Enjoying Shopping With A Toddler. Really.

As the rice paper wrapper melts in my mouth, I am reliving childhood. The sensations- the texture, the taste, just the look of the box awaken long quiet neural circuits. Botan Rice Candy.

The coolest part is that they are wrapped in rice paper, so you just pop them in your mouth and wait for that to melt before you eat the candy. I remember only getting these candies occasionally as a kid, that I thought they were really special. I feel like that's because my grandparents would bring them to Texas from LA or San Francisco. They certainly weren't stocked at the local Stop 'n Go, where we rode our bikes to get candy cigarettes and talk to teen clerk, Kermit (whom I always associated with the muppet). As Texans 30 years ago, we'd had our share of Chicle, but most things Asian were a novelty.

We picked up the rice candy today at Daiso, a Japanese everything store that's a couple of steps up from a 99 cents store, but cheaper and more fun to look around in than Target. Having Turtle home sick for the day, we browsed around just to entertain ourselves. He played with cutesy keychains, ceramic figurines, and wooden trains while I looked at garden supplies, stationery, and arts & crafts stuff. Then we each picked out a treat. I got the rice candy and he got Yan Yan.

Which took effort for me to cheerfully and without comment buy him. It is biscuit-like stick things that you dip in liquid vanilla "cream" which is actually, uh, ? I don't even want to read the fine print. The label does reassuringly say, though, that it "does not contain pig fat". I'm sure people all over the world enjoy Yan Yan all the time. It's just that I didn't even let him have so much as a single M&M until a few months ago and only then because they were already mixed into the trail mix.

We also scored some cat deterrents for the garden we prepped this morning. A couple of weeks ago we started some seeds in peat pots indoors and they are ready for transplanting. This morning we turned the soil in a small portion of the two as of yet unused by us raised beds in my backyard. But that was after we had to scoop out all the cat poop that had accumulated from neighborhood cats helping themselves to our giant litter boxes. We added compost, watered, and then set off on our errands.

We were happy to discover these plastic sheets of spikes that you cover your soil with and the plants can grow right through them. They had Japanese labels that were awkwardly translated to "Don't Cat!" Turtle expressed mixed feelings: "Mom, but then the cats will be hurt" but also "Yeah! Then those cats will not crap in OUR garden!" Which qualified as his first use of the word crap. Gotta note that in the baby book.

After Daiso, we wandered over to the German Bakery. Turtle selected a frosted shark shaped cookie and I enjoyed a slice of coffee cake so brimming with poppy seeds that I'm glad teachers don't get drug tested.

There's so many days when I have to squeeze in a trip to the store after an already long day to pick up something necessary and Turtle is whining and dragging his feet, arguing with me in the store, running away from me, or making us cross the store over and over for false alarm potty trips. Or days when you have multiple errands and every buckle and unbuckle of the carseat feels so tedious and you know everything it taking you three times as long as it would if you could just do it alone.

But today was really nice. We accomplished several necessary errands, he cheerfully walked along beside me, waited in line with me, browsed on his own without knocking things over and making a mess, let me take my sweet time looking at stuff by keeping himself occupied with something else down the aisle, and we talked and laughed together and pointed out funny or cute things to each other. Then we had ourselves a nice time at the bakery and Japanese treats to look forward to for later. It was the closest thing I've had to spending the morning shopping with a girlfriend in a long time. I'll take what I can get these days...

I'm so excited about our "Don't Cat!".