I hate those experiences that you look back on and think, “What was I thinking? I’m smarter than that.” However, these are often the ones that give us the most laughs – several days later.
This weekend after playing in the fountains in Bricktown until 9 on Friday night, two birthday parties, an over-night at Nana and Papa’s, a 20-mile ride around Draper Lake in a cart behind their father’s bike, and a walk around the park with our new puppy, I took my tired, hungry and dirty little girls to Wal-Mart on Sunday evening. What was I thinking? I am smarter than that.
It started off well. Everyone was complaint with their seating arrangement in the cart. I strolled through the garden section real fast, just in case there was something there I couldn’t live without. What was I thinking? I am smarter than that. While the children are happy you make a mad dash through the store grabbing everything as quick as you can as if your very life depended on it because they are soon going to realize that they are tired and hungry.
We made our way over to the baby food aisle where my 1-year-old realized that she hadn’t had dinner yet. She looked at me, signed “more” and started to squirm her way out of her seat. So I grabbed a box of crackers and popped the open.
The crackers worked for a while, but then restlessness ensued. The little dear was screaming and signing “more” at every food item we passed. My 3-year-old though was a champ, right until the end. She sat quietly under the growing pile of food. We chatted. She didn’t ignore me. I even let her pick out a box of Pop-Tarts, which I generally am vehemently opposed to.
Then we ran into some friends and headed for the check out stand where it all went to pot. We stood there waiting for what felt like three days in the Isle of Checkout. Screaming babies are not so hard to deal with in a moving cart. The changing scenery keeps them somewhat occupied. But at a stand still it is unbearable. A fruit snack wrapper mysteriously kept ending up on the floor even though I bent over to pick it up 50 bajillion times. My 1-year-old grabbed an avocado out of the back of the cart and took a bite skin and all. That box of crackers ended up opened end down and spilled out all over the floor. Then I noticed my 3-year-old was sitting on a bunch of bananas. I asked her to stand up and also noticed that she had an accident. At what point I am not sure. There was no puddle under our cart that I could see. So it appeared I’d need to throw away one banana, collateral damage. So I unloaded the cart while feeding my 1-year-old grape tomatoes and blueberries and chatting with our friends. They have no children and after loading up their groceries in their two-door snazzy sports car with no Cherrio encrusted floor mats or juice-stained-seats, they were going home to a clean house to sit on the back porch and drink beer. Duel income no kids. I remember that.
Then they headed off into the sunset with their beer in their fast car and I was left alone in the Isle of Checkout with a screaming 1-year-old and a peed pants 3-year-old. Then I noticed the puddle on the floor. Again? So I finished unloading as fast as I could. There was a smushed can of biscuits that had exploded under the weight of my daughter. There were several open boxes of crackers and snacks. The lady behind me smiled and kicked a blueberry under the magazine display. Then I started to unload the things that I had shoved under the cart that might crush, poison or otherwise harm my 3-year-old should she get curious. And there it was. The rotisserie chicken that I was going to cut up with the avocado and grape tomatoes and put on the lettuce waiting at home to become the perfect salad. What was I thinking? I am smarter than that.
And what do you say, “Excuse me ma’am I don’t want this chicken now, my daughter peed on it?”
So I asked the lady at the check out for a paper towel. She said, “Oh did she throw up?” No. I wish. She didn’t have any so I opened the package I was buying – no need to arrive home with any unopened packages at this point. I cleaned up the liquid off the top of the yummy smelling Lemon Pepper rotisserie chicken package and shoved the napkin in my pocket where I smashed a blueberry that I didn’t remember having put there. What was I thinking? I am smarter than that.
We loaded up without incident. Got home. Got baths. Got in bed. They fell asleep. My blood pressure dropped. Then I watched Brothers and Sisters while tidying up. It was the episode where Sara loses custody of her children. I cried the first time I saw that episode. But it really got me this time. Earlier I wanted to drive home to my friend’s life. And now I wanted to wake up my kids and play with them. But I was smarter than that.
- Lindsey Johnson