Friday night, we had a milk emergency. One new half-gallon that morning had turned up sour, then a second half-gallon that night. This left us with no milk, a big crisis. With Dave out of town, the only choice was to pack up the troops after dinner and make a run to Trader Joe's. I was absolutely exhausted and not in the mood to go anywhere, but this was urgent.
Fortunately, our closest TJ's has Ricardo. This is a stuffed penguin that gets hidden somewhere around the store for kids to find, and earn themselves some sort of prize if they do. The real prize is for the parents, whose kids are immediately consumed with the search instead of shoving, spinning, running, pinching and drawing aggravated looks from anyone within 30 feet. You have to be OK with the kids being out of sight as they scour the aisles, but you all know me by now -- to me, that's the whole point.
And the boys found Ricardo! They were very excited and happy about it, not even objecting to a TJ's staffer taking a photo of them. The photo gets put up on a wall of friends, next to a drawing of Ricardo.
And, they all got lollipops. I really, really hate lollipops. Sticky, can't set them down anywhere, and they immediately expose my parent-scrooginess. I told them all to finish them before we got in the car, because there was no way in hel...in the world those things were getting anywhere near the car. For once, all 3 complied.
It's an astounding drag to get everyone into and out of the car for what should be a quick trip, but Ricardo made it fun. Thanks, Ricardo!