Julie Helen: Sometimes, it’s the little moments with my ‘threenager’...

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Julie Helen: Sometimes, it’s the little moments with my ‘threenager’...

A simple shopping trip can be really interesting with a three year old, says Julie Helen

GROCERY shopping is something I tend to avoid, particularly over the last few years. Though I enjoy the organisation of it and having all the things I like and want in the house, I find it very physically draining. Mum had to do a short stint in hospital so at the weekend I really needed to do to the shop for bits and bobs to get us through the week. I decided to make a real adventure out of it and bring Ricky and Diarmuid to help.

Diarmuid is a massive help to me. He has been our whole lives. He can physically do all the things I can’t and anything he has trouble hearing or understanding, I can help him with. We have always made a great double act. I feel safer when D is around me, he knows how to help me and no matter what happens, he will never judge me for it so I can ask for what I need and he can ask for what he needs.

People often underestimate my brother but I am very grateful for his support. If I ever thank him, his answer is generally “That’s what brothers are for!”

For the last three years, Diarmuid has been a great uncle to Ricky too. It’s a joy to be with them both! Ricky adds a level of entertainment to any excursion. On entering the shop he made a beeline for the “kids trolley” one of the cutest things I have seen in a while and as we ticked things off our list, all Ricky’s favourites had to go in. He got smoothies and yoghurts, chocolate for granny and grandad, his favourite fruit and jellies for his dad. The boring stuff like bread, milk and newspapers were allowed to go in Uncle D’s trolley. Our boy certainly knows his own mind but I was pleasantly surprised at how well behaved he was walking around the aisles and how he was thinking of what others at home might want.

Even though he is three and a bit, it was the first time we had done a grocery shop together. The trick to any task with a “threenager” is to have all the time in the world. Rushing doesn’t work, we must have time to consider things carefully, and let him do as many tasks as he can himself. 

We must have time to answer all the random questions and contemplate how everything works. I find his learning fascinating and will answer all the questions, though sometimes, I can’t see the connections between them. 

His brain fires at lightning speed and he’s a chatterbox! He gets the chat from me so I owe him the other side of the conversation.

We filled our trolleys and paid at the checkout. When we were back in the car, Ricky piped up “I love you Mommy.” I think that meant the trip was a success for him. I was very tired for a little while but glad we had lunches in the week. What I have learned is that experiences with our little boy is what life is all about and they can be just as ordinary as going to the supermarket and still be very enjoyable. I also know that I don’t have to do every trip to be a mom who is present. I have to carefully plan my energy so I am there when he needs me but able to let others have adventures with him too. Who knew that a trip to the shop could yield such philosophical thinking, but it is sometimes in ordinary experiences that real joy emerges.

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