Go to fullsize imageI know that everyone has embarrassing children stories. I thought I would share one of ours since having our third.

Since Zack was at preschool and I only had 2 little ones in the car with me, I decided to stop in at Kohls to buy some dishes we needed that were on sale. What I didn’t have in the carwas our double stroller. “No problem,” I thought, “I have the single stroller for the baby and my sweet little Anson can walk with me.” I didn’t know how mistaken I was.

I entered the store with my stroller and tot in tow, and headed for the dishware section. As we started browsing the aisles of reachable, breakable, and brightly colored dishware, the baby started crying. Not just a little cry but an all out, I am hungry and want milk now cry. “No big deal,” I said to myself, “This will just take a minute.” Again, how mistaken I was.

While I am tending to the screaming infant, my “well behaved” toddler takes off down the aisle of dishware. I try to casually pursue him while pushing a stroller and holding a pacifier in the babies mouth. I know things are getting frantic and out of control when I hear my little angel shouting “pretty” and then see a large mug quickly thrown to the floor. Thank the Lord, this section is carpeted! Of course, by the time I can catch up with him, rooster plates have gone sailing with a gleeful “cocka-doodle-doo” and serving plates have been proudly restacked on the floor and in the next section. I notice a Kohls employee is now following us at a non-threatening distance with a deeply concerned look on her face.

I throw my couple items into the basket under the stroller, grab my toddler under one arm, try to hold the pacifier in the mouth of an infant who is beside herself, and head for the check out. The Kohls employee is still on my tail. I can’t shake her at this speed. I turn to the counters where the cashiers stand. My worst nightmare continues. One cashier is manning the checkout and a line of about 6-8 customers. Beads of sweat appear on my forhead. I think, “I can do this. I will not kill or leave my young in this store. I am a calm mom who has everything under control. If I act as if nothing is happening, no one will notice.”

There are cool toys near the checkout. The protesting, range free toddler is briefly distracted. I have a moment where I can take the screaming parasite out of my stroller to try and comfort her. For a moment there is silence. Enough time for the elderly lady in front of me to tell me a story about how she drove to Ohio to see her new grandchild. She hadn’t talked to her daughter in 5 years but wanted to see her first grandchild. This poor lady begins to choke up as she tells that she arrived only to be able to see her first grandchild from across the room. She never got to hold him because her daughter wouldn’t allow it before she was asked to leave. She is in tears, her voice is cracking, my baby begins to cry along, and I start to have sweat rings on my shirt. I try to be sympathetic as I give my tot the evil eye. “Be good. Stay by me.” That was what he was supposed to be gathering from the look. The sobbing old lady checks out. I am next in line. The ordeal is almost over. Almost…

I begin to put my items on the counter. Not an easy task as I have a screaming child in my arms and a toddler to watch. I am still trying the “never let them see you sweat” approach. “I’m cool. I’m cool” is my mantra. Until, damn it, my wonderful mobile child starts running. Down the aisle of vacuums I see him go. I swear he is laughing at me now. There are 6 people behind me in line and one annoyed cashier waiting for me to pay. What do I do? What do I do?

I put the screaming, red faced, inconsolable newborn in the stroller, tell the cashier I will be right back and run into the vacuums. My child suddenly disappears. I start calling his name. “Where are you? Where are you?”, I shout nonchalantly. Remember, I am still trying to be the casual cool mom who has got it all together. My sweat rings are now sweat rivers. After a minute of searching, I hear “Here I am!!” in my sweet little innocent childs voice. He had crawled up a shelf, and had hidden behind some vacuum boxes. He must be part monkey. I literally pull him off the shelf by one arm and drag his limp noodle protesting body back to the checkout.

I give my money to the extremely pissed off cashier while once again I try to console a blood thirsty infant, keep a protesting toddler with wanderlust corralled, and still look like I have it all together. The cashier has the nerve (or the stupidity) to ask me if I have a different bill to pay with, she is short on change. I want to say “shove it up your ass and make some change” but say a very controlled “no” instead. I grab my bag, my stroller with the screaming baby, and put my toddler like a football under my arm with the sweaty pits. I am out of there trying to look something like the cool, calm, collected mom that I desparately want to be. As the door closes behind me, I can already hear the people talking and I am pretty sure it wasn’t about how cute my kids were.

I do wish to thank the 3 kindly elderly ladies who were in line behind me! They successfully kept my two year old in a small area while I handed over my cash. They called themselves the “mean grandmas” and formed a human fence with their arms and legs. I am not lying.