At least once a week, my 5-year-old daughter comes home from preschool with an important piece of information.
“Yes, honey,” I reply. “We sure can, but we need to wait until it’s our turn to be the class shopper. The teacher will let us know when we should bring the snack.”
“Yes, honey,” I respond. “And when you are the Star Student, I will make the poster and send it to class.”
“Yes, honey… and we did that. It was called your birthday. Remember when we brought the ice cream sandwiches that all of the kids loved?”
“Yes… but everyone else loved them.”
Well, on Friday, we got news that it was finally the long-awaited day. She had been selected as the snack shopper.
I can’t even begin to tell you the level of excitement this brought to my daughter. She has reminded me every few hours since 11:45 on Friday that she IS the class shopper and WHEN will we do the shopping?!?
I was determined to complete this assignment to the best of my ability, meaning I would not forget and I would not have to do it at 6 a.m. on Monday morning and I would not have to bring the snack midway through class.
I have already had two children make it through two years of preschool. I am familiar with the class shopping list, and I know how to find myself a jug of apple juice, a bunch of bananas and a bag of pretzels.
Nevermind that I have only left the house one time in the past two weeks. And nevermind I haven’t even stepped foot in the grocery store since November. It’s OK that I only got two hours of sleep last night. And who cares that it’s about 30 degrees below zero? And big deal that it’s Sunday afternoon when everyone in town floods to the grocery store at the same time and the parking lot is so full you have to park in the farthest spaces, which are at least one-fourth mile away from the door.
But I did forget one important detail, which if I had remembered I would have begged my husband to be the class shopper: My daughter does not have an ordinary preschool teacher.
No problem. I found the first item in record time: 3 lemons.
I waited patiently for the woman in front of my to inspect every single lemon in the lemon bin, and then I quickly grabbed the three on top. It has to be “L” day because I can’t imagine that the teacher is going to feed 16 hungry preschoolers three lemons for snack.
The next item on the list: 4 pears.
Again. No big deal. I was stalled for a second trying to decide if I should buy the Anjou, Bosc, Barlett or Red Barlett. But I can handle tough decisions.
I mean every morning, I face hard choices like whether I should wear my brown snow boots or my brown cowboy boots. Other days, I have to decide which pair of black shoes to wear. And although I admit, I have been known to make a few poor choices and grabbed the high-heeled black boots when a galosh would have been more appropriate, I chose my pears with confidence and didn’t look back.
Next up: One lemon pound cake.
A-ha! That proves it! The letter of the week MUST be “L”!
Now, where to find a lemon pound cake? I searched the bakery and found a buttery pound cake and a quite tempting cinnabon pound cake. I found some lemon poppy seed muffins, but no lemon pound cake.
I looked through the Little Debbie section. I begged Little Debbie to please, please, please make a lemon pound cake. No such luck.
I held onto hope as I pushed my cart to the frozen aisle where I knew I would find a pound cake. A butter pound cake.
I started to imagine myself running from Jewel to Dominick’s to WalMart Super Centers for the rest of the afternoon without any luck finding a lemon pound cake. And then I finally came to my senses.
Are 16 4- and 5-year-old children going to care if I buy them a lemon layer cake instead?!
Of course not! In fact, half of them would probably throw away their slice of lemon pound cake, and they would probably be more than happy to at least lick the frosting off of the lemon layer cake.
Only one more item on the list and it was an easy one: Cinnamon Apple Rice Cakes.
I headed for the cookie/cracker aisle to grab those ricey cakes and finish my shopping.
Hmmm. They must have moved the rice cakes over with the chips.
But they weren’t there either.
Maybe they are with the cereal? Nope. Over by baking supplies? Nope.
They have to be by the popcorn then. Because rice cakes seem a lot like popcorn, except for the fact that popcorn is made of corn and rice cakes are made of, well, rice.
I decided I would carefully walk up and down every single aisle and methodically look high and low until I found the rice cakes.
I swore to myself that even on the off-chance that I did happen upon a Meijer employee I would NOT ask for help, unless the employee asked me if I needed help. And I knew the chance of that happening was less than .05 percent. (I would have said 0 percent, but I wouldn’t want you to think this post was full of sarcasm.)
Up and down the aisles I went. Repeatedly. Back and forth. Once. Twice. I looked high and low. I looked in every reasonable location, except, of course, the very last aisle, which is clearly marked, “juice”.
Finally, realizing this is the most exercise I have had in three months and that I would probably have to be confined to bed for a week afterward if I didn’t stop pushing that cart around Meijer, I found Bernie, the dairy-shelf stocker. Conceding defeat, I sheepishly asked him if Meijer did indeed carry rice cakes.
“Umm… yes…. they are in Aisle 16,” he informed me.
“Aisle 16? The very last aisle in the whole store? The one marked ‘juice’?”
Amazingly enough, they did still have a couple of bags of cinnamon-apple flavor. And since the rice cakes were on sale, and I had gone to so much trouble to find them, I bought two more bags for our family. (We don’t actually like rice cakes, but I thought it would be best to grab some while I was in Aisle 16, just in case. Who knows when I would ever be back there again, so better to be safe than sorry.)
Exhausted from my efforts, I realized that the only way to eat a rice cake is with peanut butter. And so, for the first time in five years, I bought a jar of peanut butter, knowing that I would have to hide it from everyone in the family and only get it out in the middle of the night to use on top of my toasted rice cake.
And now, if only I can remember to send the snack to school with my daughter in the morning, we will be all set.
Until March, that is. When she is the Star Student. And I get to make the poster.