You know this riddle, right?
A farmer is standing on one bank of a river, with a fox, a chicken, and a bag of grain. He needs to get to the other side of the river, taking the fox, the chicken, and the grain with him.
However, the boat used to cross the river is only large enough to carry the farmer and one of the things he needs to take with him, so he will need to make several trips in order to get everything across.
In addition, he cannot leave the fox unattended with the chicken, or else the fox will eat the chicken; and he cannot leave the chicken unattended with the grain, or else the chicken will eat the grain. The fox is not particularly partial to grain, and may be left alone with it.
How can he get everything across the river without anything being eaten?
This is how I feel about grocery store visits with two kids now. It is a nonstop, honest to goodness, chicken, fox and bag of grain riddle.
And I generally suck at riddles.
A woman is standing outside the local Kroger in a thunderstorm with a five year old, a five month old and a week’s worth of groceries. In her left hand she holds her car keys, in her right, the bottle of Advil she ripped open in the check out line so she could down three before completing her transaction. At the bottom of her bag lies her crumpled receipt and 75% of the coupons she had intended to use.
She has to get everyone into the car and home in one piece before she can rest. Crap. Did I say rest? I meant before she then has to put everything away and make dinner.
She can get to the car with everyone, but who to put in first? She can’t leave the five month old in the cart alone…people call the police over stuff like that. Plus he’s really really adorable and someone could kidnap him and keep him for their own. And she definitely didn't tote around a heart monitor for a month just to have that happen.
If it were Christmas, there might be a chance she could give her Salvation Army donation with the condition that the bell ringer provide 45 seconds of babysitting. But alas, the bells have been put away for the year. Nothing but upselling girl scouts and there is no room for heavy Samoa negotiations in this week’s budget.
She can’t leave the five year old in the little car attached to the buggy that just HAD to be green. That’s where the chocolate milk is. Also, she’s pretty sure he’d defect to the girl scout table and then this riddle would further complicate itself by blowing the don’t-make-eye-contact-to-avoid-cookie-purchasing technique she intended to use.
The groceries, left unattended will surely get soaked, and she doesn’t want to have to go back to the grocery store, well, ever again really.
So how can she get everyone into the car and home most effectively?
It’s quite simple really.
She can do it by making an ill planned and poorly executed mad dash to her car in the rain while screaming for everyone to hang on. She haphazardly throws her sweater over the five month old and prays he can still get oxygen and that she doesn’t trip and fall on her face. She then slams the cart into the back of the car and begins running laps around her mom-mobile grabbing little people and flinging them into car seats as fast as her under-exercised legs can take her. It’s a fairly impressive maneuver and she is proud of the fact that she only pauses once to check Facebook.
She throws her purse and keys into the front seat and sprints to the back of the car where she begins hurling groceries into any available crevice in the trunk. Things spill over. Cans end up on produce. Cokes get shaken. She knows at this point, that the bread is not going to make it.
Last but not least, she precariously balances the milk and cokes at the very edge of the trunk before slamming the door. She says a quick prayer that they won’t fall out in the driveway.
Another mad dash to the cart return that she, yet again, failed to park next to, and she is on the home stretch. She walks triumphantly back to her car. Not too cocky though, she still has to make it to the car without getting hit by the gigantic SUVs that have appeared out of nowhere.
She gets into the driver seat of her car and takes a few minutes to catch her breath and her sanity…well okay, to catch her breath and check Facebook. It’s not long before the five year old begins to ask why the car hasn’t left its space and the five month old begins to scream.
She cranks the car and victoriously heads home. It’s a glorious moment until she realizes that she has forgotten the garage door opener and she has to do this all again in 2.5 miles.
She bursts into tears.