You bet your ass I have something to say about your post on beauty, Katie. I have so much to say that my response has already been divided into two parts. HOWEVER. I don’t trust myself to post about anything too emotionally driven right now (and this topic is), as I am fighting a tough battle with depression. I think I might be winning this one, for once, but I still feel self-conscious about my reactions and opinions when the depression-cloud lingers in my mind. I guess I don’t trust myself right now. Sometimes, that’s gotta be OK.
So, I hope to articulate and post my responses soon, but today is not the day. Today is Friday and a good day for some fun. A few things inspired this post. First, the tampons scattered all over my bedroom floor. I usually have my box of tampons hidden away in a bathroom cabinet (Martha Stewart says, “store things where you use them!”) not because I’m embarrassed for anyone to know I’m a woman who has a regular period, but because if I don’t, this is what happens:
Now, I’m not sure what the deal is, but all of my children go through this toddler phase where they love nothing more than to play with an opened box of bright, variety-size tampons. And, since we’ve moved and things are not yet totally put away, this box of tampons has been making its way all over the house. The reasonable thing to do would be to place the box out of sight and/or reach, like I do when I’m settled into a place, but we all know now that I’m not always reasonable. Chris has finally dealt with it his way, and kicked the mess under the bed. Smart move on his part, because one awkward, waddling trip from the toilet to the bed with my undies around my ankles, and I put away the tampons and decided it’s time to organize the bathroom.
Anyway, the other inspiration was your post on the grocery store trip, Katie. What is it about the grocery store that’s so conducive to every parent’s Most Embarrassing Moments? Parents could probably write a series of books recounting nightmare grocery store trips. I’ve been thinking about it and I think what it is (for me) is this: when Chris gets dressed in business-casual in the morning and leaves to go to an office for his paying job, in the world of adults, I stay at home to do my job (that pays in other ways besides, um, money) in the world of children and babies. In this world, there are few rules and the schedule is pretty loosey-goosey. We wear what we want. We eat whenever we want. We do whatever we want. There are days I go for eight hours without talking to anyone other than a 2-year-old, a person who, on her good days, is like a cross between a puppy and a mental patient. So when it’s time to go to the grocery store, in the land of adults who are clothed in clothes and have rational thought process and manners and self-awareness, I am really out to impress. Going to the grocery store in this culture is a Big Deal to someone who is living on Mama Island. It says: Look! I am a grown-up! I have things to buy, money to spend! I am legit. I complete whole sentences and adhere to the same social codes as all of you!
But when you bring along a 2-year-old and/or her two 7-year-old brothers, all bets are off. I should know by now not to set out in the world hoping to hold on to silly things like pride and dignity. It seems like anytime I hope to gain an autonomous sense of self, my children sniff out my desire and get scared they’re losing me and do everything in their power to show the world (and me): SHE’S MINE.
Or, maybe they are just kids being kids. I think this is probably more likely.
So, here are my Top Three Most Embarrassing Grocery Store Moments*:
- The Tampon. Ladies, you know that emergency tampon you try to keep in your purse only, because it’s for emergencies, you never use it and the wrapper gets marked on by stray pens and lip liner and eventually rips and the tampon slips out and ends up under everything, worming its way into the hole in the corner of the lining and then you forget it’s there? Well, one time I was checking out at the grocery store and the cashier smiled at Sola, with the look that she was going complement my baby, but then furrowed her brow and pursed her lips and didn’t say anything. I took a look myself. Sola was sitting in the cart chair, happily gnawing away on something, all gums and slobber. She was teething. She had found the emergency tampon.
- The Paper Towels. Sola was (and still is) easy. The cosmos knew anything more difficult would break me after the twins’ first two years. She was only a few weeks old, very quiet, and I was still getting used to taking three kids out. We went to Target for the same reasons you always see mothers with young children at Target, and I put her, sleeping in the car-seat, in the shopping cart. The boys and I began by placing things around her car-seat gently. The box of wipes had to go under the cart. Soon, we got to the paper towels. The pack was so big, it would rest perpendicularly across the length of the cart, with Sola underneath. We went on our way. We kept putting things in the cart. I walked around wasting time, because it felt so good to be in an organized, clean, adult-filled environment. Eventually, I heard a whimper. Then some mewing. It sounded like there was a litter of kittens nearby. I can’t remember how long it took until one of the boys said, “Mom! Remember the baby! She’s still in the cart!” Alas, I pawed through the cans and boxes, lifted the pack of paper towels and, indeed, the newborn baby I forgot I had was awake.
- The Tomatoes and Corn Mush. My first trip ever to a Whole Foods was not good. It was especially bumming because I had heard about Whole Foods in Kansas and couldn’t believe that moving to California meant I would be within a few miles from TWO of them. In my quest to educate the boys about food, I took them back to the butcher. They saw a pig and I explained. I went to get bacon for my clam chowder recipe and Taj decided right there that he was going to be vegetarian. He would not eat the chowder, he said, if I put bacon in it. Luke wanted bacon in the chowder. They argued. It escalated. It ended with Taj crying as Luke yelled, “BUT BACON TASTE GOOOOOD!” By the time we got to the checkout they had calmed down enough to do their favorite job: placing things from the cart onto the conveyor belt. I stood at the counter, ready to swipe my card, when I noticed the grape tomatoes were traveling up the belt, one-by-one, with a nibble taken out of each. By the time the grocer shrieked in disgust after sticking her hand what corn-on-the-cob turns into if you leave it in your reusable grocery bags in the back of your car for two months while you move across the county, I had sort of stopped being human long enough to get us and our stinky groceries to the car, where I made it as far as the first stoplight before getting rear-ended by a Subaru. This was our first month in Palo Alto. (If you haven’t seen this spoof on the Whole Foods Parking Lot, check it out now. This is me they’re making fun of.)
*All of these occurred after I had my third child. This is either because the more children you have, the more they are able to join forces in their quest to rule your world or because I remember little from the first two years after having twins, including the few times I actually took two babies into a grocery store by myself.
What is your worst grocery store tale? (kids or not…)