If you're not a mom, you won't fully appreciate this post and will probably find it rather boring. And if you're a mom of older kids, please tell me the next stage gets better and not worse!!!
Stage 1: Not fun. A newborn in the infant carrier that starts screaming every time the cart stops.
Stage 2: Wonderfully relaxing. Somewhere around 3 months, when your baby is so captivated by the lights and faces and sounds, you can casually stroll through the store for a couple of hours, feeling like a peaceful mom on the go, until its feeding time again.
Stage 3: Anxiety ridden. Your pre-toddler has figured out how to stand and maneuver himself around and is obsessed with being anywhere but in that seat. Even with the seat belt on, they manage to turn around and end up stuck or somehow slip out and keep standing up, threatening to topple out and break their noggin on the tiled floor.
Stage 4: Fun again. Your young toddler is over the obsession to stand up in the seat and has fun talking and singing with you. You can waste a good amount of time in the toy aisle, showing them things and they have no clue any of that stuff can actually be purchased and brought home so there aren't any complaints when you put it back.
Stage 5: Humiliating. I've officially entered this stage. My 2 1/2 year old son (who has much longer limbs now than I realized) pulled a candle off the shelf and it shattered across the floor. I tried to keep my cool as I heard all the gasps behind me. He also understands now that anything in the store is actually something you can buy and bring home and wants to hold and touch everything. I heard at least 10 times, "Can I hold that mom? Please? Pleeeeease? Pleeeeeeeeasssse?"
Another annoying part of this phase is having to put the huge baby carrier inside the cart and Bennett in the seat and having to put the majority of my items on the rack underneath. Of course they all slide off when you push the cart more than 15 feet at a time. And the stuff that's in the cart within Bennett's reach also ends up on the ground. I picked up sweet potatoes off the floor about 3 different times before I crammed them in around Dawson's carseat. And when we were finally done, I was pushing the cart across the parking lot in the freezing cold and a bag slid off the bottom rack and I started to run over it. The plastic bag got so tangled and mangled in the wheel, I spent at least a minute holding up traffic trying to pry it lose. Finally I just ripped it apart into shreds and dumped the contents into Bennett's lap. Thankfully we made it to the car without him throwing them out again :)