Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Why did I Risk it?

"Risk what?" you're supposed to be asking yourselves right now.

Risk climbing Mt. Everest blindfolded with one hand tied behind my back? Nope.

Risk dog paddling across the English Channel with 30lb weights secured to my ankles? Nope.

My feat was much riskier than those two scenarios combined. I risked squeezing in one more errand with the kiddos that precariously entered the 15 minute window prior to nap.

And I am blaming it on the media. I am considering taking them to small claims court to see if I can possibly win some reparations for my mental anguish.

I was feeling rather good about my day. I was able to blow off the fact that David fixed some drinks for the girls this morning before he left for work that were filled to the brim with KOOL-AID.

And I didn't blink an eye when Drue crawled up right next to me with 2 year old morning breath and whispered, "Mommy, what do my teeth smell like?".

We went to the dry cleaners and the grocery store without incident. Reese was my little helper and Drue and Tate both sat contentedly 85% of the trip in the cart. (Tate got a little bored and amused himself by turning around and pulling Drue's hair with all his might.)

Got home. Fixed lunch. Set out all my ingredients for supper in a neat little arrangement on the counter. And got to work preparing the dessert for tonight. Stawberry pie.

The recipe calls for frozen strawberries so I set the container in the sink to thaw. When I opened the lid to check their progress, the plastic seal underneath the lid was flapping open on one side.

You have got to me kidding me. A few years ago I would have thought nothing of the opened seal. I would have ripped the rest off and cheerfully dumped the strawberries in my bowl. But as I looked in disbelief at the opened seal, all the food recalls that are reported on the news every other blessed day ran through my head, along with thoughts of botulism, e coli, and every other imaginable calamity that could befall my youngsters if they ate the theoretically tainted berries.

I really wanted to go ahead with the dessert if for no other reason than to hear David rave about what a fantastic little homemaker I am. I made up my mind to take them back to the store for an exchange. I looked at the clock...12:05. I looked at the kids...eyes starting to glaze over yet still had enough energy to be running through the living room.

"We can do this!" I shouted and off we went.

I went straight to the customer service desk and waited for a minute until our turn came. I explained our unfortunate situation and the lady directed me to go grab another container. "Do I need to bring it back up here?" I asked.

She looked uncertain. She looked over at the Exit door and I could tell in her mind she was thinking, "That container won't set off the alarm but I can't tell that to this lady or she may make a habit of shoplifting frozen strawberries from us."

"Ummm...just go ahead and bring it back up here so I can get you a sack," she stammered.

Whatever. Our errand was almost complete, my dessert would be made on time, I was flying high.

We got our new container, opened the lid to make sure it was botulism safe, and headed back up to the counter. Of course, there were other people waiting by this time. Reese flung the berries up on the end of the counter where no one was standing and I explained to her that we had to wait our turn again. "But we were just up here," she said. I explained that we left and came back and needed to wait for the other people to be helped.

Waiting skills is not something God chose to bestow upon children, however. First they tried to hang off the counter like it was monkey bars. Then they started walking around and around in circles around me. This actually worked well, because it kept Tate entertained. He was laughing hysterically and people were getting a kick out of listening to him. I was starting to get a little nervous at this time, however, because at first, his laugh sounds like a cry. So I know people were starting to stare because they thought he was crying initially.

Which he eventually did start doing. He wanted to join in the fun and walk around in circles himself so he tried to dive out of my arms onto the tile floor. My Mommy-Grip-of-Death held him upright for a few moments longer. And that is when the errand completely and utterly fell apart and will forever be filed under "Errands from Hades" in my psyche.

Tate started crying and protesting and wouldn't stop. Drue continued to walk in circles around me and I believe Reese started singing something, it all started to blur. I could sense the bystanders all around me turning to look and wonder why I couldn't keep my kids under control. And that made me furious to think about.
Correction: Everyone except the lady behind the counter turned to look. She had no clue we were standing there JUST WAITING FOR A BAG!

I cannot stand being the center of attention and especially when it is the direct result of one of my temper tantrum throwing children in public. I was tempted to just toss him into the next cart that passed by and hope the customer didn't notice right away.

My frustration started in my toes and when it had worked its' way quickly upwards until I was sure my head would explode, I grabbed the strawberries and said to the kids, "Come on. We are leaving and I don't care if we set off the alarm or not!".

Reese followed obediently, Tate was now under my arm like an oversized sack of flour still crying and kicking his little legs, and for some reason, still unbeknownst to us, Drue burst out into tears also. Folks, she is a L-O-U-D crier. More people turned to look. My face was burning.

We were 5 feet from freedom. And then it happened. One of Drue's flip flops fell off and she tumbled to the ground. You would have thought she had broken both legs in the process. But she didn't elicit her "hurt" cry, I could tell it was still just her "who knows what set her off" cry. Only progressively louder than it had been a minute before.

One of the cashiers turned around and just stared at our spectacle. It can take up to 10 solid minutes for Drue to calm herself down enough to stick her foot back into her flip flop correctly and I couldn't let go of Tate to help speed the process along. I made a split second decision and quickly reached down and snatched the flip flop off the ground, grabbed Drue's hand and bolted toward the door, bracing myself for the fit to escalate. Which it did. At least my kids are predictable.

She cried all the way to the van and I could tell people in the parking lot were debating on calling the police to report a kidnapping. Reese lectured me all the way home about my actions. And rightly so. But I can't wait to pull out these stories one day and present them to her after she's had a particularly frustrating encounter with her little ones someday.

And for the record...everyone in our household will eat a piece of pie tonight and they will like it and they will take turns telling me it's the best piece of pie they've ever had!


David said...

It was REALLY GREAT pie. We all ate it gratefully and appreciated all the effort that went in to it. You're a HERO. LOVE--

Margo said...

You're the best! Seriously, I just love your stories! This is so funny!! And that Reese really is one to put you in your place often, isn't she? LOL! Hey, can you email me that recipe?

Kristen said...

Yes, Reese is my little conscience. :)

I'll send that recipe your way...

Margo said...

Thanks! I haven't tried it yet, but I'll be sure to let you know how we like it. :-)

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