Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Going to the Grocery Store...

Quote of the Day: "Always be nice to your children because they are the ones who will choose your rest home."

I only dribbled out 700 words yesterday on my novel. I was just too darn upset to really get into it. What happened:

I guess I had a moment of weakness last night. When hubby is gone, I like to make things fun, and so, to "break it up" a little, I suggested to the kids that we go to the grocery store to get stuff for icecream sundaes, and then we'd take a walk around the neighbhorhood, and have our sundaes afterwards.
Well, in hindsight, maybe I should have taken them on the walk first, instead of the store. Then they would have been all worn out and possibly calm during our little sojourn.
I don't know what it was--maybe the Fates aligned a certain way or whatever, but last night's trip to the store was so dab-blasted awful I was reminded of the earlier years when EVERY trip ANYWHERE was awful.
Just a little background: all three of my children are 19 months apart. (Yes, I had three children in diapers at one point--I think I have blocked most of that time from my active memory) When they were all younger, I was loathe to take them anywhere.

My kids are...well...very energetic. They are "full of life" as my Mother-in-Law says (which I believe in "Mother-in-lawspeak" translates to: Tasmanian Devil Minions from Hell) and frankly, anywhere I took them until about two years ago was a complete Odyssey, to say the least. Thing Two, my middle child, has ADD and so he's the most "energetic" of the bunch. He always got his siblings "going" in the spazzy sense. (Granted, he's calmed down SCORES more than he used to be like when he was four and younger, to say that those were dark times would be kind.)
I remember not really wanting to take the kids anywhere, when they were younger. Church was a disaster, my hubby and I would tag-team each other on whoever was acting up the worst, and of course if I took one child out of the meeting, they ALL wanted to go out...don't even get me started on visits to the Doctor, Dentist, school and of course, the dreaded GROCERY STORE.
You know those women who trudge through the grocery store with screaming kids, demanding this and that (or just outright having a tantrum) and the mother resembles Joan of Arc going to the Stake? That was me for several years. The grocery store was a dreaded event, and since all my children were too young for school, I had to lug all of them with me. (I would never have gotten a babysitter; my kids were too much of a handful and I was tired of paying exhorbitant amounts to babysitters so they wouldn't run away screaming and tearing out their hair the NEXT time we asked them to sit).

For five lovely months in Texas I had groceries actually delivered to my house. It was wonderful. I would order them online, and the next day, Ta-DA! I had a very nice gentleman deliver them in a van and I didn't have to go anywhere.
But then I realized that the only way to get my kids used to behaving in public was to actually take them out in Public. I am happy to say it worked in the end, but getting there was nothing short of painful.
Take the grocery store for instance: If I didn't have one of those double-seater carts, I would turn right back around and go home. At least with the double seaters, I could strap in Things One and Two (then 5 and 4, respectively) and Thing Three, who was 2, sat buckled in the cart seat. It was perfect. I could at least restrain them. Unfotunately straight jackets are frowned on for kids, so of course they were whacking each other, kicking each other, yelling, etc. (Mom!!!! So-and-so was looking at me! MOMMMMM!! So-and-so is playing with the cereal! MOMMMMM!!!)

Argh. Whack whack whack. (Lara whacks her head against the cart). It was a nightmare. What was even worse was when Thing Two grew out of being strapped into the cart, he would run around me in circles, or do this horridly spazzed-out Lord-of-the-Dance parody in the aisles while simultaneously making a repetitive noise (VERY loudly I might add) and flapping his arms like a bird, which always looked so mortifying I wanted to die from embarrassment.

Well, to make a long story short, my kids have more or less grown out of their antics: Thing Three (who I swear came out of me an Adult brainwise) has always been mostly good, Things One and Two have calmed considerably, and I haven't had major problems for at least a year, now. But then again, because of school and timing, I don't think I have taken ALL THREE of them to the store together for a year...

So, last night, we get to the store, I put Thing Three in the cart (he's just a little big for it but likes to ride) and Things One and Two rode on either side. I walked in, and Thing Two saw a display he was interested in, and promptly left the cart and ran off. Pretending he was deaf, he ignored my hissing and loud whispers to return to where I was, and finally, I had to march over there and grab him by the arm, at which point he spun off and began to do his horrible Lord-of-the-Dance-Arm-Flapping Routine, which I haven't truly seen him do in a while, and I was like STOP IT! What are you DOING??? You are SIX years old!!!

I think he just must have been excited about the prospect of going to the store, or getting icecream, or both, because the whole ten minutes we were in there (I wouldn't have lasted much longer) he kept doing his "dance," alternated with running away, and of course his brother had to keep yelling at him to "stop it So-and-so" (which sounded vaguely just like the way I do it) and then of course his sister HAD TO HAVE one of the stupid Strawberry Shortcake toys in the toy aisle (which I would normally avoid walking down but printer paper was on the same aisle and we needed some) Later, Thing Two and his sister had to run off and accost the fuzzy stuffed-toy dispenser while I was stuck in line, and couldn't do much about it. (At least they asked first--I think I allowed them to go because it would get them out of the line and people would stop recoiling from their antics.) I slapped my checkbook down on the counter all frazzled, and the store girl (smart a**, if you ask me) asked me a tad too cheerfully: "And how are you today M'am?" Grumble grumble. I should have told her. I almost did, believe me.

So, afterwards, we went out into the parking lot, got into the Expedition and once the doors were shut I started yelling. I couldn't understand why they had all acted like that, and told them NO icecream and NO walk and STRAIGHT to bed when we got home.

YUCK. Awful memories came surging to the forefront after that debacle. My kids have been so well-behaved lately, I don't know what got into them last night.

I guess kids wouldn't be Kids if they were predictable, you know? Predictable is for Husbands.



Michelle Miles said...

LARA... you had me giggling wih this post! As a mother of a 3-yr-old, I can so relate! (Though I only have one.. how DO you do it? I admire women who have more than one child because I certainly would be insane - hence why we have one).

Just a few days ago we were in the mall and my darling child kept running away, getting under clothes racks and just driving me crazy. I was in Sears in the kid's dept and the lady behind the counter said, "How are you today, ma'am?" and I exclaimed, "FRUSTRATED!" and you know.. she laughed.

Next time, tell 'em exactly how you are. They'll never ask again. HAHA

Ann said...

This was so funny! (although I'm sure it wasn't to you at the time). I remember some of the stuff my nieces pulled when they were younger - and whew! I think parents deserve a medal.