Last night, I witnessed a true Christmas miracle: Jack behaved himself at the grocery store. Below is a picture of the last time that happened, taken in May of 2006. It was a surprise then, too.
Usually, Jack stays home while I go shopping, and we are much better friends because of it. But tonight, there was just no getting around it -- we needed food, and Steve was working late. Armed with bribes and distractions (raisins and Roary), I took the plunge, planning to handle the inevitable whining with a zen-like calm.
Jack immediately selected a car cart and happily started driving and munching on raisins. His interest in the car ended at exactly the same time as he ran out of raisins and he asked to get out. Fine, since by that time we were almost done shopping. He didn't want to sit in the cart, preferring intead to "help" Mommy push the cart.
I was pretty sure it was a bad idea, but hey -- zen-like calm, so I gave it a shot. Surprisingly, that worked out okay. He became very interested in a box of I Can't Believe It's Not Butter, probably because he thought it contained the blueberry muffins printed on it. He then made several attempts to heave large cartons of ricotta cheese into the cart, stopping only when he bumped his head on the cart. I picked him up and gave him kisses, but he stopped crying when Roary took over and roared at the cart, called it a jerk, and kicked it for hurting Jack. I then figured out that he wasn't hinting that I make lasagna, but rather thought the cartons were of yogurt. I let him pick whatever kind he wanted, and naturally he chose the stuff with Boots (and Dora) on it.
Jack astonished me by continuing to behave while I paid for the groceries. For all of this, he was rewarded not only with praise and kisses, but also with dinner from McDonald's. Hey, he earned it!
As I pulled into Donald's, Jack started pointing at the building and enthusiastically saying, "Eat! We eat!" Then he declared, "Fries!" I asked him if he also wanted apples (because, yeah, the apple dippers TOTALLY make a happy meal a healthy choice). "Apple!" he responded enthusiastically. He then chose milk instead of juice, and as we pulled in to the drive through, started a chant of, "Fries! Apple! Milk! Eat!" He gave me a yep in response to my suggestion of chicken. Then he added, "Cake."
I told him that he was a silly monkey, that they didn't have cake. I turned around, and he was grinning at me -- he knew he was being funny. We went home and the two of us had a celebration: chicken, fries, apples, and milk for him, wine for me.