That spontaneous moment when your grandma takes you older two children and you wake up on Sunday morning, having a cup of coffee as slow as you please, and then realize this is the perfect moment to venture out to the health foods store since you’re down to one child. You even stop at Starbucks for a second coffee on the way…
But don’t be fooled. Even with just one child, this will be the shopping trip from hell.
Maybe it’s just me, but I never seem to be able to find things like bean sprouts and corn husks at my run-of-the-mill grocery market. If I want things like that, I need to send Roger out to the “fancy” store. But today, I was going to finally get to run some errands on my own. Well, London (the three year-old tower of strength) was with me. However, she was enjoying the one-on-one time and everything was going great. An older gentleman kept passing us by in the produce section smiling and telling me, “She’s adorable.” I smiled and said thank you. A little later near the root vegetables, he raised an eyebrow and quiped, “Don’t spoil her.” And I smiled and say that I wont.
I blame that man. I know it isn’t fair, but I blame him. If you flatter a mother with young children too much, you might as well be putting a hex on them. Wait for it. Every single time, moments later when the person is still around to witness, all the poo will hit the fan with hurricane force. And some of the poo might even get on the old man who thought the curly-headed three year-old was so adorable (no, poop is not involved in this story…but it made a funny mental picture).
London and I make it to the beans and rice when I lean down to pick up some polenta. London cries out, “Let me! I help!” So I stand and let her reach for it, when all of a sudden, her eyes go wide and she drops the roll of polenta. “Ouch!” She whines. “It hurt me!” I don’t see any sign of injury, so I tell her it’ll be okay and we move on down the isle. London is singing a little, but keeps her hands raised in the air to prevent it from getting bitten from anymore wayward packaged foods. Then, she stops dead in her tracks and gasps. “Oh no!” I look down and the biggest tears are welling up in her eyes. “Bleed!” she begins to squeal. “Get it off! Get it off! My hands! My hands! Bleeeeeeeeeed!”
Seconds ago, she didn’t even know, but now that the life force of her body is seeping through the tiniest of cuts, the fear of death has seized her with a blood-curdling scream of panic.
Everyone stops and turns to look.
There’s this moment when I consider just abandoning my cart, scooping London up and leaving the store. That’s what would be considerate, right? But how often do I get to run these errands? I won’t find bean sprouts at the market closer to home. And we were almost finished!
I take a deep breath and decide to tackle this head on. I tell London we will wash the blood away. I leave my cart and walk quickly to the bathroom where she screams and fights against me as I try to run the water over her cut. It doesn’t help that you have to hold your hands under the faucet for several seconds before the water turns on. I’m literally pinning her against me and white-knuckling it as I hold onto her wrist and keep it still long enough to get the water to turn on. She naturally has the loudest scream—breaking glass, loud. My ears are ringing and I am trying not to have to yell over her to get her to hear me tell her that it’s going to be okay, mommy will fix this.
The water isn’t helping. London is a bleeder like me. I try to get her to put a paper towel over the cut to stop the bleeding but that produces more chilling screams of, “No! Don’t touch! You hurt me!”
Ugh. Dear Lord.
We walk out of the bathroom and people are looking. It’s like they had all been standing there waiting to see us emerge. Were we going to be in one piece? Was this a moment when you call the police? Should they intervene? So I just duck my head and get the cart. London, waving her arms in despair manages to smack me in the face and smear blood across my brow. I whisper in her ear and ask if she’d like a bandaid so she can’t see the blood.
I SHOULD NOT HAVE SAID ANYTHING!
The screams are hysterical at this point. Her eyes are wide with honest fear and horror. Her face won’t stop pouring out buckets of tears. She’s trembling.
Dangit! I am paying for these groceries! We have come this far!
So I hold London in my arms and try to push the terrible cart she picked with the plastic child seats. WHO CREATED THOSE HELLISH THINGS?!?!?! If Jesus had been forced to push one while holding a screaming toddler, he would have sinned, I am sure of it!
As we scream our way up to the cash registers, the older female cashier waves me over. She has to come around to unload my cart for me because I can’t manage to hold London and push that blasted, evil cart into the narrow path. I try to explain that she’s cut her hand and the sight of blood terrifies her. The cashier is thankfully sympathetic. She tries to give London a sucker (which normally would have been manna from heaven) but the sight of the suckers may as well have been a bucket of blood. She unleashes a more frightening and deafening scream than I thought possible. Her face is volcanic in it’s color and pulsing—a vein has popped out on her forehead. She tenses up…and I notice that she’s screaming pee out…
And now my shirt is wet.
I hold her tighter to hide the pee on my shirt (emblazoned with a skeleton hand in a peace sign…), try not to curse the chip reader that is taking FOREVER to read my card, and then turn to face the other shoppers in line as the cashier ends up helping me out.
But I got the bean sprouts, dog-gone-it.
And even some Wasabi sauce.