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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Grocery store drama

After the morning nap yesterday, I loaded Ben and Hugh into their double stroller and the three of us headed around the corner and down the street to the grocery store. I had a short list of items I needed to make a few pies and our Christmas ham. I purposely planned our shopping trip just before the noon rush would hit so that we would be in and out in no time.

Since these quick shopping trips are a common outing the three of us do together, I was confident that the boys would do just fine, like they always do. I was prepared with toys and blankets and crackers. Not two minutes down the first isle and Hugh was screaming, which then made Ben start crying very large tears, which then made Hugh cry harder, which then made Ben more upset - you get the picture. Usually Ben isn't bothered by Hugh when he cries, but for some reason they were feeding off of each other in a new way that I wasn't prepared for.

My attempts to calm them down weren't working. Nothing was working. I was about to abandon my little hand-held basket and make a beeline straight for home. But, I was determined to just get the few items I needed. So I pulled Hugh out and carried him in my right arm, balancing the basket on the stroller head cover thingy, and pushed the stroller with my left hand. I was totally okay with the arrangements because both boys immediately calmed right down... and that was all that mattered.

I got some interesting looks, a couple of double takes, and at least a dozen shoppers who muttered something along the lines of - you sure have your hands full. I was so focused on getting myself out of there that I didn't pay much attention to any of it. As I put the last item in my basket, I also buckled Hugh back into the stroller and headed for the check-out.

Everything was going just fine until I was waiting for my groceries to be bagged. Something set the boys off again and both were crying so loud I wasn't able to concentrate on anything except getting out of there. I started to leave as soon as I had the groceries loaded in the stroller, when the cashier lady stopped me. The transaction hadn't gone through yet because I forgot to push the "No" button for cash back. As the boys continued to scream, people in every direction were staring. I let out a bit of nervous laughter and avoided making eye contact with anyone.

Somehow over the screaming I overheard the woman behind me in line comment to the cashier - "that doesn't sound fun at all." The cashier handed me my receipt and out the door we went. Two steps out the door and both boys were suddenly calm again. I'm sure the fresh air helped, as well as the movement.

I laughed to myself the whole way home and filled Marc in on our adventure as soon as we got home. Our quick trips to the store have never turned out like that, so it came totally unexpectedly. I honestly wasn't bothered by the looks or the comments... it really must have been quite the sight. 

But I did find myself wishing people could see a true picture of these boys in a 24-hour period, rather than a brief ten minutes of uncharacteristic fussiness. Our days are filled with Ben's happy squeals while he scurries around his floor of toys, and Hugh's grunt-like giggle when he's being tickled. While I agree it isn't fun to have them both screaming at the same time, I'm just relieved that it very rarely happens. 

But, even if it did, I would still take these two boys at their very worst over those lonely days with empty arms. I've been remembering past Christmas events that pierced my heart with pain and sadness, and feeling overwhelmed with gratitude this year for our two greatest blessings.

Marc is feeling it, too. The other night as I was wrapping presents and Marc was filling out the gift tags, I handed Marc Ben's first gift and said "this one goes to Ben, from Mom and Dad." He couldn't seem to resist asking me to repeat it one more time. 

We feel so blessed and so grateful for our happy, healthy, and screaming boys.

But, I think I might just go grocery shopping alone from now on.


Karilyn said...

Oh, do I remember those days!! There was one time (it lasted for about six years) when I had to use THREE shopping carts: one for the two babies, which was pushed by their oldest (she was 12) sister; one for the two toddlers (which was pushed by myself to keep them from climbing out), one for the groceries (which was pushed by my oldest son - who was 11), and my 9-year-old would do the "getting-it-off-the-shelves-and-into-the-cart" thing.

Too often, the comments would come, and every once in awhile, the oldest (12~) would proudly proclaim to the worst of the commentors: "Yes, they ARE all my mom's!"

*shaking my head*

How quickly time flies - now the two toddlers are 6-feet tall, and the youngest son (17) is 6-foot-4 inches -- Mom is now considered SHORT. :-)

Enjoy, and thanks for sharing!

Merry Merry Christmas,

Mandi said...

I love it! It's all to easy to picture - probably because I've been there: two crying, fussing babies! And you're right - motherhood is a package deal, you get the good and the bad, the challenging and the fun times; and it's all good. But I wish I could've been there with you to help out (not that you need it, but that I'd like to be there too!). Hope your Christmas is awesome!

Kelly said...

You're so good at writing about your experiences and bringing them so visually to my mind. I always hate it when people say derogatory things about being a mother when I'm having one of *those* days. I am always glad to have the kids - even on the bad days!