Last Saturday we snuck a trip to Meijer between lunch and Walmart. I needed to return a lunch box I’d bought for Olivia and we wanted to pick up some beans for a couple of bean bag chairs that have flattened over the past year. Alyssa informed me as we walked in that Bomber, our Betta fish needed food. Yes, that damned fish is STILL alive. My husband is just sure we got Bomber after we got Orville, but no, Bomber is older than Orville and Orville will be four years old this month. So Bomber is AT LEAST four and a half. Damned fish. That reminds me, I need to clean his bowl this evening. Ugh.
While we were looking for the fish food, the girls watched the fish swim in the tanks. They’re lovely because someone else gets to clean those tanks. No tank fish for us, thank you very much.
Because we were there, we had to peruse the book aisle because duh, it’s what one does when one is in Meijer.
Olivia found a coloring book with pictures of the characters from Inside Out. It came with a multi-colored pencil. She had to have it.
I know. I’m overly indulgent but coloring is still something she needs to do more often because it helps build strength in her hands. So yeah, I justified my spinelessness and got her the book. Alyssa found a copy of the latest Dork Diaries book and because I was getting Olivia something I let Alyssa put her book in the cart too. I need to grow some resolve.
Except…books! How can I say no too books? Reading is such a good practice, even fiction that isn’t particularly well written. Just saying.
Before she was even in the car Liv was clamoring for me to get her book and pencil out for her. As far as she was concerned the quarter mile drive from Meijer to Walmart didn’t give her nearly enough time to color. When I started to unsnap her seatbelt, she declared that she was taking her coloring book and pencil into Walmart with us.
I told her not to bother because she wouldn’t be able to walk and color at the same time.
“Let’s get a blue cart,” she suggested.
I reminded her that our local Walmart has done away with the blue carts (carts with seats on the back where kids can sit and be pushed by their parents. I loved those carts because they kept one Miss O contained…I miss those carts.)
She sighed. Then she perked up again. “How about if I ride in the back of your cart?”
“And where will I put the groceries?” I asked her.
She gave it a little more thought and came up with what she thought was a brilliant idea. “How about if you push two carts?”
Ha. Hahahaha…but wait. Alyssa stood waiting for us to figure it all out.
Without another word, I grabbed the blanket we keep in the backseat of the car and ushered the girls into the store. On the way in, I made my suggestion.
“Lyssie, will you push Livie in a cart while she colors?”
I think Alyssa thought I was joking. She looked startled by the suggestion.
“Isn’t she a little big to be riding in a cart?” she asked when she realized I was serious.
“Of course she is, but who cares?”
“Yes! I want Lyssie to push me so I can color. Lyssie, look, Mom brought my blanket so I can sit on it and not on the hard cart. This will be so great.”
A rolled her eyes but amicably lifted her sister into a cart after I laid out the blanket. Olivia settled in with a giggle and opened her book.
“I can’t believe we’re doing this,” Alyssa muttered.
I smiled at her and said, “Just think, you’re getting points toward your big sister of the year award.”
She smirked. “I think I already got that one just because Livie is still alive.”
We got a few weird looks as we wandered the store with our two carts, one full of groceries and the other full of a coloring eight-year-old. Honestly, I’m over weird looks. They don’t bother me at all. I just smile and nod and sometimes say something like, “I know, right? I wish some giant would come and push me around in a big old shopping cart.”
I consider things like this to be character building moments for Alyssa. She’s learning not to care what strangers think of her. She’s learning that sometimes, doing something nice for someone (even her little sister) is fun if only because it makes people look at you weird.
As for Olivia, she couldn’t wait to get home and tell her daddy how great her sister was for pushing her in a cart while she colored. I’m calling the entire weekend a win just because of that one act of kindness from my twelve-year-old.