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.