There has been many a time, when I look upon my children and eagerly wonder what goes on in those tiny brains. What kind of thought process do they use, and where in the depths of their mind do they come up with some of the insane acts they display.
Sometimes it seems they do these crazy things, simply to assist me in growing a thicker skin. They are forever deciding to engage their disgustingness in the utmost of public places, leaving me to stumble and stutter my way out of these rickety situations.
I have become quite versed in my way of dealing with their communal oddness, and for that I am quite proud.
Unfortunately at times, disciplinary words will fail me. Whether this be out of panic because the situation crept up on me too quickly or I am at a loss for words because this new faucet of weirdness is just a little too far over the edge.
Yesterday, was one of these times.
The three of us are gliding through the produce passageway. Lars is walking beside the cart because he has all too soon realized that he is much too big to ride in a cart like a ‘Baby’. (And there goes the days of easy grocery shopping)
Sophie thankfully hasn’t followed suit with her brother and is still happy to ride, but goes the complete opposite direction and insists on riding in one of the carts that have the infant car-seat type holder attached to it. I try to explain that this is for babies, and she should sit in the normal type of cart that big kids sit in…After some struggle I digress, because in the end it just isn’t worth it.
I do however give a fleeting thought to the woman who will come in 20 minutes later with thoughts of grandeur and groceries only to find there is no appropriate cart to put her 2 month old in, because my 2 year old was adamant and unruly.
Oh well, not much I can do about it now I think with sanguinity.
So as we walk/run/slither along, I notice some of the Wal-Mart patrons looking at us with a funny sort of stare. I am about to pipe up and ask them if their mothers ever taught them any kind of manners, when I realize what these strangers are in fact, staring at.
It happens almost in slow-mo. I look at Sophie who is laughing her hearty belly laugh and looking down towards her brother. I follow her gaze and see Lars…My Lars, the child I am raising, the child I have taught and trained, fervently licking the thick metal mesh of the Wal-Mart shopping cart.
My first reaction is an over exaggerated gagging motion. I then, in a loud hissing whisper say, “That is so disgusting…Stop it!”
The children both start laughing. Their cries of glee are currently drilling holes into my psyche, and I am at a loss. Maybe it is my imagination, I truly hope it is, but I can feel the other humans in the store staring at me. And I dare not look towards any of them, in fear I will have to indulge these strangers with some sort of explanation. So I say nothing more, I continue on with our shopping.
We have made it to the dairy section and I am checking a pack of eggs, with my back turned to the babes when I hear an unfamiliar voice speaking towards my children’s general direction.
“Oh little boy…That cart has a lot of germs on it. You shouldn’t be putting your mouth on it.”
God please give me strength to deal with this situation in a polite and acceptable manner.
“Lars I told you not to do that, it is really icky poo!” I turn my attention to the older woman who has took it upon herself to discipline my child, “I don’t know why he keeps doing this…” My tone is pathetic and I am hoping she will just give me a sympathetic smile and go on her way.
No such luck.
“Well maybe he’s hungry.”
Maybe he is Hungry? What the hell kind of kid do you think I have lady? What? He realizes that is tummy rumbles and thinks it will suffice to suck out any kind of sustenance this cart will provide?!
I am appalled at this quick comeback from the 70 something year old woman and cannot hold back my next response.
“No ma’am I am sure it’s just that he is a 4 year old boy and doesn’t understand the repercussions of what he is doing. I so appreciate your concern, but I will be able to take it from here.” I peel off with Sophie squirming in her infant seat and Lars still drooling all over the fucking cart.
Now I suppose to you confrontational people this may seem like a very passive statement to say to the ol’ hag, but to me, I am reeling inside. Indignity takes me over and I have to force myself ahead, so not to run back towards the woman and apologize for my hasty response.
By the time we finish our expedition, I have told Lars to remove his mouth from the cart several more times, and Sophie to stop copying him.
I am at the end of my rope and am wondering why the concept of germs is so difficult for my son to catch on to. We wait in line at the till, and I keep a vigil on the children assuring that they do not begin their quest for nourishment via cart eating while we are in this abundant area.
This is when I look to the line beside me and see a young mother with three children. I shudder inwardly because if I thought two were difficult, I can’t even imagine three. The one that looks as though he would be the age between the other two, is perched much the same way as Lars was on our grocery trip; holding on to the side of the cart.
The mother looks down at him and in much the same kind of hissing way as I, says; “Don’t not do it Jacob!”
That is when the kid looks up at her with a mischievous grin, and licks the cold metal of the cart with a vengeance.
And all I could do was give the woman a knowing smile and think, ‘Thank God I’m not the only one!’