About a year ago I was heading out the door for the supermarket when Heather ran after me with a screaming Annie squirming in her arm.

“Would you mind taking the baby with you so I could get twenty minutes to myself?”

I agreed even though the prospect of bringing a screaming baby to the supermarket wasn’t exactly on my bucket list, but if I knew then what I know now I likely would have thought it through a bit more. That’s because ever since that trip Annie thinks going to the market with her old man is the cat’s meow (or Rigby’s bark). Whenever I try to slip out now she squeals and says, “Store, Daddy? Annie go store?” Who can say no to that?

So Annie has become my little supermarket buddy, something which has complicated things significantly since I’m not the best shopper to begin with. Don’t believe me? Here’s a typical call from me at the store:

Me: “Is it minced garlic we need or garlic salt? Wait. There’s also garlic cloves. Why are there so many types of garlic?”

Heather: “It’s onions, Mike. We need onions.”

Thankfully, Annie enjoyed sitting in the the grocery cart’s basket on our early trips and didn’t cause me too much trouble… that is until a couple months ago when she started to whine the minute I set her down.

“Annie walk!” she yelled. “Dada, Annie walk!”

Since she wasn’t even two years old the idea of letting her walk around the supermarket sounded both insane and irresponsible, so I ignored her pleas and left her in the cart. This lead to many frantic shopping sessions where I raced to grab everything I needed in the 90 seconds or so before she went into total meltdown. After those awful experiences I’m pretty sure I could clean up on “Supermarket Sweep.”

But then a few weeks ago Annie whined “Annie walk!” before I could even get her into the cart, and I decided to see what would happen if I let her have her way. To my shock she wasn’t a nightmare knocking over displays or trying to  run off. Instead, she was amazing! She stayed by my side at all times…

“Hi, Daddy! You said stay by the cart, right?”

…and even helped by putting items we needed into the cart when I asked her to. (And sometimes when I didn’t: “No, Annie, we don’t need that can of sardines.”)

dis banana!
“Banana, Daddy! Got it right here!”

“OMG! Shopping is soooo exciting!”

Since that day shopping with Annie has been way easier, and other shoppers compliment me all the time on how well behaved she is. Not only that, but when I tell them she is only two they are even more impressed! Okay, this proud Dad will stop bragging now…

The parenting lesson I learned here is that sometimes letting your kid “fly” before you think they are ready is the right thing to do. If I hadn’t given her a shot at walking I likely would’ve waited until she was at least three, and that would have lead to a LOT of very unhappy trips to the store. I’ll be sure to remember this the next time I think my baby is too little to do something and tell myself, “But maybe she’s not!”

Heck, she even pushes the cart!

pushing the grocery cart
“I have no idea where we’re going but I like it!”

come on, let's goooo
C’mon, Daddy! There’s a sale on aisle three!”

Oh! I almost forget to mention the best part of shopping with Annie. She never lets me forget to buy cookies.