Remember that old chestnut that the definition of insanity is doing something again and again expecting a different result? Well, please remind me of this the next time I make even the slightest noise about taking my two children to the grocery store. Pull up a syringe of Haldol and get ready to check me in because I have clearly lost my mind.
The kids were so well-behaved the other day that I thought, surely, how bad can it be to grocery shop with the two of them. I've got my coupons organized, my list neatly compiled, my big blue plastic Ikea bags ready to be filled to incapacitating weights in the name of good environmental stewardship. Well, let me just tell you that pride cometh before a fall, my friends.
I did find one of the special carts with the red benches and strapped the girls in side by side, but that is where my fantasy ended and cold, hard, unforgiving reality began seeping in.
We were not ten feet inside the door and Molly was already screaming "OW! OW!" and writhing about trying to escape her seat belt in between knocking giant armloads of deodorant to the floor when I inadvertently parked her too close while perusing the shampoo.
It deteriorated quickly.
By the dairy aisle, my formerly speech delayed child was shouting "CHEESE! CHEESE!" and sinking her teeth into the plastic wrap of a block of sharp cheddar. An entire eight ounce package of cracker-sized slices later, she was screaming bloody murder to be let out of the cart and Frankie was insisting she was big enough to push it. Never mind that with the extra bench attached it has the turning radius of an eighteen wheeler. Tell it to my shins; don't try to tell it to her.
While I tried to keep Molly from loading a half dozen Taco Bell dinner kits into the bottom of the cart, Frankie somehow managed to wind up in a different aisle, burst into tears of terror and insisted I carry her for the remainder of the shopping trip. Then while I tried vainly to procure some walnuts from the bulk food aisle with a thirty-pound three-year-old on one hip, I took my eyes off Molly long enough for her to wander to the candy bins, grab a fistful of Tootsie Roll suckers and begin chewing through the wrappers of several caramels. This only came to my attention because a deaf couple, whom we had been running into aisle after aisle, began wildly gesticulating and pointing frantically at her. Until this point, I had been secretly relieved that they were unable to hear the screaming, and only wished then that they were also visually impaired.
I will leave it to you to imagine what Molly's response was when I pried the suckers from her hands. Suffice it to say that when I ran into my friend Cathy in the next aisle, I asked her to stab me between the eyes.
I was glad that I hadn't read the news story about the man in Walmart who, so annoyed with a stranger's crying two-year-old, walked up and slapped her in the face four times. Instead, in the checkout aisle, a very nice black man turned to Molly, shook his head and said "Why you gotta be so bad?."