About me: I'm a 40-something mother to a pickle party of a family. My husband Chuck, our tween Junior, our 6-year-old Everett, our toddler Cam, and I live in a town in Connecticut I affectionately call Mulletville Lite (aka my childhood hometown). My friends call me Nutjob, and they're right. In my husband's spare time he dresses up as a Viking and chases ghosts (and I'm the nutjob?). I'm a freelance graphic designer and writer.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
I guess I didn't look like a bitch yesterday. And I don't mean bridge
Yesterday after Junior and I played at the park then said goodbye to the fag—he said goodbye to the slides, kites, people, f’ying birds, cars, sticks, clouds and trees, too—I took him to the grocery store. (I really know how to rock a Saturday, ey?)
Despite being called “that woman” on a previous trip to Stop & Shop, I still go there. I like to live on the edge, and their strawberries are always two for $5. Always.
You know that “shot heard round the world” stuff from your high school history book? Well, yesterday was the “child’s blood curdling scream heard round the store.”
I've come to the conclusion that having a child is kind of like having a wild penis attached to your forehead. You can put a nice little hat over it (or a big hat), but if it wants to jump out and frighten the world it’s going to.
It was horrible. No matter what aisle you were in, the screams were right there. When I passed people in the aisle, we exchanged that raised eyebrow look. I kept slobbering all over Junior, thanking him for behaving.
Honestly? I’m dreading the public meltdown. I know it’s coming. No one is safe from it. How they haven’t made it into a horror movie is beyond me. Screw Swamp Thing. How about something a little more plausible? Like Toddler Thing?
I’ve been taking notes from my step-sister on how to handle a meltdown, but I suspect she’s on Valium. Her kid could be smashing glass while igniting furniture while screaming obscenities and she’d look at the crowd—their eyes agape—and say, “I don’t know what your problem is.”
I don’t know if I’d be able to pull that off. It’s kind of like a fight; you don’t know how you’re going to behave until it happens. And my fight style is still unknown to me. The closest I ever came to getting into a fight was in sixth grade when a girl at the mall pushed me into a rack of clothing because I told her to stop making fun of my cousin, who was dressed like Madonna. I believe I ran—and I’ll probably do the same when Junior turns into Emily Rose.
But back Stop & Shop. Junior and I were putting our 20 pints of strawberries on the conveyor belt when The Screamer pulled up behind us. I turned and got a good look. The Screamer was sharing a cart with her toddler brother, who was trying to pat her on the head but really was pulling her hair. A cute little mom was at the wheel. A cute little mom with bags under her eyes. And nutso hair. And a wrinkled shirt.
The little girl looked at the rack of shiny candy bars and wailed, “I WAAAANT A CAAAAAAANDY BAAAAAAR.” Sob. Wail. Sob. Wail. “I WAAAANT A CAAAAAAANDY BAAAAAAR.”
My initial thought was Nooooooooooooo, why me? Junior looked like he was watching a fleet of technicolor dolphins shoot across the sky and sprinkle the moon with fucking leprechauns. He was mesmerized. The mom looked at me and said, “She’s having a rough day.”
I was about to say, "No shit" when she said, “I got in line behind you because I knew you’d understand.”
Aww. I nodded and smiled like a sap.
On the ride home, every time I thought of her saying that I got all choked up. I did understand, and I was flattered she saw me as a safe refuge. Usually people think I'm a bitch (I don't know why, but I always forget to smile in public). The woman needed a break. We all need a break. More booze and more breaks!
Another thought I had on the ride home? When Junior has his first major meltdown I am totally scouring the town for her. She owes me a new eardrum.