I couldn't help but share the essay I read at the Listen To Your Mother Show at The Athenaeum Theatre this past Sunday. An amazing experience which only confirms that everyone has a story to tell. I thought for sure my mundane silly story would just amuse but found many women approaching me after the show to tell me, they've been there...
AND - Ann Imig (creator of LTYM) was interviewed by Janet Shamlian of the Today Show for a segment on the NBC Nightly News which you can view here! EEEEK!
Grocery shopping with 3 kids is pretty reminiscent of a three-ring circus. People stare, point and usually laugh as my crazy crew descends on our local big box store. I am always in a pretty perky mood after my morning pot of coffee, and sufficiently caffeinated for the day, the family emerged upon the store in our typical dramatic fashion.
Armed with binoculars, my 4-year-old daughter, Nora, and 6-year-old son, Jack, were observing the “creatures” in the store. They studied pictures of dogs on display and gasped at books with lions on the cover. (Whatever these kids need to do to stay close to the cart and not run away is fine with me.)
Seven-month-old Claudia, strapped into the Baby Bjorn fastened to my chest, kicked her feet and shook a toy, screaming in glee. All seemed right with the world as I brought out my freshly made list and took a left turn into the sundries, deliberately avoiding the toy aisle. We needed band aids anyway, and spotting the display of boo-boo covers, I squatted down to reach for a Spider Man box.
Because that is all you can do in a Baby Bjorn.
Leaning over feels like baby is going to fall out onto the floor. As I positioned myself for the squat, I noticed my son wandering too close to get a look at an employee with his binoculars and as I called him back to the cart, I farted.
And of course, there was someone else in the aisle next to me. What could I do? Blame it on the baby?
If my infant had busted out that flatulence, she would have shot out of her Baby Bjorn and back home!
So, I laughed. That really big belly laugh, where you accidentally snort at the end.
I apologized to the stranger and wiping away a tear, checked “embarrass myself” off my to-do list. Rounding my explorers back to the cart, we headed for the produce area to pick up bananas and buttermilk. I smiled at the employees having a meeting in the middle of aisle and as we passed the red and khaki mass, I noticed an overall concerned look on their faces. Assuming it was an intense discussion involving customer service, I got back to my grocery list.
The 6-year-old, as if reading my mind, grabbed a bunch of bananas and dropped them in the cart.
“We can have whatever we want here, Nora,” Jack explained to his sister. “The workers want us to take it.”
I explained to the children that if your “took” something from a store, that was called “stealing.” Hopefully, someone heard me. Pausing to review my list, another stranger smiled and said,
“It looks like you have your hands full,” patted me on the shoulder and whispered, “You’re doing a great job, mama.”
I thanked her for the kind words as I loaded 2 gallons of milk into my cart. The 50-something lady told me she remembered this time. She assured me life would get easier.
“What a lovely woman,” I thought, and remembered I had to buy buttermilk for our afternoon cookie recipe. After a 30 second search, the children started to scatter, so I interrupted a team of employees to ask about the buttermilk.
Eyes wide, the men exchanged glances at my request. I frowned and dismissed their strange looks. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed my 4-year-old had dropped her blanket, and saying a silent prayer that I seen it on the floor, bent over to snatch it up.
As I tilted my body forward, baby Claudia hung suspended in the air and proceeded to spew her morning milk all over the floor.
The short peanut gallery next to me loudly exclaimed, “EWWW!”
"Oops!" I said, searching through my purse for some wipes to mop up the vomit. As I squatted, I farted again
and feeling embarrassed heat rising in my cheeks, ignored the sound and apologized to no one around me.
“Maybe they didn’t hear it…” I thought to myself.
“Ma’am, we do not have buttermilk,” a pair of khaki pants said to me as I sat on my heels passing gas and cleaning the floor.
“I see a wild man,” said Jack to Nora, both peering through their binoculars.
“Okay, thanks!” I grunted, rose from the floor and steered the cart and my young explorers away from the mortifying scene. I decided our trip was over and strangely not because the children were being uncooperative and unruly. For some reason, I was the problem that day and frustrated, made my way to the check out. As the children helped unload the cart, I smiled at the woman behind the counter.
“It will be okay,” she said.
How did she know I was having a bad day? I wondered, swiping my debit card and returning her kind gesture with a silent smile and head nod.
The children helped load our bags into the car and as I buckled baby Claudia into her seat, a foul stench filled my nose. After I changed a poopy diaper in the front seat of the car I plopped into my own to gather myself.
I was exhausted.
Subconsciously opening the visor mirror, I realized, in horror, why everyone had been staring at me. My shirt was on inside out and backwards, and my lips were chalk white with the remnants of my morning tooth cleaning.
I looked like a lunatic.
Closing the mirror, I sighed and steered the car home, went in the house and declared an early dessert. We ate cookies before lunch and I realized that one day, I might really miss this mess.
All Images Courtesy of the lovely and talented Sabrina Persico...
Love, sloppy kisses and toosh smacks to Jocelyn, Robin, Sheila, Sarah, Lisa, Erin, Shannon, Shannan, Tracy, RoiAnn, Nadine, Samantha, Liz, Marianne, Tracey and Melisa. -Elizabeth