There are a lot of days I screw up. But today was not one of them, even though it could have been. After work I had a doctor appointment, and then I picked up the kids from daycare and we went straight to the grocery store. I knew I was pushing it, but my kids are pretty good and I brought diapers and snacks. I am ready, I thought. Immediately upon entering the store my 2-year-old told me she had to go potty. SHIT. We’re just starting this whole potty business so we’re at the point that if she ASKS to go, we have to take her. Nevermind that the clock was ticking until meltdown mode for both her and Infant Grouch, or that the public restrooms are bacterial infected cesspools or that I’d be precariously holding both her and the infant, or that she probably wouldn’t go to the bathroom anyway until she was back in the cart (spoiler alert, she later shit in the cart).
So I took a deep breath.
I said, “Okay, let’s go” and we entered the bathroom and to my surprise, she peed! So I wrangled her diaper back on and said, “Don’t touch anything!” a million times and we washed our hands and we hoped Infant Grouch wouldn’t start screaming (and she didn’t, whew). Fifteen minutes after we arrived we finally started our grocery shopping.
Toddler Grouch was sitting in the big part of the cart and Infant Grouch was in the small upper seat. Toddler Grouch kept standing up and grabbing things off of the shelves and shouting cliches like, “I want that!” while knocking over rows of shampoo. I found myself repeatting, to her, “Sit down. Sit down. Sit down”, and, “Do you need a snack?” and to myself, “Take a deep breath. An ujayi breath. Fuck it, ANY BREATH”.
The first item on my list was dry shampoo. Because God forbid I have to wash my hair every day. (Seriously, who has time for that?) I was completely out so I needed it and I walked back and forth and back and forth, scouring the aisles. I walked back and forth as many times as they say “back and forth” in Love You Forever. Where the hell is it? I was getting pissed. The Meltdown Clock was ticking. After the amount of time it could have taken me to write a graduate thesis, I finally found it. Why the hell do they have to always change the packaging? I resisted the urge to ask this question out loud, since little ears were within the listening range.
The next item on my list was saline rinse for the two stuffy little noses that alternate between mimicking spewing volcanoes and crusty manhole covers. Our household is plagued with sinuses as delicate and narrow as human hairs, so none of us can survive without this stuff. We were out, so it had to be found immediately. Where the fuck is it? For the love of God, it’s been thirty-five minutes and so far all we’ve done is pee on a potty (but, Potty Dance!) and make it down one aisle. The Meltdown Clock is ticking! I finally found it. “God damned fucking packaging changers!” I yelled. In my head. I actually held it in. And again….
While Toddler Grouch was screaming, “I wannnnt it” and, “Go away!” and “Poooooooopy Poop!” I could not be the mom who loses her shit because the saline drops now came in a purple package instead of a white one. I didn’t even yell when Toddler Grouch started screaming in a sort of horribly mean tone, “Go away!” or as she crushed groceries with her boots and kept stacking items up next to the infant carrier until they almost toppled over.
Instead, I breathed again and made myself smile at Infant Grouch, even though it may have been a bit too toothy, looking perhaps like the smile the Wolf gave to Little Red Riding Hood.
I bought four different types of dark chocolate and a bottle of Cabernet. But I did not yell.
We got home and I had two tired and hungry kids to feed, and I opened the fridge to get the leftover chicken tenders and fries for Toddler Grouch…..and I realized Mr. Grouch had eaten them. He was on a plane heading to an out of town business event so I could not give him an evil glare. I threw together some leftover black beans and roasted vegetables and told Toddler Grouch she could watch a Little Einsteins episode if she ate her food. And after she tried to pull down the kitchen blinds, she did. Somehow after all that she ate beans and vegetables for dinner. Score.
It was time for her to head to bed and she started complaining. I started singing the Goodnight Song to her but improvised the words, changing, “It’s time to go to sleep” to, “It’s time brush your teeth” which she somehow found hilarious, so we laughed and laughed about that as we walked upstairs and she brushed her teeth. Then when we were getting her pajamas on, she said she wanted to wear the coconut tree poop pajamas so I repeated back to her what she said and we laughed and laughed as we joked that, “A told B and B told C, I’ll beat you to the top of the coconut poop pajama tree!” After we laughed about that we read I Love You, Stinky Face. On the page with the swamp monster on it I always blow a kiss and touch her face with my finger when the kiss lands on her cheek. Tonight she giggled and told me she was wiping it off, so I gave a million or so kisses to my little slimy swamp monster and she laughed so loud she could hardly breathe as she wiped them off (even though she asked for more on every inhale) but my kisses were no match for her. Before we knew it, we had been laughing for over half an hour.
A day like this I consider a win, and worth recording.
And I still have dark chocolates and Cabernet to top it off.