After failing (well maybe not failing, but I definitely got a D-) the Take the Toddler and Baby Through the Store Without Having a Tantrum Test, I've steered clear of shopping with the two of them in tow. I admit it, I have been extremely nervous about facing that demon again.
Then there's that age old cliche: when you fall off a horse, get right back on (which I've actually been through, so this shouldn't be so hard, right? HA!). I finally decided to give shopping another try with my angels.
Yesterday, we went to Walmart. I figured that was as good a place as any to expose others to crying babies. After all, it's practically commonplace there. When we parked the van, I decided to talk to Ian about what I expected from him.
Me: Ian, do you want to ride in the cart or walk in the store?
Ian: Walk, mommy.
Me: I'll put Laurel in the cart and you can walk with mommy. You must walk next to mommy and look at things, no hands. Say, "No hands".
Ian: No hands.
Me: That's right, no hands, just look with your eyes. If you touch something with your hands you will have to ride in the cart. Ian, what happens if you touch something with your hands? You have to ride in the (pause)...
Me: Right. You can walk next to mommy and look at things.
As I put a padded cart cover and Laurel in the cart, I repeated the above conversation with Ian. He seemed to listen and think about what I was saying. I started to feel some of my apprehension disappear.
We walked towards the soap aisle. An excited Ian walked right next to the cart. He happily looked around and told Laurel and I what he saw. "Mommy, lollipops. Mommy, bananas. Mommy, cups."
He was having a great time. I felt more and more relaxed as we continued walking through the store together. As I put hand soap in the cart, I caught Ian reaching for something on the shelf. "Uh oh, Ian, if you touch something you have to go in the cart. Just look."
He actually dropped his hands down to his sides! Lots of praise headed his way.
Being a toddler, he of course had to test his limits. In one of the aisles, he was tempted by some toy sprinkler. He just couldn't help himself and grabbed it. I bent down to look him in the eyes and said, "Ian, you touched the toy. You need to go into the cart for two minutes."
Oh yes, there were tears and heart-breaking sobs. Once he had done his time, I picked him up out of the cart and restated the no touch rule. He calmed right down and was willing to walk alongside me again.
Would you believe we trekked through the toy department and he didn't touch a single item! He occasionally would stop, look at something and talk to me about it. He showed lots of enthusiasm, especially towards Thomas, Elmo and Bob the Builder products, and yet he managed to show control. I was/am so proud of him.
And what of his reward, you may ask. Lots and lots of praise and clapping on the way out of the store and the drive home. No candy, no toy, just a great feeling inside.