Today I was that mom in the grocery store.
You know the one: the one who just wants to accomplish her shopping trip & get home in one piece. You will all recognize her: hair in a ponytail, clutching her crumpled list & desperately brandishing toy cars like weapons, "Here Grasshopper, don't you want to play with this little car?" waves frantically in toddler's face "Wouldn't that be so much more fun than trying to convince all of these nice people that your Mommy totally sucks?"
Alas, when it's your turn to be that mom, there is little you can do to stop it. Even when you realize that you should just hang on for the ride, you keep trying to forestall the inevitable. You try everything that you can think of to appease the wailing banshee taking over your child's body, all while trying to determine which is the better value on shredded cheese, the generic store brand or the name brand with the coupon.
I tried everything and I am here to tell you that the toddler did NOT want to play with his little car. He did NOT want to play with the free balloon fetched for him from the floral department. And he MOST CERTAINLY DID NOT want to stop screaming. Apparently what he DID want to do was hurl the contents of the cart like a miniature shot-putter.
Wham! goes the shaker of smoked paprika, oh thank GOD this aisle is deserted! Splat goes the package of neufchatel cheese! Thud goes a bag of key limes! Watches in horror as toddler contorts self and reaches for GLASS jar of marinara sauce.
I cut my losses and ran.
I tucked my proverbial tail between my legs and slunk out the front door of that store as well as any woman carrying a screaming two (but looks like he's four) year old can slink. I left the cart full of groceries (and probably a toy car or three) in the international foods aisle with neufchatel cheese and key limes on the floor. I don't know where the paprika ended up.
I always thought that when my turn came to be that mom I would be prepared. I was certain that I would remain calm and collected in the face of attempted toddler tyranny. I would do as the experts say and ignore the writhing, screaming child and continue doing what I came to the store to do. Failing that, I would carry the child to the car for a time-out until he could collect himself and we could reenter the store to cheers from admiring parents and non-parents everywhere.
This obviously is not what happened.
I hope that with each turn in the role of that mom I will gain insight, wisdom and confidence commiserate with the decibel level being achieved by my child. I hope that I will parent in the real world the way I do in my head. I hope that Grasshopper and I will both be better people for it.
In the meantime though, do they offer shot-put lessons for 2 year olds? I think I've got a natural!