Today, while shopping for a gift, I let my son wander away from me. I mean, he's 5 now, rarely lets me out of his line of vision, and really, a baby registry printout requires 100% of my attention (there has to be a better way to match a registry to the items on the shelf rather than matching 187 teeny tiny product numbers, right?). Anyway, I hear him say, "This chair looks comfy... OOPS!" I turn around to find that he has flipped himself and the rocking chair ass over teakettle, and both are laying on the ground.
I scoop up child and chair, trying to figure out how to unleash my anger in a public setting, when some skinny teenage employee comes over and says, "Is there anything you need? Besides a babysitter?" Hello, anger. Meet acne-faced-probably-hasn't-even-kissed-a-girl-and-you're-judging-my parenting-abilites-teenager.
Oh, how everyday errands become mud-slinging, patience-testing marathons when you are a cool mom. Remember when you could run into the grocery store for some milk, and it took less then 3 minutes? Just the thought now makes me giddy with happiness. (21 year-old Me is dying to smack the crap out of Jaded Mom Me for shivering in pleasure about a solo trip to the grocery store.)
How about trying on a new pair of jeans? Doesn't feel so good when the teenage girl holding the dressing room key takes one look at you and your crying child in a behemoth stroller and says, "You probably need the special room, huh?" Oh, you sweet, clueless, gum-snapping babe (who no doubt still has full control of her bladder which is enough to make me hate her on a good day)... My life is a special room.
Last week while out and about at the craft store, I was rummaging through the non-obnoxious Christmas yard decor (nothing says "Birth of Our Savior" like a giant inflatable Santa globe, does it America?) when my son confronted me. At least, I think it was my son-- it was a tiny person covered in glitter, leaves, and fake snow. "Hey Mommy! See those Christmas trees over there? Well, I was IN them! Bet you couldn't find me!" Did he say he was IN a Christmas tree? Is that even possible? (Shout-out to employee Judy for not giving us a police escort out of the store. Thanks, Judy!)
After 5 years of shopping with a kiddo, I've learned this: have a sense of humor (and a bag of Dum-Dums. I swear by them. There is no problem that can't be solved by throwing suckers at it. I am aware, however, that in another year or two I will have to swap out suckers for twenty dollar bills.) But for now, when my son throws himself on the floor during a long wait in the checkout line, I shrug and tell the people who are shaking their heads at me, "He's fine. Just try not to run him over with your cart."