Sunday, November 28, 2010

Have I mentioned that I hate shopping?

I should have taken it as a sign when my car refused to continue up the small hill leading out to the street after I had stopped to wait for traffic. I had to pop it into reverse and then floor my break as I slid backward into the parking lot before coming to a very slow and reluctant stop. That should have told me right there to go no further. Park the car, get the kids back inside, lock the door, and don't even think of venturing out until the light of day. But I'm stupid stubborn. So I made it out of the parking lot after getting a running start up the hill and after minimal slipping and sliding, ventured into the night for groceries. (No, I don't know why I waited until dark.)

This isn't a post about a car accident. I made it to Safeway without incident or injury. Once in the store, however, I received a psychological thrashing courtesy of my wee angels. (Shrek is playing in the background right now, hence my use of the word "wee".) Honestly, it started off okay. I got through about a third of my shopping without drama and I think that might be a record. Things went all pear-shaped once Ethan figured out how to kick his boots off. At first, I thought they had simply slid off his feet. They're rain boots that actually belong to Ben so they have nothing by way of fasteners and they are a little big on Ethan. So, I picked the boots up and placed them back on his feet and continued shopping until I heard a couple of tell-tale thumps and discovered that the boots were once again on the floor. I eyed Ethan suspiciously and the little imp giggled and pointed at his boots while extending his feet. Okay. I picked up the boots, put them back on his feet, and slowly continued down the aisle. This time, I caught him kicking his boots off and he knew I caught him and he thought it was hilarious. He stuck his feet out once again but I wasn't going to play his game, damn it. I stuffed his boots on the lower shelf of the shopping cart, gave him my best "that'll learn ya" look, and resumed my shopping.

That's when the screaming started. Ethan's scream is legendary among those of us who have had the great misfortune to experience it. He wails at such an offensive pitch that you can feel all the tiny bones of your ears shuddering in agony. I have literally placed my hands to my ears to check for blood during these screams. I imagine that parts of my brain liquefy from the assault, precious memories and bits of knowledge that I will never recover thanks to the superhuman vocal abilities of my baby boy. If we were home alone, maybe I would have handled things differently but I had to consider the innocent bystanders. I did what parents are told never to do. I relented and gave him his boots back. At first, I tried just placing them next to him in the cart but that only enraged him further. He threw his boots down the aisle and inhaled deeply for another auditory attack. Given that he threw his boots, which is extra bad, I really shouldn't have put them back on his feet. Lord help me, though, I did. And that act signaled to Ethan that mommy would play his game and we played it for the rest of time we were there. He was so delighted.

I shopped. Thankfully, the checkout line wasn't the hell that I was fearing. Ben, maybe sensing that at least one of them needed to consider my sanity, helped me place the items on the belt and didn't even whine for candy. He did, however, grab a giant handful of plastic bags that he proceeded to crumple and scatter while attempting to "assist" the girl who did the bagging. He was being polite about it, though, so I let it slide. The girl would have to fend for herself.

The drive back was a smidge harrowing because the brakes in my Buick aren't being completely reliable right now. I was driving slowly and very defensively but really didn't encounter any angry drivers until right when I was about to turn left into the parking lot. The guy in the truck behind me lost patience and then illegally passed me, nearly causing me to run into him. Jerk.

Getting everyone back inside our home turned out to be kind of interesting as well. I grabbed all the bags and headed for our place while Ben and Ethan wandered off in the opposite direction, apparently intent on disappearing into the night. I called to them repeatedly as I hurried as fast as I could on the slippery sidewalk to deposit my groceries at my front door so I could go retrieve my kids. Ben was making very slow progress to our home on his own but Ethan ended up being rescued by one of my neighbors. He was holding Ethan's hand and guiding him to the sidewalk while Ethan slid all over the place, whining in protest. What do you say to your neighbor who has just discovered that you will, in fact, abandon your child to the elements (albeit briefly) to set down some groceries?

I just reread all of this and realized I should have just written "I went shopping and it sucked" and left it at that. Oh well.

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