Today I joined a club I'd hoped I'd live to never, ever join. Yet, as I stood in the aisle of our local Albertsons, feeling testy, I heard myself say it: "Casey, I'm going to count to three, and if you don't get over here by the time I get to three, we will just leave. One . . . Two . . . Three. " Then complete panic.
Of course I left. I toted Marcie over to the front end manager, who I am confident recognized me. I explained that one of my kids was being difficult and that I'd left my half filled cart next to the grapes. I failed to mention that I lived less than five minutes away and that I'd be back momentarily to finish the shopping. Fortunately, he read my mind. Because after I deposited Casey into his bedroom in a five minute time out and reminded him that I placed him there, not his dad, I returned to the grocery store. Where my cart was still parked right next to the grapes, where I'd left it.
Today's supermarket meltdown was not entirely Casey's fault, of course. A series of mistakes led to it. But it was mostly his fault. Here's how the day went:
1:00 pm the kids went down for a nap after kissing Aunt Megan, Uncle Timour and Grandma good-bye and thanking them for their visit.
1:05 pm Megan, my mom and I headed to Target to get some shoes. While there, I saw some shoes I knew Marcie wanted, so I picked them off the shelf to purchase for her. But at the check stand, my mom insisted she pay. And who was I to argue.
Fast-forward to 3:00 pm, when I woke up both kids from their naps. In an attempt to give Marcie some special attention because Casey is always getting stuff, I made mistake #1:
Me: Marcie, look at these special shoes Grandma bought for you. Let's try them on and make sure they fit.
Casey: What did Grandma get for me? Did she get me shoes?
Me: Uh. . . well, Casey, Grandma knows you have lots of shoes and she didn't want to pick out something you already had or wouldn't like, so she asked me to go get some shoe with you from her. Would you like to do that?
Now what was I thinking? Why did I ever mention my mom paid for them? Why promise Casey shoes anyway? But the damage had been done because Casey knew after his snack that we were going to pick out some more new shoes for him.
Then it happened. Mistake #2:
Me: Okay, Casey, let' s go see what Target has.
Casey: I want N shoes.
Me: What are N shoes?
Casey: N SHOES, MOMMY.
Jason: But what are they, Casey?
Casey: I told you already. They are N shoes.
Me: Do they have them at Target? Can you show us?
Casey nods his head yes.
WHY didn't I insist he show me on the computer or on TV before we headed to Target? Why didn't I insist that he had to pick from the Target selection no matter what before we'd even left the house?
Well, I didn't. So off to Target we went. And they didn't have the N shoes he wanted, whatever those are. And then came Mistake #3-- going to a different shoe store.
And while at the different shoe store, we found shoes with an N on them (New Balance), but I could tell it wasn't what Casey wanted. And as the minutes passed, poor Casey grew more and more desperate to find shoes-- any shoes. He just didn't want to leave empty-handed. Why didn't I see that coming?
[And as a side note, we had a weird interaction with the sales woman in the shoe store-- who first saw me with Marcie, pleasantly let me and the kids know she could help us if we needed anything, and then noticed Jason come up behind me. She commented to us: "Oh, now I see where she gets it. Wow. She looks JUST like her dad, doesn't she? That's amazing! I have four kids and two of mine look just like me and two look just like my husband. It's the same." We didn't say anything. We just smiled. Because we didn't quite know what else to do. I mean, she sounded relieved and that made me feel uncomfortable because what does she care if we all "match" or not.]
And finally came Mistake #4. After we returned home, which we were able to do only because we practically dragged a sobbing Casey out of the shoe store, I told Casey he could stay home with Jason or come grocery shopping with me. Both Casey and Marcie opted for the grocery store. But once we pulled into a parking spot at the store, Casey began to whimper that he'd wanted to go to a different shoe store. I explained that we'd have to wait on the shoes, but that he could help me put stuff in the grocery cart.
Of course the shopping wasn't enough to occupy Casey. He took control of the cart when my back was to him, pulling something off a shelf, and he rammed the cart (and consequently Marcie's hand) into the shelf. I was fuming. Marcie was wailing. And Casey was running. When I finally caught up to him and put him in a time-out near sitting on the shelf beneath all the gift cards, he began pulling cards off their little racks. An elderly man walked by and commented to Casey, "Mind your mother," which caused Casey to spit at me. And things just went down hill from there.
So in the end, the shopping got done, Casey got over his disappointment, and things have calmed down. As I type this, Casey is hanging over the arm of the chair in which I'm sitting. He just leaned in to me and said, "I'm sorry for pushing Marcie and hurting her at the store." And he gave me a kiss. And he just asked me what I'm doing because he's recognized his name twice and Marcie's, too, and he wants to know why I'm typing letters that are their names. It sure is hard to stay mad for long around here. . .