COVID-19 · exploration · slice of life

On a Mission for One Item

The kids and I arrived at Bombergers, which is a local hardware store, with a solitary item to buy: cracked corn for the ducks at the local park. I called the store ahead of time so I knew exactly where to go once I got inside since my kids like to take detours in Bombergers — because it is awesome! I told them, “we are only going to purchase cracked corn.” Isabelle said she understood. Ari remained silent.

Somewhere between the cart corral and the start of the brown tile floor, Ari found several items at his eye level to touch.

“Are-eee!” Isabelle scolded.

“Please don’t touch anything, Ari,” I said.

Halfway down the brown tile floor, on the way to the birding section, Ari discovered a cozy, outdoor chair. As I pushed the cart, I realized Ari was no longer behind us.

“Are-eee!” Isabelle scolded with exasperation. “Stay with us!”

Three masked men smiled as they passed us by, “I think he wants to buy that chair ma’am.”

“Looks that way,” I replied.

“C’mon, buddy, keep moving,” I told him.

Once we followed the brown tile to the right, I said, “Look, there’s the birding section.” But before we could find the cracked corn, Ari had his hands on everything from squeaky pet toys to wind chimes.

“Are-eee!” Isabelle scolded with a stomp of her foot.

“Would you please be more patient with him?” I requested of her.

“But he’s touching everything!” Isabelle whined. “Why is he touching everything?”

“Because he’s four and a half. This is what he does.”

Once we heaved two bags of cracked corn into the cart, we attempted to walk from the cracked corn to the cashier. However, the walk included more wind chimes, more chair sitting, and more toy touching. Isabelle grumbled, but tried not to admonish her brother. Until…

Isabelle and I got in line and Ari scooted off to some patio tables. He was in my peripheral vision when I noticed the checkout lines converging. As a woman and I went through the “No, you go first” motions I heard a few things fall. I looked straight over to where Ari was and noticed he dropped some marble-beads that were in the center of the outdoor table.

“Are-eee!” I scolded.

Isabelle smirked at me.

“I know he can be ridiculous too,” I confessed to her. “Would you please help your brother pick those up and then bring him back to the line?” I asked.

“Fine,” she stomped off towards Ari.

That’s when I looked at the woman whose line was merging into mine and said, “I think I will take you up on the offer to go first. As you can see, we came in for one thing, but we should probably get out of here before he breaks something.”

She laughed knowingly… as if she’d been in my shoes before.

With that I sanitized Ari’s hands, paid, watched him touch two more things, sanitized them again, and then left with both kids. Who ever thought a trip for cracked corn could be so entertaining for a child whose mom and older sister just wanted to keep him as germ-free as possible.

Here we are, with the cracked corn, at the park. If you’ve read my past posts about the finicky ducks, you won’t be surprised to know that they didn’t love the cracked corn either. (About a third of the ducks enjoyed it. 🤪🤯🥵)

15 thoughts on “On a Mission for One Item

  1. Reading this, I was there with you in the store. I can remember the days when my kids were that age … and actually when I bring them to the store now I still need to remind them not to touch everything! I think they are just so excited to be out of the house! LOL. Glad you got through the store without something actually breaking though! That’s a relief!

    1. I went from being the mom who didn’t want her kids to touch anything in the bathrooms to being the mom who doesn’t want them to touch anything at all. It’s madness!

  2. Your description of the experience made me smile. You were patient (and prepared with hand sanitizer) so that Ari could explore the irresistible things in the store. It reminded me of the pleasures and predicaments of watching a little kid. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Stacey,
    Sweet post. The details you’ve included helps me to see Ari in all his busyness. Yes, lots of mothers have been in your shoes, so I’m glad you found a helpful one in Bombergers. (I know Bombergers from visiting my sister in Lebanon, PA.)

  4. This reminded me of Ari at Longwood Gardens. He needs to be everywhere -use as many of his senses as possible, I need to hear more about your ducks – at a nearby park or in your backyard? I loved Isabelle watching out for her little brother!

  5. And this is why I still keep getting everything delivered, lol! I loved “hearing” (through your writing) Isabelle’s “big sis” voice in this post! Reminds me so much of the sibling dynamic I see in my own 2!

    1. Let me tell you, this is why I’ve used many of the curbside pickups this year. However, I didn’t plan ahead with enough hours of notice to take advantage of that this time.

    1. We haven’t tried lettuce, but I’m open to it. Our local park just “outlawed” bread and listed a bunch of other items on signs. Corn was one of them so we tried it. I’ll have to see if lettuce is on it the next time we go there.

  6. I’m going to say this. I glanced at your teaser – the part that read “Simple outings with a four year-old child,” and a knowing smile crept across my face. There ARE no simple outings with a four year-old child. It goes against the laws of the universe. No matter the outing, no matter how simple, SOMEthing will happen. I feel EVERYTHING about this – from your tactical move of calling the store, to the frustration of an older sibling, to the bull-in-a-china-shop approach of a preschooler, to the understanding looks from the others in the store. You build this all so beautifully.

  7. Catching up, but – oh! – I remember these days. You describe this so well – and I remember hearing my own voice as my older child scolded my younger. Oy!

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