Well, we are thrilled that the much-anticipated Costco on our side of town opened yesterday. Since we usually buy most of our food and other products (soap, toilet paper, diapers, etc) at Sam's, we have had a shopping list ready to go for a couple weeks. Because we were down to the last few items in our pantry, I decided that I was going to risk the possible insanity of bringing two kids by myself (Damien was at preschool), and get at least some of the much-needed shopping done.
We got a flyer in the mail advertising that the store opened at 8 am yesterday. So, I felt that I was running a little late (leaving the house at 9:15), knowing that I had to pick up Damien from school at 11:30 (I knew how much time we usually took at Sam's). It was extremely foggy out, so I actually couldn't even see the Costco when I arrived at the "business park" where I knew the store would be located. I had to do a U-turn to finally find it. (I never imagined I could drive past a huge warehouse store, but yep, I did...)
I pulled up to the store and drove around (not even sure which side was the front). To my excitement the customer parking was not very busy, and I found a spot close to the front (and close to the carts, so I could transfer Blaise and Mary directly from the car seats into the double-wide cart). So I parked, turned off the car, and looked around. Oh oh. The cars around me were all still occupied. I texted Andy, who looked up the store hours (I couldn't see them from the van), and sure enough, the store didn't open until 10. Hmm, it was only 9:30. Blaise was in the back getting all anxious to get out of the van, and I knew that Mary would soon follow suit, so I couldn't sit and wait like the people around me.
Blaise had noticed the "ball store" (his term for Target--the logo looks like a ball to him and there are big red "balls" in front of each store) nearby, and I decided to go there, and possibly just forget about Costco today. I didn't bring the double stroller (what I usually use at Target) because I anticipated filling the back of the van with goods from Costco. So, we arrived at Target, and I got both kids out of the car. Luckily, Blaise was very obedient and held my hand through the parking lot, while I held Mary with the other arm. It didn't take long to realize that Mary had done...um...something...in her diaper. OK. We walk into the Target and I immediately routed Blaise towards the "family bathroom" to change Mary's diaper. By the time she was all clean and set to go, it was 9:52. I decided to get the kids back in the van and head back to Costco for the 10 am opening.
Blaise was a trooper. He loves the "ball store", but he didn't argue or whine one second when I told him we were going back to Costco. When we arrived, I parked not far from my original parking spot, grabbed a cart, and got the kids situated. We rolled into the front door and into the line to fill out our application for the membership.
I was hoping since there were probably at least 10 employees working on memberships, and we got to fill out the paperwork in the line, it would move pretty quickly. Well, fast-forward 40 minutes (with a 2 year old and 10 month old sitting in a non-moving cart, side-by-side), and I had my membership card. Whew. If only I could have convinced Blaise that it's OK for Mary to sleep on his shoulder... Needless to say, I was doing anything to keep the kids occupied. Crackers for both, bottle for Mary, sippy for Blaise, pen and paper for Blaise, paper to crinkle for Mary, and my cell phone for Blaise. I even tried singing some quiet songs with them. I'm glad I don't have to watch myself during these times, but the other people in line must have been pretty entertained. :)
Well, that left about 15 minutes for me to check out the store for the first time, and maybe find a few things on my list. I figured that probably the most important thing I needed to purchase was baby wipes, as we were about 3/4 of the way through our final package. So, my plan was to find the wipes, and then pick up anything else on my list that I happened to discover on my way to the wipes. It turned out that the wipes were in the far, back corner of the store, so I passed a decent amount of things. All the while, I was holding Mary's bottle in her mouth while pushing the cart because she was too tired (tipping over onto Blaise) to hold it herself, and she would scream if she didn't have it. Luckily I had packed a bag of Cheerios and dried cranberries to occupy Blaise. He was even sweet enough to give Mary a Cheerio, hug her, and kiss her a few times that she started to cry.
When I found the wipes, I turned around and walked straight back to the front of the store to pay. We waited some more for our turn to check out, but the kids were doing OK with their mouths full. When it was finally our turn to put our items on the conveyor, I realized that I had a problem. I couldn't lift up the bulk-sized items in my cart with one hand and keep Mary's bottle in her mouth with the other, though I started to try with the smaller items to the best of my ability. I eventually had to give up and put the bottle down. Mary immediately started screaming. My guardian angel must have been looking out for me, because the lady behind me, who later told me she was a grandma to 7-year-old twins, offered to hold Mary's bottle in her mouth. I am so thankful. I was able to check out in peace, while the lady held the bottle in Mary's mouth. (At this point, Mary was pretty much asleep--her eyelids were very droopy, and she would have been asleep if Blaise had let her lay on his shoulder). I thanked the lady profusely, and quickly pushed the cart with the kids back to the van.
We made it. Blaise, Mary, and I survived our first trip to Costco, and we even made it to Damien's school to pick him up on time. This may seem pretty trivial to most people, but to me (and maybe other mothers of young children), it was a huge accomplishment. It was another opportunity to practice time management, patience, humility, and flexibility! And, most importantly, my little outing ended up being a great opportunity to thank my dear guardian angel for sending Mary and me the grandma to help hold the bottle. I am so thankful.