The battle to put on coats had waged long and loud in the snowy grocery store parking lot and spirits sank low and grew cranky. “I’ll be a fun mom,” I thought as I picked the cart that is the hardest to steer and heaviest to push because its shaped like a race car and has wheels to steer and horns to beep. In a cost-benefit analysis, the built in imagination station seemed worth the sacrifice. Still shivering, they seemed content.
As I passed the flowers, I trampled over three poinsettias with the carts right side as its left knocked over a chocolate display.
The carts inertia then almost killed two old ladies holding hands and picking apples.
Next, Josie figured out how to unclasp the buckle.
“Stay seated,” I warned as we steered past the oranges. “Balls!” she said as she stood up and stretched her arms no longer constrained and one was thrown at Rita and another at an entertained stranger.
The fun continued near the Deli. Dozens of customers were waving tickets in the air begging for sliced turkey, and Josie believed them all to be hers. She made her claim known by standing and shouting, “Gib me dat tipkit!” to each of the shocked and scared perpetrators as they responded, “she should really be buckled, that’s quite dangerous.”
It wasn’t that I meant to appear indifferent about my standing 2 year old. Its just that I have a hard time hiding my emotions through facial expressions and the kid learned how to safely jump out of her crib at 15 months. I felt confident in her ability to stand and yell at strangers for their deli numbers.
The crimes of injustice continued as kind and generous Deli workers offered her a slice of broken cheese. She was both offended and hurt as they stared confused and bewildered. “She doesn’t like cheese?” they asked. I offered them my apology and engaged considerable hamstring strength to reengage the carts movement as Josie continued to unintelligibly (thankfully) and with a fully open mouth yell and cry “I hate broken cheese, stupid broken cheese, idiot.”
Rita enjoyed what Josie forcefully rejected for 20 seconds before Josie sobered up and noticed. The second greatest part about knowing how to unbuckle a safety feature is the new found opportunity to sit on your younger sister when she steals and eats the Deli cheese you reject and hate. The mostly squashed younger then pulled the hair of the still screaming older, the now angry crying older then slapped the revenged younger, and the bad female parent tried to hold back laughter. Have you ever seen a one year old pull hair with a grin and a giggle? Rescue came in the form of a shopping construction worker still wearing his hard hat who said, “Santa Claus is watching,” to which Josie asked, “Does the firefighter know Santa?” and all was good and merry.
I then filled my cart with nothing I put on my mental list.
As I parked to check out and noticed Josie’s possession of a rogue candy cane and her disgusting generosity in sharing it with Rita, the kindest young mother said, “your children are so well behaved,” to which I smiled and thought, “she’s probably hard of hearing, and quite possibly blind.” With the back turn of a mom to unload the lemons and parsley, Josie discovered the third best thing about being free from the buckle. She can almost reach the gum in the checkout aisle.
When I turned back around at the sound of “YOUR BABY!” an old woman wearing a Christmas birds nest hat (new to me as well) stood holding a smiling Josie who asked her, “Can you just get me that gum? The green one.”
In moments like this a mom should probably be mortified. Thankfully, the bird hat was too distracting, and it wouldn’t have been the first time we accidentally shoplifted gum.
“Very dangerous,” she said to me shaking her head and handing me my daughter.
“Thank you so much for catching her in mid air please have a Merry Christmas?” I tried.
“Merry Pissmas lady!” Josie exclaimed and off we ran to once again freeze in the parking lot.
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