Shopping with my two young kids, or playing ‘Chicken’

Three people take up a lot more space than one person — no matter how small two of those people are.

I am reminded of this every time I leave the house with my children.

Whether there’s a stroller or a shopping cart involved, I feel like we’re a giggling, screeching, wiggling circus, on display for the world to see.

Mara chatters, constantly dazzled by everything she sees. “Mommy! Look!” she shouts when she sees an anything remotely pink, sparkly or resembling a Chihuahua.

Charlie, who turns 3 soon, clings to me, usually demanding something. If he sees Lightning McQueen (an image that is plastered everywhere these days), he loses his mind.

When we’re in public, I struggle to maintain some sort of control. I imagine that I look like a woman on the edge the whole time.

I generally keep our outings short and stick to places where we won’t bother many people. With potty training in full force, we need to be near a bathroom, too.

But sometimes I wake up full of energy and determination, and I think it would be a good idea to leave the house with my children.

On a recent Saturday, we ventured to Central Market in York.

After taking twice as long as it should have to get ready, we made our way downtown.

I wrestled the stroller out of the car, strapped Charlie into it, argued with Mara, now 7, to wear her coat and remembered to feed the meter.

We eventually made our way to market, which was bustling with shoppers.

Those shoppers were somewhat intimidating. They seemed to know exactly what they wanted. They were on a mission.

And we were in the way.

I spent most of our trip keeping Mara close to me and moving my stroller out of everyone’s way. “Sorry. Excuse
us. Sorry.” I said to so many people.

I told Mara to stay out of the way, even though she wasn’t wandering. She was just looking around, which is what we were there to do.

That’s when I realized that we seemed to be in a game of “Chicken,” and we were losing.

The scene from “Footloose” popped into my mind. Instead of steering a tractor, I was at the helm of a Jeep
stroller as the other shoppers dared me not to get out of their way.

Most people were pleasant, of course. And the vendors seemed to be the most understanding. One woman directed me to apple juice and another politely asked before giving my kids lollipops.

But I was relieved when I pushed open the big green door leading to Beaver Street where we had room to spread out and were less likely to bump into anyone.

The problem, I’m sure, is the space the three of us take up when we’re out together. With the stroller and the bags and the toys, we’re quite a crew.

But I have a theory.

I think the world is filled with two types of people: Movers and Non-Movers.

At the grocery store, some shoppers seem at ease as they stand in front of the salad dressing, carefully checking the ingredients, as I stand behind them, waiting my turn.

Some people stand their ground while others stand aside.

I am a Mover, probably to a fault.

But I wonder what happens when two Non-Movers meet in the middle of an aisle.

Kara Eberle is the day metro editor for the York Daily Record/Sunday News, and she wants to know if you’re a
mover or not. Email your responses to

Kara Eberle

Mother of two. Wife to Mark. From Adams County. Graduated from Penn State. Often find myself humming the theme song to "The A-Team" and have no idea why. Send your news tips to or @karaeberle on Twitter.

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