If you’re going to be out and about with children in the near future, allow me to share some wisdom that came to me at the Target store today. Let’s begin.

Do

Stop at the local pet store with your kids before embarking on the “have to’s” of your outing. The joy in their step, the sounds of amazement in their voice and the awe in their eyes will be what you need to cling to for the remainder of the morning.

Do

Get a single bag of freshly popped popcorn if your Target store sells it. The popcorn will be delightfully shared by all who are touching your particular cart.

Don’t

Get an ICEE. Even if it’s your particularly favorite part of shopping at Target. Even if you are famished and need something to “tide you over.” Even if it is the best deal around for $1.50. DON’T. It can not be shared by anyone. Ever. No matter what you say. No matter what you do. No matter how you try to hide it from the others near or in the cart. No matter. The amount of screeching, begging, crying, fighting, and shouting that will ensue all because of this “smoothie” that all of a sudden becomes “MINE” and most definitely not “OURS” will be the thing that pushes you over the edge in front of the local folk, causing you to speak in gutteral threats towards the children who expressed such delightfulness in the pet store. The same children who were so inquisitive and curious and oh-so-precious in the pet store.

Don’t

Allow your children to visit the toy aisle during that particular visit to the Target store. Someone has to learn a lesson in all this.

Do

Leave the ICEE with a few sips still left to be enjoyed on a ledge at the checkout stand. Repeat over and over to yourself that you will not get an ICEE at the Target store ever again unless you are by yourself.

Don’t

Feel guilty for leaving the ICEE for someone else to deal with. That’s what those people in the red shirts and khaki pants get paid for. That and to sweep up the countless pieces of popcorn that were strewn in various places of the store by those children who were fighting over the ICEE.

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