Life is so much better…with my boys!
Picking a cereal is like picking friends for a dodgeball team – there are a lot of choices and many different factors to consider. It doesn’t help that the cereal aisle has more options for one food group than any other food category in the store. Think about it. How many different types of sugar are there? Five maybe six? How many different types of milk are there? Eight to ten? Have you ever counted how many cereal options there are?
But I wasn’t at the store for cereal; I needed sugar, tortilla chips, and bananas. It was Sunday afternoon so I decided to take the kiddos along with me. Normally, I pull out the stroller and make them both ride so that we can get in and out of the store proficiently, but on that particular Sunday I thought they would enjoy walking – they did.
We walked through the store, aisle by aisle, VERY slowly. My one-year-old’s legs aren’t known for their speed, and when each step only propels him six inches, a grocery store aisle might as well be a football field. We found the chips, the sugar, and the coconut milk, and slowly made our way back to the checkout line. And that’s when I made a terrible mistake. I saw a short cut to the front by walking down the cereal aisle.
My boys LOVE cereal. I guess it’s not really a surprise considering most cereal is grain, covered in sugar, packaged in a brightly decorated box. I kind of like cereal too. But we weren’t at the store to get cereal; we were buying chips, sugar, and milk. My one-year-old didn’t get it – he didn’t understand that we weren’t buying cereal.
“We get dis one?” Fin asked pointing at a bright red box with a rainbow on the front.
“No, Fin not today!”
“We get dis one?” Fin asked pointing at a yellow box with a smiling honey bee.
“No, Fin not today. Let’s go buddy, we need to get home to make dinner.”
“We get dis one?” Fin asked pointing at a green box with apples on the front.
“No buddy. We’re not getting cereal today!”
Slowly – VERY slowly – Finley made his way down the aisle pointing at EVERY SINGLE box of cereal on his level – EVERY BOX! He would point, look up at me, and say, “We get dis one?” It probably took us 15 or 20 minutes just to walk down the cereal aisle. (My 3-year-old wasn’t any better than his brother. But instead of pointing and asking, “We get dis one?” Noah kept grabbing stuff and putting it in the basket.)
In the past, I would have been frustrated by my son’s slowness and questions. I had an agenda. I had things to buy, and then I wanted to get home and make dinner. Even on Sunday, I like to be proficient with my time and energy, and I often carry my kids in my arms or a stroller so that they don’t slow me down. But as my son and I walked – or crawled – down the aisle I wasn’t worried about the constant movement of time. I wasn’t worried about the American gods called speed and proficiency.
I was present. It was just me, my boys, and A LOT of cereal boxes.