Scene: Biniam is at soccer practice, Brian is out of town, it's dinner time, I have the three little kids, two hours, and grocery shopping and Costco shopping that HAS to get done before I need to pick up Biniam (who is 20 minutes away from my point-of-shopping).
Run home from work to pick up shopping list. While adding to the list, throw Dino-nuggets in microwave. While microwave is still running, throw smoothie ingredients into blender. Put nuggets into two baggies, grab water, cash and smoothie and head out the door. While driving down the road, throw kids their dinner-in-a-bag, and drink smoothie. Notice that Emma is already asleep (must not have REALLY napped at church today, like she swore she did) and make mental note to bring her baggie into Costco.
Pull into parking spot, leave kids in car, grab cart, load Noah's carseat into the basket of the cart, and Isaiah into the cart "seat". Fail to wake up Emma with voice and gentle nudges, so crawl into back of van and pull Emma out and place her in second "seat" (I love the giant Costco carts). I shop, Emma eats, Isaiah screams about having to be buckled in, and Noah eats the tag off the new jammies I couldn't resist for Isaiah (he has birthday money to spend!).
Race over to WinCo, park, pull Noah out of car seat, climb into front seat, and nurse. Load Noah back into car seat, carry him into store with instructions for Isaiah and Emma to hold hands and stay close by. Locate the biggest, most obnoxious cart that will hold all my children (you know, the kind with the huge, side-by-side captain's chairs, then an axle big enough for an 18-wheeler, connecting to a then normal-sized cart, that doesn't steer worth a lick and the kids think is the greatest thing ever?). Secure Emma and Isaiah in the captain's chairs and attempt to secure Noah's carseat up on top of the toddler "seat" of the cart. Except I need Emma to feed Noah his chicken and rice dinner, and she can't reach way up there. Take Noah back out of car seat, buckle him into the nasty toddler seat, and kick myself for not refilling my baby wipes earlier so I could at least pretend to de-funk the place my precious babe is now sitting. Put empty car seat into basket of cart, and wonder to myself where the heck I'm going to put my groceries.
So there we are, three kids in one cart, four-year-old feeding the 8-month-old, giant cart in small spaces, trying to make record time, picturing Biniam standing next to a less-than-happy coach if I'm late.
Truth is, I was late, but only about 15 minutes, and thankfully the coach had already left (practice happens to be behind our church, so Biniam had gone inside). The kids actually did really well in the store and earned rewards, and we got more than a couple looks and comments about how cute/efficient it was that Emma was feeding Noah. All in all, a successful - and exhausting - evening!