I took my two youngest kids shopping today. Since I ordered a movie to be shipped to the store and my grocery list has been growing, I decided I should make the trip. I considered waiting until my husband was home and leaving the kids with him, but I feel a little sorry for the kids being stuck indoors so much lately because of winter.
People who don’t have young children seem to have an issue with them being in public. I admit, there are times and places where it is inappropriate to bring kids. A department or grocery store is not one of those places.
My son, Conor, is 3. He is impatient and sensitive. So, if he does something wrong and gets reprimanded, he screams and cries as if I’ve taken his favorite toy and melted it right in front of him. I cannot predict when he’ll behave this way or what will set him off.
He and my youngest daughter, Sydney, were riding in one of the carts that will accommodate 2 children side by side on the front. She was buckled in and he was not. He decided to sit in front of where Sydney’s feet were dangling. She saw this as an opportunity to emphatically kick her feet, occasionally making contact with Conor. This made him scream. I picked him up and placed him in the seat and I told him that if he didn’t sit at her feet, she couldn’t kick him. He declined to heed my advice and plopped back down at her feet. The kicking continued. After trying to reason with the nearly two-year old Sydney, I again placed Conor into the seat beside her. Conor did not want to sit there and he made sure his protest was loud and tearful as he melted from the seat back to the bottom of the cart. As I went to scoop him up, I met the eyes of a disapproving older woman. I tried to muster a reassuring smile, but I wanted to ask her why she had to look at me that way. I got a few more stares as I traversed the aisles needed to check all of the items off of my list.
I found a check lane and I waited with the kids, while they begged for crackers, cookies, and candy lining the nearby shelves. The woman with the disapproving look pulled her cart next to mine to use a nearby lane and started talking to the kids. She told them that she had seen them earlier and that they were behaving so well. I added “now,” then I thanked her. She offered to let me go to the shorter line she was about to enter and I declined. I made small talk with her and I think I may have previously read her wrong . As she was talking to me, I noticed a woman start to come to the check lane the older woman was going to use, then decide to instead take advantage and pull in front of her while she wasn’t looking. What a sweet human.
Eventually, I made it to the clerk. She was probably around 60, no makeup, with long greasy salt and pepper colored hair. She was sure to audibly mumble “great, now I don’t get a break today.” I replied to her, “I’m sorry to hear that.” I handed her my reusable bags and went back to wrangling the kids.
When it was all said and done, I pulled the cart away from the regular traffic. I unbagged and reorganized my groceries the way I wanted them and put Sydney’s coat on her. Conor ran from me and went to the driving video game, but I finally talked him into coming back to me. I got both of them into their coats and started to head out the door. Before making it fully out the door, the alarms went off. I backed through the sensors again (mainly to prove I wasn’t stealing anything) only to hear the lovely alarm sounding once more. A door greeter approached, so I pulled the movie I picked up from my online order and handed it to her saying “It was probably this.” Even though it was in an envelope, she asked if I had a receipt. I showed her the receipt and she replied “I don’t even know what this is.” I watched as she unfolded it, then seemed satisfied with my explanation and told me to have a nice day.
This is pretty much at least twice a month in my life. Kids testing me, strangers judging me, me trying to figure out people, and feeling like I had to access the most primal of survival skills to complete something commonplace.
Oh, you’re still here. Thanks!