I'd like to share a few things I've learned in my few short years of being a mom. Things that had never occurred to me before having a child out and about in public alone. Hopefully something will be useful to you, or you might have even better ideas than myself.
1. Using the restroom in a public place.
This one always baffled me. When out and about, alone with your child, how in the world do you pee? Where do you put your child? Well, I discovered the handicapped bathroom stall. Wheel stroller and baby in, do your business, then roll on out of there. Voila, problem solved.
2. Opening a door.
I'm not kidding. I know, there are automatic doors and that fancy handicapped button off to the side that I can push, but what about regular doors? That don't open on their own? When I push Baby in her stroller, I'm usually walking with someone else. We get to a door and the other person automatically holds the door open for me to push Baby through. When first faced with the dilemma of the door on my own, I must have looked like a crazy person. I tried reaching over the stroller, holding it open and pushing through. Twisting and turning aside, I've found a few things actually work that make me look like a pro. First of all, I can look around for a random stranger and give them a helpless, sad-eyed look. This usually elicits a sympathetic smile and the door is magically held open. On a more practical note (and I seriously did get this advice from a mom friend of mine since I am so clueless), you turn the stroller around and walk backwards to push a door open. Then, once you and stroller have successfully cleared the doorway, turn stroller around and proceed on to destination. Genius, I know.
3. Getting a child to sit in the cart at the grocery store. Or Target.
For the longest time, my child refused to sit in the cart at the store. She just wanted to be held. If we tried to put her in the seat, she would start screaming bloody murder and grab and pull and kick and do anything she possibly could so that we would not stick her in the seat. Even if we did manage to get her in there, she would slip her feet out of the openings and try to stand up. We would be forced to walk around with a screaming child, holding her down, gritting our teeth as onlookers gave us evil glares that when translated said, "Just take your child out for goodness sake so we don't have to hear her scream."
I did carry her a bunch of times. I attempted pushing the cart while carrying her. That was awkward. Pushing a cart full of groceries with one hand and holding a child with another means a lack of direction when steering. Since I have a lack of direction to begin with, I would run into many things.
Then I discovered that I could pull the cart instead of push it. Ta da, steering ability regained. Baby was happy because she was held, and I wasn't running over random children whose parents actually put them down to walk.
Bribes also worked for a time. Once Baby sat in the chair, I would give her a snack of some sort and she would be occupied for just long enough that I could get some shopping in.
Lately, I've discovered the art of being proactive. Before we get to the store, I have a chat with Baby about what we are doing and where we are going. Then I give her choices. Does she want to sit in the back of the cart or the front of the cart? Since she hates sitting in the front seat of the cart, she always tells me the back. I repeat this process probably a bazillion times up until we get into the store and get a cart. I give her one last choice, then settle her in to whichever place she has insisted upon (the back, of course). There she gets to play with all the groceries mommy throws in.