"Pizza? Pizza? Pizza?". We had left the OT's office and Connor's stomach has decided that it's needs pizza, so I hear him ask over and over.
"OK, honey. We'll stop and get some pizza." I decide we will brave the grocery and get a couple of the self sizes because there are a couple of other things I need.
He has to ride the horse and fire engine at the front of the store first and then pick his own cart. Sometimes he likes the car shaped carts and sometimes he likes the one with the big blue seats added on the front. Today he picks the big blue one and when I try to strap him in I realize the strap in broke. I look around for another one and decide to just go with what we have as I am being told off by a total stranger's toddler for taking the cart they just replaced.
"Hey, that's our cart!" she yells at me.
"I'm so sorry. I thought you were finished with it." I apoligize.
"We are she is just being cranky and hateful." her Dad explains. I knew that was the case and all the while I am stuffing the end of the innertube still around his waist into the cart and heading in the door.
He does his usual labeling of everything as he searches and takes it all in. After a few minutes he realizes he is not strapped in and ventures to stand on the little foot sized lip of the seats, putting the handle of the cart at chin level. He is content to ride but occasionaly checks back to see if I am going to scold him. I smile at him, grateful that he is enjoying himself and that I am allowing it. Not so long ago this would have escalated into a scene simular to a prison escape. Prisoner running, not knowing where to just away and tired wore out warden following behind the best they can to recapture.
In the frozen food aisle we both dare to take it a little further. He steps down off the lip to walk beside the cart. I watch and discover as the the strap of innertube pulls he comes along easily. This freedom is new to him and he scans the store as if he had never seen it, often running into the side of the cart.
We have since tried it again with them same great results. We do get looks from people, but they are mixed. Parents our own age look unsure, while older people smile. I remember my mom telling about her father tying a rope around her waist and tying the other end around himself. I guess maybe this was the norm back then for those who had trouble keeping their children by their sides.