Our nearest grocery store is in Lexington, eight or ten miles from here; when we only need a few groceries, we often go there. If my list grows to include lots of non-food items, we head to the little Walmart, fifteen miles from here.
Cora will be three years old in August (unbelievable!). She has always liked to do grown-up things, and for a kid, she's pretty good at the tasks she tries. A month or so ago when we went to Lexington our little charge noticed the kid-sized shopping carts and went for one. I told Cliff, "I guess we'll let her take it and see how it goes."
All things considered, I suppose it wasn't a terrible experience, but she kept wanting to run with the cart, and Cliff and I don't run too well. Right off the bat she ran into the backs of my legs and I told her not to run into people.
We never have a lot to buy at Dave's, so we survived.
Yesterday I figured we'd give it another shot. I told her in advance we'd be going shopping, and told her that when we got to the store, she would have to: listen to me, not touch stuff, and push her cart very slowly. I've learned that if she knows what to expect ahead of time, it often makes a big difference in her behavior.
When I was ready to go, I said, "It's almost time to get in the car. Since you're going shopping with me, you might want to take your purse and make sure all your stuff is in it,"
She thought that was a marvelous idea, and loaded up her toy credit card, her toy phone, and the phony plastic tube of lipstick. She placed the purse on her arm exactly like the way I had mine. When we got to the car, Cliff opened the back door to put her in her carseat and she objected strongly: "I want to sit by Donna," she said.
I told her if she would get in her car seat, I would sit in back with her and scoot right over beside her. That calmed her down. Once we were at the store, Cliff opened the door to get her out; she refused to exit through that door, but insisted on crawling across the seat so she could get out the same door I used. She was really into this "shopping together" theme.
When she walked in the door with her purse, the employees broke out in smiles at Cora's purposeful march toward the child-sized carts. I reminded her once again of the do's and don'ts, telling her that if she didn't behave, Cliff would take her to the car while I continued shopping.
I have to say that for a child her age, she didn't do badly. I didn't have much to buy, so I didn't get a cart for myself. Everything went in her cart. If the item was in her reach, I let her pick it up and put in in the cart, cautioning her to put things in gently. At one point, she was strongly attracted to a candy display, but she only forgot one time that she wasn't supposed to touch things.
The best moment of the trip was this: Everything was going fine, she was pushing her cart along slowly, when suddenly she came to a stop and began digging through her purse. "Come on," I said, "we're almost done."
She pulled the toy phone from her purse, saying, "Somebody's calling."
She did, and we went on with the task at hand. Cliff and I, of course, were grinning like idiots at this last turn of events. The kid had to have been planning this before we even left the house.
Every day she amazes us with something she knows. I'll give a couple more examples.
She was messing around over in the corner by Cliff's end of the couch, picked up the blood pressure monitor, handed it to him, and said, "Here, Cwiff, take your blood pressure."
She hasn't seen us use it that often, but she knew what it was and what we do with it.
Here's another: Cliff has his current project tractor, the Farmall Super C, disassembled, getting it ready for painting. The gas tank is on a sort of table all by itself. The other day I pointed to it and said, "Cora, what's that thing?"
"Gas tank," she said, matter-of-factly.
Cliff and I looked at one another, astounded. "Did you tell her...."
"No, I sure didn't."