I remember feeling utterly panicked in the dark days (let's be honest, dark weeks) after Hannah was born when I realized that one day I was probably going to have to go to the grocery store with her. By myself. This seemed like an impossible, horrific task -- where do you put the carseat while you're shopping? If you put it in the basket of the cart then there's no space for groceries, and if you bring the stroller frame instead you're restricted to what fits in the mesh basket underneath and even if you completely ignore the printed warnings saying not to ever put more than five pounds of cargo in the basket (which clearly we do ignore because are you freaking kidding me), not much fits in there. It's not really possible to push a stroller AND a grocery cart at the same time, though you can sure believe I tried. I thought about taking Newborn Hannah out of the carseat and carrying her in the sling or the Ergo while we were in the store, but what if she was sleeping in the carseat when it was time to take her out? What if she was sleeping in the Ergo when it was time to put her back in the car? What if she started crying and then I started crying and fuck this, I'll just wait until Joel is home on the weekends and we can all go then. And that is what I did for a long while.
Eventually I did get up the nerve to leave the house with Newborn Hannah by myself, and it wasn't even that terrible. It helped a lot that I saw a lady at Walmart who had her carseat perched on top of the purse-holder/child seat part of of the grocery cart and immediately began copying that little trick; though it looks a bit precarious it is quite sturdy if you get the car seat's hooks in correctly over wire of the grocery cart. Then not only can the baby see you the whole time, you have all the space in the main basket free! Genius. I was very happy with this arrangement. Even though Joel mentioned multiple times that he didn't think it was 100% safe, blahbittyblahblah YOU TRY SHOPPING WITH A BABY BY YOURSELF OH MY GOD YOU HAVE NO IDEA LEAVE ME ALONE.
Also, for a long time the grocery store was her favorite place to take naps. Because, you know, bright florescent lights and blaring elevator music = bedtime. This is the picture I wanted to send to every asshole who instructed me to "sleep when the baby sleeps!" ORLY, should I lie down right here in the ziploc bag aisle and take a snooze or do you think the freezer section would be better?
But as it is with all things baby, just when you get really comfortable with something, the baby decides HEY YOU KNOW WHAT I THINK I'LL CHANGE EVERYTHING. Plus, in this case, the baby got so heavy that lugging her fifteen pounds of chub plus the sixteen pound carseat became a task to dread in and of itself. Then my friend mentioned that she had started letting her baby sit in the grocery cart when they went to the store. BOOM. Another problem with a very simple solution that I never in a million years would have come up with myself. Hannah loved riding around in that cart, showing off her new sitting up skills to every person whose attention she could grab.
YAY COOL RANCH DORITOS R ON SALE AWESOMEZ
(And of course, Joel let me know that I was again being unsafe because in these photos I didn't have her buckled in with the safety belt which IN MY DEFENSE that cart didn't have and how was I supposed to know there was a vital safety feature missing from the cart I grabbed?)
And now, the little missus has learned to stand up. And guess where she wants to stand up? In the grocery cart. I had her at Target today and she was hell bent on standing up and riding around, safety belt be damned. In desperation, I put her in the main basket of the cart in hopes she'd become distracted from her favorite game, Let's Jump Out of Containment Devices and Try to Break Our Heads, and start playing her second-favorite game, Pull Random Things Out of Momma's Purse and Eat Them. But no, that did not sound like fun. Not nearly enough potential for skull breaking. She immediately reached up and grabbed the rim of the cart and pulled herself to a stand. And you know what? I let her ride around the store like that, like a tiny little Washington Crossing the Delaware (except I don't see the sides of the boat coming up to Mr. Washington's nose) (nor do I see him bopping around with joy and trying to reach out and grab the pants of passersby).
Of course, I am well aware that this is Not Completely Safe and I'm sure it's not on Target's Official Corporate List of Approved Shopping Cart Uses either. But no one lost a limb or bashed to their head into anything, and that's more than I can say for an average hour at home nowadays. Because you know what is Not Completely Safe At All? The fact that babies want to start walking before they, you know, know how.
Standing Up Baby demands immediate walking priveliges, screw you and your gravitvy and balance and intact skulls.