My kids are grocery shopping superstars! I’m not trying to brag…but really I am, because it is a rare day when I have to scold them for being disruptive or unruly in the store. They sit in the cart, look around in a mesmerized fashion at all of the wonderfulness that is the shop. And I appreciate every moment of it. But now, before you readers start to think I am becoming too brazen in the words that I write; my shameless account has quickly become a bold-faced memory.
Not 20 minutes ago did the kidlets and I get back from a grocery run, and as we made our way out of the van we all had tear stricken faces, Sophie was covered in poop and Lars was yelling insistently about how mean of a Mama I was. Here begins the story of the grocery run debacle.
Throughout Easter weekend the kids had come down with the flu bug to end all bugs. They had been housebound basically until today, when I decided that it was finally time to venture out to get some food to fill our barren fridge. I hadn’t thought much about it, because like I said, they are absolute superstars when it comes to shopping.
My first hint that this outing was going to be a disaster should have been when Sophie lost it when I attempted to put her in the car seat. She stiffens her body to an unbelievable account, then begins to scream, “I do it Mama, I do it.” Well it’s just her independent phase I think, so after 5 minutes of standing in the frigid air watching her try to click in the strap that would have taken me five seconds, I complete the process for her. And she is not happy about it. Her screaming persists until we arrive at the store, Lars is being unusually quiet though, so I feel that we may still have a chance at civility on this journey.
“Do you guys want to ride in the cart?” I scream as we pull into the parking lot, I scream because otherwise I would not be heard over my daughter.
Sophie’s screaming halts immediately because riding in the cart is one of her favorite activities. In unison they both yell, “Yaaaaa!” back towards me.
After some struggle to fit both of them into the riding harness of the cart, we are in the store and rolling along happily. There are only a few staples I need to get so I beeline strait for the dairy section. Did I mention time is of the essence? Lars has school and I only have 3 hours to get him there…My obsessive compulsive prematurity urges are kicking in again.
“WHAT ARE YOU DOING MAMA!” The boy child is screaming directly in my face, and I have no idea why. “YOU PASSED THE CHEESE STRINGS!” because apparently this is a detrimental asset on this trip.
“OK you need to stop yelling!” I hiss at the kid in that kind of yell that you don’t want anyone else to hear but want to make it perfectly clear to your child that you mean business.
He apparently does not catch this nuance because he continues to bawl at the top of his lungs, which invites Sophie to begin too. They are now both projecting perplexing words in my direction aside from the random ‘cheesstring’ thrown in between syllabic sounds.
I, still feeling a little queasy from my own bout of sickness, is in no mood to argue with them so I whip the cart around grab a pack of the artificially mutilated cheese, thrust it towards the bellowing babes and again in my hissing tones say, “There, enough you two!”
My attempt does allow for a moment of quiet, but in this moment I smell the thing I fear most when taking them out into public. Sophie has soiled herself, and by the tang of it, in the most undesirable way. Of course I did not think of the scenario when packing them up to leave, so now I am faced with the question; do I ditch the groceries and head back to the house? Or let her sit in the stuff for a bit longer and finish up the shopping? I opt to finish this shop because I can’t stand the thought of having to come back here today.
I enter into a rather busy area of the store, and am in constant fear that another human will smell the stench that now wafts off my child. I try to move quickly, darting between, in and out of other carts but realize that her stink is getting much worse. Has she continued shitting this whole time? The other people encompassing this part of the No Frills Grocery store have obviously caught on to my problem as I have started getting dirty looks and hear the sting of whispering behind my back. I have got to get out of here.
We need juice, but I don’t care at this point. Lars is yelling that Sophie ‘smells poopy’ (Thank you for that Lars, I think we have already deciphered this). So between the stench, the yelling and me closely on the verge of puking and crying I decide that a lack of juice is the least of my problems.
I move with diligence towards the tills, my escape from this current hell that I exist in. I am avoiding closeness with others and attempting to steer clear of any familiar faces, this is no time to engage in friendly chatter. The line to the only open cashier is long…well maybe not too long in reality, but figuratively it goes on for miles. This sinking in my stomach is becoming more flagrant. I push on though, I’ve come too far to give up now.
So there we are, snuggled closely between an elderly lady with only a basket full of items to ring through and a solitary man behind us whom I’m sure has picked up on our aroma.
“OH MY GOD MAMA, we forgot the juice!!!” The boy is mad, and upset and nearing hysterics over juice. It is at this point my face bleeds red with mortification. Is he really getting this up in arms about juice?
“Yes Lars I know,” I have to spill the beans about it all because it is now my only choice, “Soph pooped so we have to get home, you don’t need juice, we will get some tomorrow.” He continues to cry and carry on. I urgently take a look at my surroundings, what I am looking for I don’t know. The people enveloping me give pitiable placid looks in my direction. I’m sure they are thinking, ‘oh what spoiled children’ or ‘can’t she control her kids?’ Usually I am pretty good at turning a blind eye to this type of judgment, but today it burns me up inside.
I frantically start telling the cashier and the other persons who look at me with such disdain that, “the kids have been sick all weekend, a little bit stir crazy from being housebound…” I trail off because I know that my attempt at explaining my children’s behaviour is just coming off pathetic, judging from the unsympathetic looks I am continuing to get thrown at me.
After a little more nervous laughter on my part and screaming on the kids’ I get out of the place with a little bit of my sanity still intact. It isn’t until I go to strap them into their seats that I lose it completely. When lifting Sophie out of her hold atop the grocery cart, I find a trickle of shit that has oozed its way out of her overflowing diaper and streaked onto the plastic beneath her.
I am now crying and it seems that this flu bug has not quite left me because the flagrant need to barf all over my child is now palpable. I move more swiftly than I have in a long time, get them both secured and hurl the groceries in the trunk and hop into the driver’s seat. I end up ditching the cart without retrieving my loonie from its grasp, because at this point the loonie is not worth my very precious time. This devastation could get a lot worse in the few seconds it would take to put the thing away properly.
Thank God my home is only a few minutes away from the store because I drive with the windows rolled down and the vents wide open to rid the vehicle of the fetidness that is my 2-year-old.
Which brings me back to the beginning; me, my babes and a box full of groceries, all of us a little worse for the ware from our trip. I can tell you one thing, next time I decide to venture out for a little grocery shop, I will definitely call up the babysitter beforehand.