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A Trip to the Grocery Store Through a Toddler’s Eyes

Photograph by Twenty20

OK, alright! Here we go!

Dad is rambling on about staying close to him and not being a brat in here, but whatever. I just have to play it cool until we're inside. First I have to hold his fat, hairy hand in this parking lot and act like I'm a "big boy." Haha. He always hurls that term at me.

"If you want to be treated like a 'big boy' you have to act like one, Charlie!"

But I don't want to be treated like a big boy because I AM a big boy. Enough of this holding hands crap. I want to bite his fingers so bad right now you don't even know! But I've got to play this game of his in the lot or I'll never hear the end of it.

"Hold my hand, dude, or you'll get hit by a car!" That's my dad in a nutshell. Ugh. Hit by a car. Hit by a bus. Hit by a golf ball. Hit by a bird poop. Hit by a falling star. He's always worried about me being hit by stuff. Like if he's holding my hand that's gonna cushion an airplane dropping out of the sky on our heads.

OhMYGOSHOHMYGOSHOHMYSGOSH!!!!!! WE'RE IN!!! WE'RE IN THE STORE!!! HE'S GOT HIS CART! COLOR!!!!! PILES OF FRUIT!!!! I NEED TO TOUCH THOSE GRAPES!!!! I CAN'T HELP MYSELF!!! OHMYGOD THEY FEEL SO SOFT AS I POP THEM!!! POP! POP! POP! EATING ONE. EATING FIVE AT ONCE. HEAVEN. I'M IN PARADISE. WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD! WHAT A GREAT TIME TO...

Uh-oh. Dad is grabbing my arm and hollering at me already. I will melt his resistance with my electrifying half-toothless smile.

BOOM.

Done.

He's looking at green stuff. He's touching a thing I would not eat even if it were covered in chocolate. I'm punching a melon. Have you ever punched a melon?! It feels so incredible! PUNCH PUNCH PUNCH!!! Yessssss! I feel so ALIVE right now!! Why don't people do this? Why don't we all just....

Oh boy. Melon down. Smashed. Melon juice on the shiny floor. I'll stomp it with my sneakers and maybe Dad won't see.

OK, wait. He sees. He's not happy. Dad is not happy. Dad is sad. Or is that sad? Maybe it's not sad, maybe it's angry! Dad is sad or angry, but look at that beautiful melon art all over the floor! Oh no. Oh no oh no oh no! Not the cart! Dad is lifting me up into the cart.

Oh, here come the tears. I can't stop them, this sucks! I hate sitting in the cart. Nothing good happens up here.

I'm crying, screaming. I feel so hot. I'm on fire with desire. I wanna roam free. What about my rights?! What about my liberties?! NOOOOOOOOOOO!

I love my dad, but he's a handful sometimes. And he has no idea how to have fun.

What's this? Dad just handed me a banana. I think he thinks it'll calm me down. Maybe it will. Let me think for a second. A banana. A banana. Hmph. You know what? It bores me. This banana is the same as all the other bananas and it just isn't doing anything for me at all. Sorry, Dad.

I hurl the banana.

It hits an old lady's big leg.

Hahaha! Now THAT I like. I'm smiling now even though I'm also crying hard, too. She is staring at me and Dad is saying stuff to her and I am suspended out there somewhere between extreme happiness and utter disappointment. There is snot, too. Bubbles of it boiling out of my nose. Banana Lady is looking at me like I'm an animal in the zoo.

Dad seems lost. He's looking around and looking at me. I'll touch his hand on the cart.

I love you, Dad.

That'll fix him. It always works. He's trying to smile now and that's nice, but oh my god: SO BORED UP HERE IN THE CART.

"I get down? I get down, Dad? I be good boy!"

He hears me but he's not saying anything. Dad is touching fruit. I want to touch fruit. I want to climb in fruit and roll down the hills of fruit and smoosh fruit into my skin until I am covered in fruit smoosh. This is taking forever. I hate this cart.

"I get down, Dad? I be good boy!"

Maybe he didn't hear me. But he's not getting me down. He said no. His eyes are wild. He seems confused. I love my dad, but he's a handful sometimes. And he has no idea how to have fun. SO BORED.

I reach out and pull a thing. It's a box. Other boxes chase it off the shelf and now there are boxes all over the floor. I smile. Dad is staring at me and saying the "grown-up words" he says when he's mad. Whatever.

Dad is picking up boxes and putting them back on the shelf. I laugh. It's so funny. Dad is so funny right now. I love him so much. I reach behind me into the cart. I cannot see what is there but I feel a soft thing. What's this?! Bread! I love bread! I hug bread and smash my face into the soft bread and who doesn't love bread like I love bread?!

Oh no.

Oh jeez.

Dad took the bread and he's hissing at me like a snake on "Diego."

I love Diego. And "Paw Patrol." And "Team Umizoomi." I love feathers. I love cop cars and mac 'n' cheese and I have to poop.

I'm pooping.

Haha. What do you know, I'm pooping!

You should have let me walk, Dad.

You should have let me play in the fruit.

This day is about to take a wild turn.

I wish I were an eagle.

I hope Dad gets me a treat at the check-out.

I'm so bored.

I'm done. The poop, I mean.

Oh man.

I'm a big boy. I wear underwear now. But ... well ... I pooped.

(Yawn.)

I'm tired.

Here we go.

I love you, dad!

(Smile)

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