I've found bribery works every time
Leada Gore, Editor
The plan was simple: My 4-year-old nephew, Collier, would spend the night at my house Friday night so his parents could take his brother to a swim meet in Tennessee first thing Saturday morning.
It was the first time he had stayed at my house overnight without his brother and he was a little nervous. That nervousness melted away when I mentioned to his mother we would be going grocery shopping that evening.
"Collier loves the grocery store," she said. "He's a big helper."
And he was. The problem was, I am not accustomed to 4-year-olds in the grocery store. Not sure what he would do while I was comparing the price of peas, I decided I would go for the old standby – bribery.
"Since you're going to be so good, we'll go pick out a toy for you to look at in the store and then you can take it home and play with it," I said.
This seemed like a good idea.
We headed to the toy department and then spent almost 30 minutes strolling slowly from aisle to aisle. Collier looked at every robot, every space creature, every truck and Army man. He pushed all the buttons, listened to all the noises and even shook a toy or two.
Finally, he decided on a car/helicopter set. Pleased to be done with the toy shopping, I asked Collier if he'd like to ride in the buggy.
"No, I want to walk," he said.
This, of course, meant I was juggling my purse, a shopping list and him. Being an amateur, I have't learned yet when you're supposed to hold onto them and when you're not. I figured the safest thing in the world would be for me to keep a hand on him at all times.
This was easier said than done. Collier was a helper. He helped me put the cans into the cart, making sure to fill in any holes in the pile. This meant the bread became more like a loaf of tortillas, but this wasn't a concern at that point.
No one told me 4-year-olds have an overwhelming desire to touch everything. Collier touched every can, bottle or package within his reach. Realizing I would have to give up my plan to have my hand on him at all times, I settled for just making sure he was within reach, in case one of the innocent can pats turned into a giant bottle of ketchup hitting the tile floor.
We made it through the store OK, mainly because I moved quickly and offered more bribes along the way. We bought Batman pasta and Star Wars snacks, as well as some race car ice cream and Elf cookies. As we made our way into the checkout line, I relaxed my rules a little bit and let Collier walk about three feet from me to a toy display. I guess you have to let them go sometimes, even at the grocery store.