Last Friday was probably not my most bestest moment as a mother.
You see, I had to go to the grocery. I figured mid-morning would be a good time to go since we’d be out after Adele’s 15 month checkup anyway. Also I didn’t want to interrupt eating time or nap time and as any mother of young children will tell you, interrupting either of those things basically means that you’ve committed the equivalent of cutting off your own hand. Or ear. Or something that is really important but once you’ve screwed with it you’ve completely messed up your system and will spend the rest of your days cursing yourself for being that stupid.
Where was I?
And so we went. Usually both children are fantastic in the store, with only an occasional flare-up. I mean, the early days with Adele weren’t what you’d call good, but also not completely awful. But I was worried about her since she’d just gotten three shots in her legs and I didn’t know how she’d take not being in a comfortable environment. But I thought I’d chance it since it needed to be done.
We first headed to the Christmas section of the dreaded Wal-Mart (or ‘Star Store’ as Babash calls it) because I needed to find a way to wrap the gift I hadn’t gotten yet for a gift exchange some friends were having on Saturday.
And that’s where it started, and it only got worse the longer we were in the store. And I had a long list so we were in there a long time.
Sebastian was not very happy that we couldn’t spend 20 minutes wandering through looking at all the Christmas stuff because I AM IN A HURRY WE HAVE TO GO FAST STOP ASKING!
And then we went to the toy section to find a game I wanted for this gift exchange, the fishing game where the polls are little magnets that attach to the fish when they go around on this little spinny thing and they open their mouths and I thought it would be cute but all I could find at first was a spongebob thing and we all know how I feel about him, right? And there was a spiderman one and a princess one and how hard is it to have a toy without a licensed character on it? Assholes.
I finally found what I was looking for, but not before someone decided that he wanted this game for himself and wouldn’t stop crying after I told him that it was to give away, not to keep, and he cried and he cried and I even went so far as to threaten to take him to the bathroom and spank him if he didn’t cut it out but that didn’t work, probably because I didn’t take him to the bathroom and spank him. I didn’t want to spank him because he wasn’t intentionally being a little shit, he just was over tired, which is the only time he acts like that, and plus the bathroom was all the way at the front of the store and I was all the way at the back and at that point I just wanted to get out of there as fast as possible, and not stop for spanking breaks.
I thought maybe some orange juice would make him feel better, because sometimes when he loses his shit like that he’ll ask for milk to make him feel better. But that didn’t work, even though I opened it and gave it to him in the store, which I hate doing.
And finally he’s crying so loudly, saying “I just want you Mommy!” that I stop trying to force the situation to end itself and pick him up. I hold him and rub his back right in the dairy aisle until he settles down and gets back in the cart, calmer, though not calm.
(And Adele, by the way, the one I was worried about, was completely fine during all this, kind of looking around like ‘What the hell is his problem?)
And so we continue on with bouts of unpleasantness and every so often a motherly figure giving me sympathetic looks or maybe even attempting to cheer Sebastian up, which I greatly appreciate. When you’re dealing with an unhappy child in a public place, no matter that you know it happens to everyone, it still feels isolating and like everyone is judging you and your parenting,and how calm you can stay in the midst of turmoil.
And I do okay. But when I get close to the front of the store when I realize that Sebastian hadn’t put the top back on his juice all the way, and we’d been trailing oj all through most of the store. My stomach drops and as I awkwardly clean up what I can with the two wipes I have in my purse while simultaneously trying not to show my butt crack or underwear since every single one of my jeans, no matter how ‘high rise’ they are, fall right down when I squat.
And it was in the middle of this, the awkward squat, the sopping-with-orange juice-wipes that I shove into my purse, the whining child, the exhaustion, that for half a second I thought about just walking away. Just leaving the cart full of children and cream cheese packages and baking supplies and walking out the store, getting in my car and driving away.
I fought back the tears and piled in the rest of my groceries into the cart on top of the children, paid and left, a little stronger, maybe.
But then as I was driving home, it occurred to me that I was so traumatized by this experience that not only did I not change the radio station when the ‘Red Solo Cup’ came on, but I also found myself singing along out of deliriousness. But no matter, Zac Brown Band’s ‘As She’s Walking Away’ came on next, and that song makes my heart happy. It also reminds me of my tween country years. (Don’t make fun of me for listening to country you snobby hipsters. It has its place.)
But then after that Reba McEntire’s ‘Fancy’ came on, which we all know is the best song ever written about a mom throwing her daughter out to be a whore in the name of moving on up.