New Stay-at-home Dad Initiation: Taking the Kids to Target

Venturing Out

Generally, when I decide to do something, I prefer to dive in head-first and really commit to it. The wife had tasked me with doing something about organization in the kids’ bathroom (more on that later). So, what better way to be initiated (broken) into the world of stay-at-home parenting than a 9 AM trip to Target with a one and two year old? Please be advised that this section is not meant to offend anyone (it really isn’t particularly offensive), I’m mostly making fun of myself, and it’s all meant in good fun.

From my extremely limited experience with early weekday morning trips to retail stores, grocery stores, etc. there are predominately two types of customers: 1) the moms that just dropped their kids off at school wearing their yoga pants and having their hair pulled up into buns or the like, and 2) the seniors (either just a female or a husband and wife together – the men are rarely allowed to travel alone for whatever reason). So, the dad pushing around his two little kids in a shopping cart is fairly unusual sight.

Having that established, I have a thing about strangers coming up and touching my kids for whatever reason. Call it a pet peeve or paranoia, your pick. I have experienced this personally multiple times (strangers touching my kids on the arm, head, or similar) and while annoyed, I have just let it go. I know that my kids are cute, and I understand that the squeeze of the arm or rub of the head is always well-intentioned, but I don’t know anything about the individual’s personal hygiene practices (see how my mind works) and would prefer a friendly greeting and for everyone to move along.

So, for me going to Target at this time with my little kids and this clientele is like jumping into a proverbial pit of vipers (OK, it’s not that bad). “I can do this, but I need a plan” I convinced myself. So, I took the following approach when encountering other customers in the store:

  1. Make eye contact.
  2. Derive their intentions.
  3. If they seem excited or make that “oh, they’re so cute/sweet” face, check for the nearest/best escape route and use it.
  4.  If cornered, create a diversion like pretending to take a cell phone call and rushing out of the aisle with a look of urgency or panic. If all else fails, start coughing excessively or ask my kid if his tummy still hurts and tell him that the medicine I’m buying will take care of his “stomach problem.”

This strategy seemed to work well. There was a lot of bobbing in and out of aisles and some return trips when the coast was clear. OK, I may be embellishing a little here.

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Abrupt topic change – I was very happy to find that Yoplait is now offering a more natural brand of their Gogurt. The brand is called simply… Gogurt and has far better ingredients (no HFCS and no artificial colors or flavors) when compared to the standard Gogurt brand.

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Exercise and Nutrition

After our expedition at Target, I decided to take the kids to a nearby nature preserve for a few minutes before heading home. One of my goals of being a SAHD is to keep my kids active, having them get plenty of exercise, and eating healthy. So, what better way for them to eat well and exercise than for me to push them in the stroller in the park while constantly handing them cookies that I just bought at Target? To be fair, the cookies were Annie’s Funny Bunny Grahams brand, which are made with better ingredients than a standard store-bought cookie. The exercise thing, well not this time, I guess.

So, we made a couple of mostly uneventful laps around the path at the preserve. When the cookie supply ran low, Grayson would look back at me expectantly and Clare would look back and start fussing. It was both non-verbal and verbal communication at its finest. I soon remembered that the Gogurt was still in the van, so we didn’t stay very long.

Home Improvement   

I mentioned earlier that I needed to find a better way to organize the kids’ vanity counter (toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, hair bands, etc.) in their bathroom. Here are the before and after pictures. It was not a dramatic change, just better organization. Let me know what you think.

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I was surprised to find nine toothbrushes that all seemed to be actively in use. I only have four kids, of which only three use toothbrushes either on their own or with limited assistance.

A Final Note

I’ll end today’s post with this story. Today marked the first day of school for my oldest two. It was a little scary for both of them since they changed schools from last year. As we were driving to school, in order to ease the tension (and to address a legitimate concern), I used all of my parental wisdom and advised them to do the following, “I want you both to say any words related to ‘poop’ now and get them out of your system (figuratively). Once you step inside those school doors, you cannot say ‘poop,’ ‘fart,’ or anything like it or else you’re in big trouble.” This, of course, seemed logical at the time and they both laughed a little about it. However, I had not considered the fact that my two-year-old son Grayson was with me also. So, by the end of the ride, the oldest two had managed to get Grayson to start shouting “Chicken poop! Chicken poop!” all the way to the parking lot. Don’t ask me where the “chicken” part came from.

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Until next time – Chris (Active dad at home)

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One thought on “New Stay-at-home Dad Initiation: Taking the Kids to Target

  1. Aunt Liz says:

    I sure hope you wiped down the basket before you trapped the kids in there. LOL
    Happy adventures! Can’t wait to read the next episode!!

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