It was a silly idea. It was not well thought out. But, really, how bad could it be?
I needed a few tomatoes for dinner, (tacos, the hubb's favorite) so I decided to pop into the store for a few things. Dad is at home getting ready for work, and yet I took all the kids with me. (If you want to question my sanity, now would be the time. Any sane mother knows that the occasional trip to the store with all the kids may sometimes be NEEDED- but you NEVER EVER do it unless death is on the line. Unless you are me.)
In we go.
Things begin to go down hill almost immediately. This grocery store has those car carts. You know the ones. They have an actual two seater car with two steering wheels in front of the cart. The cart itself has two seats for two kids.
This seems like a good idea! All my kids can be contained! WOO HOO! Genius.
The two oldest kids get into the "car" first. I am already trepidatious because while in the car in the past things have gone badly, but I am willing to give them another try, if they "promise" to not grab stuff and fight and stay in the car.
Then the two year old discovers the car. She wants in too. There is not room.
"Sit up here (in the cart) next to mom," I say. Isn't mom every child's best friend?
Screaming is the response.
I sit the baby in the cart too. Maybe everybody can sit! She screams too.
Never mind. I hate the car carts. I feel like I am pushing a Buick anyways.
Everybody out. Big kids walking. Baby in sling. Two year old contained in the cart seat, facing mom.
Now we shall enter the store.
I only need a few things. I should have known better.
The older kids start playing a running and screaming game in the grocery store. I am THAT mom. The one you either
A) feel sorry for
B) wonder why she has so many kids who are so poorly behaved, or
C) all of the above
This is bad enough. Some people look at me and smile, others avoid us. It can't get worse.
But it does.
I see an acquaintance from my son's school. She is there with her child. She has one child. He is very smart and he is behaving very well.
She waves. I feel ashamed of the total lack of control I have over my life. I imagine she feels grateful for birth control.
Aha! I have an idea! A bribe. Classic mom move.
"Gather round kids. I don't like the way you are behaving. Would you like to get a treat?!"
Excited nodding ensues.
"You can all have a treat IF you stop screaming and stop running in the store. Can you do that?!"
Oh yes they can! Crisis contained. I am a genius.
They see the donuts. This was THE treat while I was pregnant. They don't understand that I am no longer in an obligatory fat growing state and so I am trying to avoid the donuts. Donut begging begins. I hate it when bribes backfire.
But I stand my ground. The treat will be fresh blackberries and a pomegranate. The kids like them and I don't have to feel guilty.
Things calm down and we make it to the checkout line! Deliverance is nigh.
Just when I think I am home free the two year old speaks up.
"Need go pee, REAL bad." she says.
This is her cue. It gives me about a five second count down until urine lift off. This is fine at home (and infinitely better than the old school, "I just peed") but still can cause problems when we are not next to a bathroom.
That is OK- I have everything under control.
I look the two year old straight in the eye and say, "NO you don't. You don't have to go pee."
I am working on becoming a Jedi. Mind control could be a mothers best friend.
Confident that my mind trick has worked I continue setting the groceries on the conveyor belt. About one minute passes. I look at the two year old. She has shifted in her seat. She has moved so she can splash her bare (WHAT!) feet in her urine which is collected on that little plastic "comfort" flap they have in grocery carts.
I burst out laughing. What else can I do. This is how I handle bad situations. It makes other people uncomfortable, but it works for me.
I look at the checker. He is still dealing with the person in front of me but sees panic in my eyes. He mouths to me, "What do you need?"
"Paper towels," I whisper back.
Paper towels found. Urine cleaned. (There was a puddle on the floor too. The woman behind me mysteriously had to run and get something else off the shelves. I appreciate her avoiding my moment of shame.)
The checker is a saint. He even has sanitizing wipes. The entire cart is probably now cleaner than it has been in years.
As I leave he asks me if I need any help getting out to the car.
What else could go wrong?! Besides, I am woman! Hear me roar!