaper business and having to push them in a cart, I’m not sure there’s much difference between small children and teenagers! My 14-year-old is nightmare to take…I get to registers and cart is half full of things I didn’t pick up (teenager did!) which is strange because I feel I’m constantly looking for him while in the store! And though the bill is outrageous I know the food won’t last but a few days! Oh, my.


  11. A.PROMPTreply says:

    Am sure you can see, by the many comments, I totally enjoyed my little adventure through your blog yesterday!


  12. Janice Wald says:

    Hi Donna,
    I have daughters 22 months apart, not twins though.
    I teach the Middle Ages including piracy. I also teach English. Your post had me remembering fondly reading to my girls when they were younger.
    Thanks for coming by my site yesterday. I am glad you liked my guest author’s post about blog promotion.

    Liked by 1 person

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