Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!
By Kellie Head ~

Yesterday I took my four-year-old daughter, Delaney, grocery shopping with me. The store had those cute little kiddy carts that make preschoolers feel grown-up and helpful. But by the glazed look in her eyes, I knew this simple cart had mutated into a road racing, fire blazing, speed-demon hotrod.

The minute her hands touched the cart she transformed, not unlike Snoopy on one of his Red Baron capers. This was her first experience being at ground level and in control of a wheeled contraption. With driving goggles and helmet in place, she was off. I could almost hear the crack of the starting pistol and smell the fetor of burning rubber.

The maze-configuration produce section presented something of a challenge and I lost her at the first turn. The display cases stand taller than Delaney, so I could only catch glimpses of her as she darted between them.

I spotted her at the by-the-pound candy bin. "No! No, honey! That's a scoop not a dinner fork!" Too late, she had already eaten so much I knew I'd have to weigh her on the fruit scale at the check out counter.

Delaney was off again, rounding the corner at the dairy case and on to aisle one on only two wheels. I raced to catch her while dodging the apples and kiwi fruit that lay in my path. Thankfully, she made a quick pit stop at the cookies, allowing me to gain on her.

Aisles two, three, and four were a blur. She was traveling so fast the breeze she created turned pages at the magazine rack. Other shoppers stopped to dial the "1-800-how-am-I-driving" number from her carts' bumper sticker (a 90's cellular nightmare).

She ditched me in the meat department (somewhere between the chicken livers and the beef tongue). Luckily, all I had to do was follow the trail of breadcrumbs (or cheese doodles, as the case may be) in order to find her (of course the shrieks from the sample lady helped, too).

In my haste to reach her I didn't notice the "wet floor" sign next to the canned food pyramid. I skated passed it and into the bakery, performing a triple axle around the array of cream pies before stopping just short of the lobster tank in the fresh sea food section (my personal Olympic moment- the East German judges gave me a 9.5).

This is one visit in which I was thrilled to see the end cap of candy bars and bubble gum as this is where I found my little Indy racer. Her hands were covered with chocolate and I knew I'd soon be wearing that sucker she was gnawing on, but I had her in my clutches and I was ready to go home.

You can imagine my relief pulling into the check out lane and loading the groceries, and an empty stem of grapes, onto the conveyer belt. The checkered flag had dropped. I made it to the finish line, daughter in tow, and without hearing those dreaded words… "Clean up on aisle three."

In addition to raising her six children, Kellie Head is a freelance humorist, Parenting Humor Editor for Netscape and the Publishing Editor of Parenting Humor Magazine.

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