Thursday, November 24, 2011

From 2004: The First Snowfall of the Winter Happens Before the Beach Umbrellas Are Put Away

I rarely take all my kids shopping.

I was reminded the other day why.

Just with that line I can see some of you writing your own columns in your head. Go ahead, it will probably be funnier than mine.

It was the Saturday of the first snowfall. I decided that it would be a good idea to take the kids shopping for winter things.

Do you have any idea how many pairs of gloves I buy? You would think I was buying for octopuses or something, because it seems that every year I have to buy several pairs for each child and several pairs for me. Not all at once mind you.

“Okay, here’s your gloves. These are YOUR gloves. Do not LOSE them. These are MY gloves. Do not WEAR them. If you lose your gloves I will not buy you more gloves and your fingers will freeze and fall off, and then your hands will freeze and fall off and then you won’t be able to hit your brother/sister anymore, and you will have to steal all my pens using your teeth.”

And so the day following the first glove useal, someone announces to me “Mom, I lost my gloves, can I borrow yours?”

And knowing that if my kids fingers freeze and fall off, I will have the school upset because my child will have to write his/her school work with his/her teeth and end up slobbering al over it, and then Social Services will come and take the children away, I allow the glove loser to wear my gloves.

Which they promptly lose.

And of course it will be the day when I have to go out to the car and sweep snow and ice off my car with my bare hands because someone decided to use the snow brush for something that snow brushes aren’t used for and they will have lost it.

If my fingers freeze and fall off, no one cares because that’s what mothers do for their children.

Anyway, we went out shopping that Saturday.

Turns out, everyone in the city was at Value Village and Walmart that day. You would think it was the Saturday before Christmas.

Now, I’m one of those rare folk who are fine in FRONT of crowds. If you put me up on stage, I will not lose my lunch, become speechless or paralyzed, or forget my name. In fact, I enjoy being up in front of crowds.

I do not like being IN crowds.

So while my children are pulling on my six arms demanding things and telling me to look over there and fighting over who gets what and who needs what and who’s turn it is to get what, I am also being pushed around by crowds who want to get somewhere while I’m stuck behind people who won’t let me get anywhere and it’s everything I can do to not suddenly stop in the middle of the store and scream.

It’s a wonder I haven’t seen this happen yet with anyone.

It will one day you know. Some poor mother is going to stop in the middle of Walmart, scream, “Stop this merry-go-round! I want to get off! And then curl up in a ball on the floor sucking her thumb.

I thought I was alone in this. A few days later I talked to some friends and found out we all feel this way.

“They need to have an express lane for panic attacks,” Mira said (all names have been changed to protect the guilty), “that way you don’t have to leave everything when you run screaming from the store.”

“You know how they have those signs asking you to leave knapsacks and suitcases at the customer sevice desk when you come in,” Gloria said, “well they need to have duct tape at the front doors with instructions that no child may enter without their mouths being taped up first.”

“Yes, that way none of us will be singled out and pointed at for being abusive mothers when we do it,” Trudy said. We all nodded in agreement.

“You know in some stores they have those taste testing stands…” Hazel said.

“Do I,” said Gloria, “I had to wrestle my kid away from those things just the other day. He thought he could eat lunch there.”

“Well they should have Prozac stands,” Hazel said.

“Then they would have to wrestle me away from them,” Gloria said.

So the next time you’re all out there, keep an eye out for those mothers. Our eyes are glazed over and we are smiling.

Always watch out for smiling moms. It’s a dangerous thing.


Note: While searching for a picture to go with this story I googled in "shopping with kids clip art". All I got was pictures of happy shoppers. Obviously the artists who create these images have never been shopping with kids. Or, they were warned by merchants that if they conveyed the truth they would get cement shoes and a chance to go swimming while wearing chains.


Natasha said...

It's always wise to have extra gloves and mittens.

This was the best part, in my opinion: "Okay, here’s your gloves. These are YOUR gloves. Do not LOSE them. These are MY gloves. Do not WEAR them." I could hear you saying that.