Yesterday evening Nathan and I headed to our local Kroger to pick up some much needed groceries. I had it all planned out in my head: we would arrive and he would happily play in the shopping cart’s attached car for kids to ride in. If he got bored, he would readily accept the toddler puff bites and milk cup and we would continue about our merry little way. I felt calm. Confident. After all, I am supermom, right? Surely I, Mrs. Perfectly Prepared, could waltz through the aisles with such grace and control that even a naplessly tired and hungry toddler would be unable to find a reason to earn disapproving glances.
Reality, however, proved to be as opposite as it could be to the picture-perfect evening that I had imagined.
For starters, it was raining. Actually, more than raining. The rain was epic and the parking lot was so flooded in some places that I ended up with water in my rain shoes. I drove around trying to find a strategic parking spot which would be both close to the door and also near a cart corral. I spotted what appeared to be the last parking spot on earth in the perfect spot and turned my blinker on to signal (brag?) to everyone else how lucky I am this evening. I ended up stalling just short of my parking spot due to an older lady taking an exceptionally long time to cross in front of my car. Out of nowhere, almost in slow motion, one of those itsy-bitsy smart cars zipped in and out of pedestrian traffic and pulled right into my parking spot. A tiny, well-dressed, obviously single metrosexual man unfolded himself from his toy car and started to briskly walk into the store without even a glimpse in my direction. My jaw dropped at the audacity of this man. Does he not care that I have precious cargo and the daunting task of getting my baby indoors without getting completely drenched? My baby could catch a cold! He could be scarred for life and develop aquaphobia and…and…well maybe I was overreacting. Still, I briefly entertained the thought of driving my car along side him for the single purpose of splashing as much water as possible all over this rotten, no-good man.
I drove around until I found a semi-decent spot about half way down the parking lot and parked. I covered Nathan as best as I could and practically ran into the store, hoping for the love of everything good that the Toy Car Man would see me and my son looking drenched and pitiful and vow to himself that he’ll never steal a poor mom’s parking place again. He was nowhere in sight.
After wiping Nathan down as much as I could, to his delight I placed him into the shopping cart’s attached child’s ride-in car and buckled him in tightly. We started off our shopping trip and he jabbered and squealed and brought the maternal side out in every person with XX chromosomes. I was basting in parental bliss at having such a delightful little boy when all of a sudden things started going downhill at break-neck speed. For starters, since my surgery a week prior to that day I have not been able to wear my cochlear implants, so I am effectively deaf as a doornail. Several times, to my knowledge, people approached me from behind and politely asked me to move over so that they could squeeze past me in the aisle. I of course did not hear their requests and it was not known that such events occurred until they very rudely bumped and grated past my cart. The sound startled and scared Nathan and I turned into a mamma bear- I was furious. The second woman to do so gave me a dirty look and I just could not believe how people could be so rude. The thing about deafness is that it is a hidden disability. I look just like every other person. People who are unknowingly ignored by me never think, Oh she must be deaf. Instead, they just assume that I am just a rude/snobby/vile human and make it their mission to let me know just what they think. This is incredibly unfair to me.
Anyhow, we continued about our not-so-merrily little way and then Nathan wanted something to eat. In the process of fishing his toddler puffs out of his bag, I dropped my coupon book and they scattered everywhere. Feeling embarrassed, I bent down to quickly pick them up off of the floor. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a disproving glance from a young (childless) girl and then glanced at Nathan without even standing up.
He was red-faced and in the midst of protesting my delay in delivering his snack to him. His expression told me that he was clearly Past the Point Of No Return (you moms know exactly what I mean) and so I went and wrestled him out of the car. He calmed down for a second and then absolutely lost it in a serious meltdown when I tried to put him into the child’s seat in the cart. It was like a scene out of The Exorcist. I found myself watching for his head to rotate 360* and the cart to start levitating right there in Kroger. I even imagined for a humorous second if I still had that coupon for Oxyclean Stain Remover just in case he spits up green pea soup all over me after he screeches something or another in Aramaic.
When no such thing occurred, I quickly remembered the Holy Water of all mom’s with toddlers Banana flavored Toddler puffs. He apparent demon was exorcised the moment his eyes caught sight of the bright yellow container. I handed him a few bites and turned to grab one more needed item. I fully believed that I had already filled my quota for the old adage that trouble comes in threes (Toy Car Man, two rude cart-graters, and a minor exorcism)- and thought that my troubles would be over.
[Insert raucous laughing here]
Before I could even launch my cart toward the general direction of the check-out lanes (why do they always only have 2 out of 500 lanes open on busy days???) disaster struck once again. Nathan, who got impatient for more cotton-picking toddler puffs, took matters into his own unexperienced hands and helped himself to the snack. The result? About 3/4 of the containers contents spilled all over my end of the aisle and half way into another one. I stood there dumfounded trying to figure out what in the world I am supposed to do in situations like this. Pick them up? Kick them aside? Hide under the shelves in a fetal position until this miserable trip is over?
I picked Option Number Two and wheeled my cart like a bat out of hell to the nearest checkout lane, actually cutting in front of a person who was obviously about to claim that very spot in the line. To my absolute delight, that person turned out to be the Toy Car Man who had stolen my parking spot at the beginning of this fateful trip. He stared at my audacity as his jaw dropped open. I simply shrugged and unloaded my cart as slowly as I could while he stood helplessly in line learning a lesson or two about a little thing called Karma.
Maybe it wasn’t such a bad trip after all.