Close up of mom and child smiling in a store

Always Learning, Too!

Author: Kate Hayes
Published Date: Wednesday, July 12, 2017

A couple months ago, I wrote about how amazing it is to watch Annabel learn and how she knows more things than I recall teaching her. Some things never change! She continues to surprise and challenge me every day. I try to take her never-ending curiosity in stride and use everyday events like errands and chores as opportunities to help her explore. I am also learning how to draw from my never-ending supply of patience.

Grocery shopping – well any shopping – is much easier and quicker without a toddler, but I remind myself this is new and exciting for Annabel. Her brain is a little sponge. She benefits from being exposed to new words and foods, so I try to carve out a bit of extra time when heading to the store.

Sitting in the cart in the produce section, she names many fruits and vegetables and asks, “What is it?” One day while I was picking out peaches, she nabbed one and took a bite. Thankfully the clerk laughed when we paid for the partially eaten peach. While I admire her commitment to a healthy dose of fruit and recognize she is learning to feed herself, I now know I need to keep her perfectly centered in the aisle to prevent her from stealing fruit!

Once out of the produce section, Annabel immediately says, "I get down. I push it." She helps me push the grocery cart through the aisles, asking for the names of the items on the shelves. Sometimes she waits for an answer. Other times she takes off running and giggling until I ask her to help me push the cart.

One of her favorite games is to put random grocery items in the basket. She tried to buy sardines one day! My part of the game is naming these random objects and sneaking them out of the cart and back onto the shelves while at the same time trying to catch a running, giggling child and return her to the cart … and hopefully still buying everything on my grocery list.

Eventually she will understand that she needs to stay with me while we’re in the store, right? She is still developing impulse control, and I am learning the importance of consistent and clear limits. Not easy tasks for either of us, but we are both always learning.

Annabel is increasing her vocabulary, and I am increasing my patience, negotiation and limit setting skills as well as my knowledge of random items stocked on the bottom shelves at the grocery store.

Happy parenting and happy shopping!


If you have questions about parenting or want to learn how to set clear limits, visit or stop by the new Family Resource Center located on the first floor at CHKD Health Center at Landstown in Virginia Beach.

The Family Resource Center is open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. You can pick up parent education materials, view online parenting resources, or check out a list of upcoming classes. Beginning August 1, there will be a parent educator on-site every Tuesday from 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. Call (757) 668-4955 for more information.

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About Kate Hayes

Kate Hayes lives in Virginia Beach, VA and is a first time parent to Annabel – born on July 22, 2015. Kate is a yoga and aerial fitness instructor. She especially enjoys teaching on the beach, and is certified in laughing yoga, and prenatal yoga. Kate and her husband, Robert, enjoy spending time with their daughter and their two dogs.