Our weekend was so busy we simply didn’t have time to go to the grocery. Monday morning found us with just enough milk for Jet’s breakfast. After she got her bath and we had some discussion about the merits of leaving toys at home, we set off for the store. As we pulled the parking spot, I saw a miniature basket in the cart corral and made a quick decision: Jet was in for a treat.
Papa helped her get it up the curb and inside. I grabbed a larger cart and we headed to produce. I walked slowly while Jet followed. Papa took up the rear to keep watch and herd as needed. Jet helped select bananas and put them in her basket. Then Papa added some bread (no squeezing!) and lunchmeat. Papa had to go back to the bread aisle for some English muffins and Jet moved quickly to follow. After that, I kept the eyes in the back of my head on high alert.
As we wound through the store, Jet stayed on task. She pushed her basket carefully and avoided running into my heels. She was alert and serious in keeping with her grown-up responsibilities. As we reached the last aisle, I made the mistake of taking a detour to the frozen vegetables and told Papa to meet me in the cheese section. Jet didn’t want to wait and took off at a fierce pace to find me: down the rear aisle, past the milk and meat all the way to bread on the other side of the store with Papa trotting along behind.
When we reached the checkout Jet wanted to assume even more responsibility and empty the basket herself. “I can do it! Let me do it!” she insisted as she grabbed a loaf of bread.
But something had spilled on the conveyor belt. “Don’t put it in the yucky stuff, Jet!”
“What is it?” She pulled herself up on her tiptoes and peered over the side of the belt.
“It’s just some water,” said the clerk.
Papa dried the spot with a paper towel. Jet followed my directions to move her empty basket to the end of the line. “Don’t move!” Jet didn’t. She gripped the handle firmly and looked straight ahead until I had the receipt in hand.
In the parking lot, Jet wanted to put the bags in the trunk by herself, but soon learned just how heavy a bag of groceries can be. We walked her empty basket back to the corral for some other lucky child to find. Jet moved it carefully into place and we returned to the car. “Jet, you did a wonderful job in the store! I’m so proud of you! You behaved better than any three year old I ever took to the grocery! You behaved better than your mama, better than Aunt Mary better than anyone! “
Jet looked at me and grinned. “Tell me more about those children who weren’t as good as me!”