Oh, You Have a Runner

Did you know that grocery carts were made of molten lava?  You’re probably assuming, incorrectly, that a cart could never be made of lava.  I see you scoffing.  Just clasp your hands over the cool handle, you say.  Feel the chilly metal, you say.  Ah, you say, don’t you hear the tiny squeak of the wheels as you proceed crookedly down the aisle?  Not lava.  Decisively.

Tell this to my daughter.

She will tell you that she is a superhero that can resist lava for exactly 5 minutes before, like a cartoon creature, she launches into the air on a cloud of steam.  Well.  She would if she knew how to say superhero.  She knows this because that’s precisely how long she can sit in a volcanic shopping cart before the lava kills her.

Since we are trying to practice the art of meeting her howler monkey pleading with indifference while rewarding her for being delightful (or at least less like a howler monkey), she has taken to trying to leap from the shopping cart with Evel Knieval like bravery.  In the blink of an eye, she’s standing in the baby seat, surfing the cart, laughing manically, and planning her leap from the lava to my shirt.  So, less a howler monkey really and more a flying squirrel.

So, being the smart squirrel mamas that we are, we set her onto the floor, away from the lava cart and let her go.  And she really goes.

Yesterday, I was the Designate.  This is very important business, being the Designate.  Your sole responsibility is eyes on the prize.  No matter how fast you have to walk (or run) to keep up, you do.  You also are responsible for grabbing her hood or shirt collar or back of her dress to keep her from careening into other shoppers.  You will be tired.  Your muscles will ache.  You won’t have time to eat your emergency rations.  You are the Designate.  It’s your job to keep her from running anyone over, keep her from being run over and keep her from running headlong into low shelves.  It’s not for the weak.  Most people ring out before they graduate. (Gratuitous GI Jane reference)

Yesterday, loads of toddlers sitting peacefully in carts flew past as I drew on my last reserves to catch her and I saw a mother of two say sympathetically, “Oh, you have a runner.”  At that moment, I had to abruptly yank RR back by her mullet to keep her from lodging under the woman’s cart with the toilet paper.  We laughed (although, I might have sounded more like I was cracking) and before I knew it, RR was off to new adventures.

Lest it sound like we’re courting danger, we’re fortunate that she has such deep personal space that she touches nothing as she streaks down aisles.  When she falls not only does she pop up and keep going but she also makes a fun SPLAT sound.  She’s capable of laughing and running at the same time so she’s still in the cute stage of chaos.  And finally, three of every four trips (and every. single. one. at the grocery store) she rides in the pack.  The pack is like toddler lockdown but accomplishes the mission sans Designates.  There is no surfing, no wild kingdom, no lava.

Everybody wins.

12 Responses

  1. I love it! We let Noah “free range” around malls when he decides that the play area is too small to contain him. Thankfully he walks and doesn’t run.

    What’s funny to me is the people who search frantically for his “adult” when we let him get five to ten feet out in front of us. I know they mean well, but it’s funny to see their faces react to this little fella out and about!

    Any chance a leash would work? We’re going to try one at the airport.

    • I’m afraid a leash would be like a cartoon where the creature pulls to the very end and then snaps back flattening me. On the other hand…a chain might work.

  2. Love the GI Jane reference! That movie makes me laugh every time!

  3. RR and n are certainly soul sisters. n, at the very least, feels her DEEPLY on the case of the lava-created carts. I’m not sure she’d be categorized as a runner, but definitely at the very least a fast-walker, tied in with a “no don’t touch me I’ll do it MYSELF” er.

    • Oh, they definitely are. We have a strong dose of i’ll do it MYSELF over here too. I like to think she’s just a fully realized individual 😉

  4. The “I’ll do it myself” is in Noah, too! We usually picture it as him saying “I’ve GOT IT.”

  5. completely understand. i was suffering from the delusion that my little man was content in a cart and little lady should be held. until today when he wigglerd around flipped over and stood up in the cart. ahh, aren’t kids great?!

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