Erik Quinn: The Heart of a Family: A La Cart

Thursday, January 01, 2009

A La Cart

Erik has become Mr. Question Man. His sentence structure is becoming more sophisticated, and he seems to enjoy expressing himself more easily. One of his favorite things to do is to query others to obtain information. Especially me.

Lately I have heard the following:

"Mama, did you go to Home Depot?"

"Are we going to go see Boppa and Gua?"

"Did you take the cat her medicine?"

"Want to do some laundry?"

When he wants something, he will still use the good old "Want some ______," as it gets his point across and is easiest to blurt out when he is in a hurry. There are exceptions to this, though. For example, he recently told his father to turn off the TV and make him a quesadilla. The other day he asked me probably hundreds of times for a snack. All day long I heard "Want some snack." It didn't matter that I had given him something to eat or what it was. He repeated that same phrase over and over until I was ready to gently set him out on the front porch and shut the door behind him. When his father came home and I headed out to dinner with a friend, I made a call home on my cell phone to remind Brian there was hamburger thawing in the fridge. In the background I heard Erik ask to speak to me. As soon as he got on the phone, he said it again.


I had to laugh.

I am allergic to shopping and plan the meals we have here carefully so I don't have to go to the store more than once a week or even longer. Without a steady stream of work this time of year, I don't leave the house more than I have to. These mega trips to town cause my cart to overflow with produce and snacks for Erik. I took him out yesterday and realized it would be the last time he would fit into the seat of the shopping cart at one of our local supermarkets. While the carts at Costco are roomy and even built to accommodate two small children, these are on the smaller side. I left his AFOs (leg braces) off because cramming his lower extremities through the metal bars in the cart when they are encased in plastic is more difficult than it looks. Plus, I have had difficulty extracting him from the thing in the parking lot when our shopping is complete. I end up violently yanking on him, which he tolerates extremely well, and I glance around me to make sure nobody is looking, wondering if this might be the time we need to call the local fire department to come to our aid with their pneumatic cutting tools. This would surely negate any possible nomination for me becoming Mother of the Year.

Yesterday, however, I did manage to feed his limbs into the cart and tried not to step back and take a look at how ridiculous he looked in the thing or how many pounds he exceeded the limit posted on the cart's flip down butt flap. I just made sure not to take both hands off the cart's handle when it was empty for fear it would do an end-over. I wheeled Erik around the large store, first selecting three new pairs of fleece pajamas and avoiding the blanket sleepers with feet in them. Erik seems to be growing so quickly that he no longer fits into the ones designated for his age. The toes in them rip out within a week. He helped me pick pajamas out for the first time and seemed to like the ones with racing cars on them the best.

Erik was obviously uncomfortable and asked to go home several times but hung in there and endured at least an hour of shopping. He greeted everyone, obviously preferring to speak to shoppers in their teens who stammered hello back and tried very unsuccessfully to ignore him as we passed by them repeatedly on each aisle. Erik says hello to everyone in the store thousands of times if he can as if he has never seen them before and seems delighted to spot them over and over. He even assigns them names sometimes, loudly spouting random things such as, "HELLO, ALICIA!" which can be quite confusing for passers by. One woman was greeted so many times that she ended up having a lengthy conversation with Erik and seemed to really enjoy it. I usually let him carry any conversations we have with strangers and go about what I am doing, looking up quietly and smiling to acknowledge them here and there. He is also obsessed with spotting the little scissor lifts and forklifts they use to stock shelves. Remember when I could barely take him to the store because of the horrendous beeping noises these pieces of equipment make?

I sure do.

As we waited in line to have our groceries checked and bagged, a very attractive, fit-appearing woman said hello to Erik and asked if he remembered her. Her daughter, who was probably about 12, smiled very brightly at Erik. When the conversation they were having seemed longer than usual, I looked up and said hello to the woman. She told me how cute she thought he was and then explained that she was with a local Christmas caroling group and that Erik sang with them recently. When I looked confused, she said that the lady who cared for Erik one full day a week was her dear friend and that they had gotten together when Erik was in daycare. They made their way through the line and disappeared. I had to laugh, as I had no idea Erik had gone Christmas caroling this year. I was already losing track of my independent son at his ripe old age of 4.

We stopped at the bank machine on the way out, and Erik tried to chat up the lady with her back to us pulling money and a receipt from the slots. I put my finger over my lips and quietly shushed him, which he found hilarious. He laughed loudly, and the woman doing her banking smiled over her shoulder at him.

We made our way out the door, rolling over a sheet of black ice covering the parking lot. I successfully yanked Erik from the cart and swiveled my body to put him in the car, hoping the muscles in my back would hold and allow this familiar motion.

Until Erik is mature enough to stand by my side and not pull items from the shelves onto the floor, this mega trip was our last at this particular store. He tends to disappear in an instant, and my hands need to be free to hold onto him at all times. Luckily, he is a busy boy and I am able to make these trips during school or his physical therapy appointments at the pool. It won't be the same, though.

It certainly will be quiet.

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Blogger Michelle said...

I had to laugh about Eric knowing the lady in the store that you did not know....These instances grow and grow for us...The entire town knows Ari without knowing me...I always say - I feel like her personal assistant...seems like your on the same path : ) Ari's abililty with dealing with a shopping trip flipped like a switch from bad to good...I have no idea why or how or when (I even blogged in the summer about how awful she was) but now she just walks beside me and ejoys shopping and of course the other shoppers : ) I find the more I ignore her in the store the better her behavior is...go figure!

7:47 AM  
Blogger Julie said...

Sounds like you were talking about Noah. They sure do know how to make friends. That is one good thing about Noah being small, fitting him in the cart. He would never stay with me.

5:03 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

I like dr. mervis... so don't take this wrong.
She told me to answer Caleb once, and then ignore him. LOL! I wanted to let Caleb with her for a whole day. Just the two of them, and then see what she thinks about that advice. :)
Erik is at the age where i started leaving Caleb home with Daddy for shopping trips. I can take him now, although he still talks to EVERYONE, he doesn't disappear so quickly.

4:59 AM  

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