Those little eyes are always watching and those little minds always thinking.
When we were at the grocery store earlier this week stocking up on items for our everyday life, Cate saw a girl about her age pushing one of those small grocery carts. "I want to push one." Of course. I really was surprised she didn't know they existed until now.
"Maybe next time we come."
She was fine with that.
This morning I told Cate we were going to the grocery to get lots of food for mommy to cook with Courtney and for us to eat at the lake this weekend. "I can push a cart."
Not a question. A statement.
Because she remembered my "maybe next time we come" response earlier in the week.
In thinking about my really long grocery list, I thought maybe her pushing a little cart beside/behind me would help me keep my groceries sorted. I could put what was for our family in her cart and what Courtney and I would share in my big cart, which also included Ben, of course.
"Sure. We'll try to find a cart for you."
So we did. And off we were.
Cate hit my heels with her cart almost immediately and I remembered the look my mom would give me when I walked too closely behind her and stepped on her feet, literally. She didn't want to be mad but being tripped up is never fun. I think I gave Cate the same look. And then I told her to stay close but to watch where she was going.
She wanted to put everything in her cart. And she wanted to touch lots of things on shelves. None of this is surprising, especially because this was the first time she's walked in Kroger. Ah, freedom. And with a cart.
But we didn't need the pourable Bisquick mix. So I explained that momma had a list and that wasn't on it. She seemed to get it, especially when I let her pick the items we did need off the shelves. The only non-list item that made it into her cart was a package of mini marshmallows. And, hey, she asked nicely.
At one point, I stopped in the canned vegetable aisle to evaluate my list. I caught a glimpse of Cate pretending she had a list in one hand and a pen in the other. Apparently, she was marking off "marshmallows."
Once both our carts were filled, she wanted to help unload hers. She waited patiently while I unloaded mine, and then "I do mine myself." Of course. The near breakdown came when the bagger -- who I'm sure was wondering what the heck I was going to do with 36 chicken breasts, 3 pounds of fish, 3 pounds of steak and 11 pounds of ground beef -- wasn't putting anything back in Cate's cart. I ended up bagging a couple of bags and putting them in her cart. She wanted everything that had been in there back in there. And I'm certain she remembered just how many hot dogs, apples, strawberries and marshmallows belonged. I explained to her that it was all going to the same place -- first the trunk of the car, then to our home.
All was well, until she wanted to put the watermelon on top of everything in her cart.
"Well, that watermelon is heavy. I don't want it to smash the cookies."
"OK, I push this."
Yes, sweet girl, you push yours, I'll push mine, and that bagger guy will push the overflow that somehow didn't manage to fit back into the two carts we brought to the check-out line.
She would have helped me load them groceries into the trunk, but she couldn't reach in very far and the watermelon would have landed on top of the bread and eggs. So I used the marshmallows to my advantage. "How about you get in the car, start cooling off and I'll find the marshmallows for you?"
"Sure, Mom. I turn on the air."
"Well, I'll turn it on, since I have the key."
"OK. Ben cool off too."
Sounds like a plan, my sweet girl who really is like me. Always thinking. Always watching. I better be on my best behavior, always. And then I handed Cate an entire bag of marshmallows.