And it was.
I learned that those little carts are the worst idea ever.
My ten-minute shopping trip turned into a half-hour-plus odyssey, with a three-year-old steering the ship.
She immediately took off running through the store the minute her little paws touched the handle. She narrowly missed taking out a little old lady before I finally caught up with her. I told her that she had to slow down and watch where she was going. She took off again, looking at her feet. I stopped her a second time, reminding her to look up, not down. She dashed down the dairy aisle, looking at the ceiling.
I caught up and grabbed the front of the cart, steering her toward the milk. I placed a gallon inside the basket and leaned down to explain to her again how this works.
"Stay behind Mommy and follow me, okay?"
As I peeped over my shoulder, she seemed to have the hang of it now and pushed the cart carefully. I stopped at the eggs and picked up a carton of six. Suddenly, searing pain shot up the back of my legs as the little metal buggy rammed me in the heels.
Thankfully I didn't drop the eggs, but I did drop a word I'd rather my toddler not repeat.
It only went downhill from there.
She couldn't steer, so she attempted to turn the cart by picking it up and moving it. Of course it tipped over and I dove to grab it before the contents could crash onto the floor and explode. This happened twice.
She ran into one person's leg, another person's cart, and a free-standing display.
She alternated between walking at the speed of smell and running like she was being chased by killer bees. She never could quite figure out how to watch where she was going.
(In the midst of all of this, there was also a mad dash to the bathroom when my newly potty-trained daughter shouted, "I have to peeee!" I literally dragged the cart (and her) across the store, shouting "Excuse us!" over my shoulder at people we nearly mowed down. The pee crisis was averted and we went back to the Buggy Debacle.)
I gathered the items on my list and finally reached the far side of the store, where the frozen items are kept. I breathed a sigh of relief as I began looking for the final item on my list. I grabbed a bag of corn and turned to put it in the cart. The cart that wasn't there. The cart that was propping open the freezer door while my daughter pillaged the ice cream.
"No ma'am. No ice cream."
"You have popsicles at home. You don't need ice cream."
"I do! I do need them! I'm sooo hungry."
"I'm not arguing with you. C'mon and bring the buggy."
I started to walk away. She quickly caught up and quietly pushed the cart to the front of the store without incident. We were almost to the checkout line when I glanced down and noticed a box of orange Pushup Pops peeking out from under a couple of other items.
"I said no ice cream."
"But I'll share with yooooouuuuuu."
She said it so sincerely, so sweetly.
I thought about how important it is to stand my ground, to not give in to her demands, to be consistent and prove that I mean what I say.
Then a little, tired voice inside my head whispered, "Pick you battles, girl."
I sighed and continued toward the front of the store, Peanut trotting happily behind me.
As we took our place in line, the woman in front of us turned around and saw Amelia at the helm of the little cart.
"Aw, look at her! She is so cute with her little buggy. Are you helping Mommy?"
Peanut smiled her big, goofy smile and nodded in the affirmative. She looked at the woman and then at me, beaming with pride.
I bit my tongue, patted her little head and told the woman, "She's doing her best."