The floor at Wal-Mart tastes like apple juice. How do I know this? My son told me.
A while back, a friend of mine took my then three-year-old on an errand run with her. While on that trip, my son decided to lick the floor. I guess I should have warned her that we rarely make it out of that store unscathed.
On a previous grocery shopping trip when my son was at the age that he still sat in the cart, but was old enough and astute enough to realize he could reach back and grab grocery items, he began using canned goods as missiles. Cans of beans and sliced pears receive minor damage when they hit their mark on the floor of the grocery aisle. Slightly dented tin cans are still usable. It was the day he got a hold of a glass jar of spaghetti sauce that we had some issues.
It was like a slow motion scene from a movie. I’m sure my face distorted in a million different ways as I yelled, “No” and tried unsuccessfully to stop the inevitable from happening. This was his first missile to actually explode. It hit the hard floor with a crash. Spaghetti sauce and glass shards shot down the aisle. Unfortunately, I had flip-flops on that day. I could see glass amidst the red sauce splattered on my foot, and I was frozen in position as my son stared at me with a “Did I do that?” expression on his face.
As thoughts swirled through my mind as to how I was possibly going to remedy this situation, a nice lady (without children in tow) turned down the canned food aisle and discovered my dilemma. She quickly went to find help, and soon a young man with a mop and bucket was cleaning up my son’s mess. I was thankful to find that the shrapnel on my feet had not broken through the surface. None of that red stuff between my toes was blood.
We survived that trip, and they didn’t even make me pay for the spaghetti sauce. But never again did I place a glass jar of anything anywhere remotely near my son’s reach in the shopping cart.
He is a little older now, and the only issue I really have to deal with at the grocery store is in the paper goods aisle where he thinks it is pretty awesome to tunnel his way through the packages of toilet paper. But really, it’s hard to blame him. They make it so tempting with all those pallets right on the floor at little boy level. It’s like a toilet paper fort heaven.
Grocery shopping is not my favorite activity. And grocery shopping with young children is even lower on the list. But I have a strong feeling that someday not too far down the road, I’m going to long for one more grocery shopping adventure with my little boy. I will be one of those moms watching her son cross the stage to receive his diploma and wonder how in the world my little canned food missile launcher grew up.
This Stuff of Life column was originally published in The Tri-County Times.