The Nugget Chronicles: Tiny Helper

Nugget loves to go shopping.

Like, seriously. Until you’ve seen her shopping, you may not realize just how much she loves shopping.

And this is not in a backwards-thinking, stereotypical, clichéd way. I’m not saying that she loves shopping because she’s a girl.

I’m saying she loves shopping because it’s a chance to get out, be surrounded by bright lights and pretty colors, and have complete strangers fawn over how cute she is.

Sure, she gets to have all of those experiences at the zoo, or at the aquarium, or really just about any other place that we take her. However, as much as she enjoys going places where she gets to watch fish swim around, I think there’s a chance that she might actually choose going to the store over them. And I think I’ve figured out exactly why she’s so enthralled when we step into a Target.

She gets to help.

Oh, you’re laughing a little in your head, because you’re imagining the standard childhood definition of “help”. You’re picturing her bringing things that we don’t need in the slightest, but she wanted because they had a cute cartoon character on them. You’re imagining her grabbing a glass jar of something, only to have it slip from her magically sticky AND slippery fingers, shattering all over the floor to make a huge mess for everyone. You might even be under the assumption that she’s simply grabbing every toy she can get her mitts on, because, well, it’s a toy.

Thing is, she isn’t the child to randomly grab stuff off of shelves. Well, she wants to be, as indicated by her outstretched arm, but it’s not because she’s really all that amazed with what the product actually is. She just wants to help.

Yes, my just-barely-over-a-year-old child loves shopping because she gets to help. Seriously, all she wants is to be able to hold onto something that we’re buying, and she’s a happy kid. She’ll toddle anywhere you let her, but will generally stay along the needed path, if you just make sure to give her a bag of noodles, or a box of crackers, or anything for her to hold on to. She’ll clutch it tightly to her chest, slap a huge smile on her face, and babble with delight, all while making it clear to everyone within line-of-sight that she’s adorable AND helpful.

And yes, the adorable part is important. Nugget’s a bit of a ham.

Nowhere was this more evident than over this past weekend, when we took a family trip to an apple orchard, and to Minnesota’s Largest Candy Store. Admittedly, Nugget is still pretty young to get the idea of candy into her head, but she was totally fine as long as she had something to hold. True, she would sometimes think that something else we were purchasing was more hold-worthy than whatever she already had, but, if she had the ability to put something in her arms while wading through what felt like enough candy to ensure that nobody would have to worry about going diabetes-less, she was amazingly well-behaved. Better behaved than both myself and HawtWife, because we apparently made it to the candy store when most of the surrounding states also made their sojourns, which lead to a packed and remarkably warm experience. The orchard was an even more interesting endeavor, because Nugget found a pumpkin that was perfectly her size, and she wasn’t thrilled about the idea of letting that go to get anything else, no matter what else we’d try to get her help with. Clearly, her role for the orchard was pumpkin-toter, and she was going to be the best pumpkin-toter ever.

Actually, when I think about it, this is perfect timing for her to become so completely enraptured with the idea of helping. After all, Halloween is coming up, which means that she’ll clearly be getting dressed in a costume and taken around for some trick-or-treating. Also, she’s clearly too young to partake of the candy herself, so either she’ll receive things that are age appropriate (which is unlikely), or she’ll be gathering a bunch of sweets for Daddy to enjoy later. And the entire time, she’s going to know that she’s being an incredible helper.

It’s a win-win situation, really.

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