So I started writing this blog post in my car at Trader Joe’s. I began feverishly typing on my iPhone, toddler screaming in his car seat as he had been for the previous approximately 27 minutes and my infant tuckered out after an epic puke all over me inside the hell that is my ergo. Baby wearing was invented by men and the handiwork of the devil I swear. But that is a conversation for another post. I was very perturbed so I had a lot to say. It was basically half done but had to stop mid-way because the little man has this thing where if the car isn’t in motion he thinks he’s dying. Little man proceeded to scream so loudly and with such anger that I think I saw a forehead vein pop out. He takes after me with that. So I drive back home and as I’m just about to publish this sucker I add the picture and lose the whole damn thing. That my friends was the cherry on top of a glorious day of motherhood so I gave up and just did mom crap until just now. 8:25 PM. Both kids are in their beds, I have a beer beside me and I am ready to tell you the scariest tale known to man, grocery shopping with children…
I should have just given up and went back to bed after I couldn’t get them down for naps this morning but my house was clean out of food. I will never be one of those moms with a packed pantry and fridge. I remember one of my old boyfriend’s mothers having enough in her cabinet to feed the droves of teenagers that came over daily for probably a week or more. I swear this woman could whip out four different types of danishes and then all the ingredients for Coq Au Vin at a minutes notice. This not including the refrigerator that housed all of Stop and Shop’s fridge section and then some. I wish I could be this woman. Instead my cabinets were once again bare which meant that in order to not have DCF come looking for me I had to take the ill-fated trip to Trader Joe’s with two under two once again.
I almost succeeded through the errand without any major meltdowns. Almost. I occupied the older one with a grapefruit “ball” and when it was apparent that it was just not enough distraction I employed old faithful. I opened a tub o’ animal crackers right there and stuffed them in his chubby, sticky toddler hands. This worked out well until I reached the finish line.
I breathed a sigh of relief as I pulled that loaded cart to the front of the line and suddenly realized I didn’t have my wallet. I remembered my children, my keys and my phone but my wallet was in the car. I did better than some lady who left her kids in that same parking lot last year so I guess I’m not the worst mom ever to grace those aisles. Of course my keys were buried under the layers of ingredients to recipes I’ll never make so I had to ask the nice man at the register to help me get them. Why couldn’t I get them? Well at this point my older one was pretty pissed that I wouldn’t give him any more animal crackers so he was taking the job into his own hands. The child was dead set on opening them on his own…by shaking the whole tub as hard as he could and howling “help” over and over. While register man unpacked my cart to find my keys I tried wrestling my child out of the cart.
As if this wasn’t enough of a scene it was made even that much more interesting by the fact that despite the lack of any rain on the ground Logan felt the need to wear his Batman rain boots. He insisted on wearing them on the wrong feet today and rather than get into another throw-myself-on-the-floor-and-scream-until-nearly-puke match I decided to wave the white flag and let him rock them. Well now I am unsuccessfully yanking a kid out of a cart stuck by his oversized galoshes simultaneously suffocating my infant in his ergo while some stranger unpacks $200 dollars worth of grass-fed New Zealand cheddar and unsweetened almond milk to find my keys. I could only imagine what the hipsters with their baskets of kale smoothie ingredients and the crossfitters stopping for sugar-free jerky were thinking of the whole charade.
I finally give up, take the boots off the kid, toss them into the overflowing cart and grab the keys from the guy at the register. I make a joke about kids that makes it instantly obvious he has none and run blushing to the car. As I’m walking back wallet in hand, I see this little old grandma struggling to get her cane out of the cart she’s attempting to return. I’m near an anxiety attack, my blood pressure is up and my forehead vein is sticking out more than a little. For some reason I decide with a kid strapped to my chest and one on my hip that I should probably help her before she pulls too hard and goes tumbling backwards into some soccer mom’s suburban. She’s grateful since about ten people passed her before I came to help but proceeds to ask me in a joking tone “How can you help? You’re handicapped too” motioning to the 50 lbs of children clawing to my sweaty, vomit-stained t-shirt. She was cute and I know she was joking but if that was said in anything other than a jovial tone she would be needing more than my help to unstick her cane from her ass. I smirk and retrieve it to go back into the seventh circle of hell that is awaiting me inside.
I get back into line with my jumbled up cart and all seems to be calming down. I begin to breathe a little easier and bag my brown rice and quinoa pasta, mentally preparing for the destruction that I’m bound to return to at the house at the paws of my clumsy, anxiety-ridden German Shephard. I realize for a moment that no one is screaming and that I may get out alive. Cue Dane. From sleeping, sweet angel infant to bright red, shrieking demon in two seconds flat. I panic and begin to pack bags like a maniac, doing the mommy bounce and butt pat (his not mine), while struggling to calculate how much he had eaten last and how long its been since. I’m suddenly ripped from my Rainman moment by cash register man asking me if my older child says anything other than “hello” (which really sounds like “hel-wo”) which he has been yelling at the man since I walked back into the store. Struggling to wipe the look of homicidal maniac off my face I grit my teeth and ask Logan to please tell the man what color his shirt is. Now anyone with toddlers knows that the moment you ask them to do anything is the moment that they do nothing at all. I should start asking him to scream. Logan proceeds to stare the man down, then stick his whole dirty hand in his mouth. The guy gives me a pathetic attempt at a aww-hes-cute (but really dumb) look to me and I start just throwing shit in bags to get out of there. This all while my little one is screaming between pukes down my shirt in the ergo. I’m done. The guy catches my ‘tude and calls in backup to get me out of there as soon as possible. I keep my head down and sprint to the parking lot where Logan spots the cookies on the top of one of the bags. Rookie move. I should’ve either ditched them or hid them under broccoli.
I’m lifting five- 30 lb bags of shit my kid will throw on the floor or feed to the dogs while trying to not give my little one whiplash from packing so quickly or let the toddler go careening into traffic in the cart and he starts a whole other level of meltdown. He’s hitting an octave I’m sure would make my dogs’ ears bleed as a woman in a minivan pulls out. This legging-clad mombitch gives me a look. I can only imagine my face. Disgust, shock, exhaustion. This woman was in a MINIVAN. She’s supposed to be my people. I expect a fellow survivor that would share a knowing look while I deal with the hell that is the napless tantrum. Instead she sticks her probably surgically-corrected nose in the air and drives off. I kept my composure and my middle finger down. It took every last bit of self-control not to chase her down- cart full of groceries, baby on my chest to ask her what the hell she was thinking. Bitch unless you are planning on starting a family band with runaways- you drive that ugly kid-mobile for a reason. Maybe she’s a stepmom to children who are old enough to wipe their nether regions by themselves and she never got to enjoy this initiation into motherhood. If so, well-played mom-I wish I had the foresight.
I roll the cart back to the return, defeated, hearing the chorus of screams from my SUV and see a mom with a cooing, chubby-cheeked maybe ten month old. I want to grab her arm and warn her of the terror that she’s about to experience but I’m afraid with my lopsided ponytail and the regurgitated formula smell wafting off of me she may press charges so I refrain. She shoots me a half-smile, and as she looks away a fleeting look like oh God that won’t be me. Wait, honey. Just wait.
I close my door and begin chronicling this experience. I think one day when he’s old enough I’ll make Logan go shopping alone with two hungry ferrets to teach him the importance of contraception. Yep. Payback is a bitch.