One day a few years ago, when Audrey was pestering me one day in the grocery store, I promised that when she was ten, she could get her own cart and help me shop. Well, guess what? She is going to be ten next week, and she is the type of child who Never Forgets Promises. (By the way, how in the world is she going to be ten next week????) Grocery shopping with a tween? Am I crazy?
Maybe so, but this morning, when all four kids and I trekked into the grocery store, Audrey grabbed a cart, too. I wasn’t sure how the whole trip would go. Would she be able to find anything? How would we meet back up? Would this endeavor ultimately take twice as long? But since Audrey was not going to forget that I had promised this privilege to her, I had to let her do it.
I wrote a few things from my list onto another piece of paper, and as I was zipping my purse back up, I had the revelation of the day. In my purse were Audrey’s set of walkie talkies that we had used for a church activity the other day. In a rare stroke of brilliance, I handed one to her and we were on our way.
Knowing we were connected by walkie talkie instantly made me feel better about the whole thing. I was able to pick out my cucumbers and tomatoes while she searched for mustard and taco shells. When she had a hard time finding the cranberry sauce, I could tell her to look at the very bottom shelf, near the canned pineapple.
In the end, it worked out for both of us. She happily located all the things on her list (including choosing two types of ice cream), and I was able to get all the other shopping done quickly. We had no trouble meeting back up, thanks to the walkie talkies.
I can see how shopping with Audrey is quickly going to become an essential part of my week. As she learns where things are in the store, and the brands and sizes of products I usually purchase, she will be able to take over more and more of my list.
As I tell my girls often, (and I will tell Joel when he’s older), my job as their mommy is to work myself out of a job. I am responsible to teach them all the skills that they will need to be competent adults. And shopping efficiently, checking for the best quality and value in foods, is a life skill that they will need.
Grocery shopping with a tween is just one more milestone. I need to be sure that I continue to have high expectations for Audrey, so she can rise to them. She is able to do so many things, and she loves the independence.
Just don’t forget the walkie talkies!