Grocery shopping with toddler twins is a bit like being in an adventure video game. First, you must choose your grocery store, which is akin to choosing your character and/or weapons. There are various strength and limitations, so you have to plan carefully to complete the battle. Some grocery stores have two spaces for a kid in a shopping cart, but no lap belt for toddlers who seem to be on a permanent suicide mission. Most have only one space for a kid in a shopping cart thereby meaning you will have to use the stroller to do your shopping. Your options are to pull a cart behind you (not bad when the babies are little and unaware, but a fucking nightmare when they learn to grab everything and will eventually resolve in you abandoning the cart and running from the store in tears before child services can find you). The second option is to stroller shop where you cram groceries into every available nook and cranny and even ask the children to hold onto things (knowing that many will be unceremoniously chucked from the stroller, so they better not be things you need too much).
You will be resentful every time you see a well behaved single child happily learning all of the names of the vegetables as they sit contentedly in their cart with their mother’s full attention. Meanwhile, the twins are shooting their little hands out like bullets for the most breakable, expensive and messy things they can find. A glass jar of coffee beans, a bag of rice, a tub of yogurt. One of your twins will steal a harlequin romance that you won’t find until the most embarrassing moment possible. There will be screaming every time you cram a favourite item in the stroller, so you better get an extra loaf of bread. The twins will take 2 bites out of each piece and then leave a trail of breadcrumbs behind you, in case they finally manage to break you.. I kind of envision a store manager following the bread crumbs to find me catatonic in the dairy section with the kids smashing eggs into my hair.
Then there’s the actual limitations of the stroller itself. It will sag under the weight of 3 gallons of milk, a bucket of yogurt, produce and bread for a week. You’ll marvel that you seriously ate 2 lbs of cheese at your house this week, when YOU DON’T EVEN LIKE CHEESE. As the axle for starts to bend in half, you’ll be reminded of the time the stroller broke not 10 seconds after you pass a cracked out homeless woman with a deep cut on her forehead screaming about past events that don’t make any sense. You were forced to face some uncomfortable truths about yourself: namely that seeing a cracked out homeless woman screeching on the street makes you want to scurry away rather than stick around and help out. Also, you are terrible at following instructions, because none of this would have happened if you had followed the stroller instructions.
As you pass through the checkout lane you will curse the marketing people who put all kinds of brightly coloured shit at kid level. You will look disheveled and worn out and your kids will start to have a meltdown and pull every carefully arranged item off of the conveyor belt. But you can see the finish line, so you are willing to abandon any item that gets unceremoniously dumped on the floor. You might swat a hands that are hoarding magazines and chocolate bars and and the twins will turn on the charm as soon as they get the slightest bit of attention from the cashier. The cashier will regard you suspiciously and wonder whether maybe a call to child services isn’t in order. You will also wonder the same thing.
So ultimately: shopping with twins turns a seemingly simple event into a strategy and planning session and may result in a deep moral inventory of yourself. It’s not an event to be taken lightly.