Wednesday, October 18, 2006


We had a morning "out" today. On the way to the counseling appointment, we sat in traffic behind a three car accident, thereby ending up about half an hour late, instead of the few minutes late we would have otherwise been. The kids did math, K did reading and phonics while we waited. Following our time in the professional building, we progressed to Target. As we were pulling in, the kids were listening to a history CD, so I finished up my phone conversation with a friend. Things began to fall apart.

Realizing that I was on the phone, the previously perfectly behaved children lost focus and began to "play fight." This means that the olders have instigated something with the youngers (names omitted to protect the people who should know better) and are now highly amused at the tremendous force the youngers are putting into ineffectual attempts at retaliation. This infuriates the youngers who then redouble their efforts, and eventually they manage to injure the olders who know that if they lay a finger on those little ones, mother will transform like a scary cartoon character and become a seething ten-story, laser-eyed monster o' righteousness and when this happens, all bets are off, no sensitivities are considered. ROWR!!

At precisely the point where I was ready to issue the warning that they had better not speak another word to each other until we all had something nice to talk about, Q, sitting in his car seat, pooped through his clothes and provided a delightful distraction. Saved by the dirty pants. And shirt.

Q is now tired and ready to drop, having been super cute and chatty throughout the morning's appointments, but must have clean diaper and clothes before sleeping. He's usually quite affable even under otherwise difficult circumstances, but he doesn't enjoy having his clothes changed and when he wants to sleep, it's really best to let him. Have I mentioned also that he's teething? Yeah. So I'm now wrestling the cranky infant out of (breastmilk) poop covered onesie and pants, trying not to wear too very much of it myself. He's crying louder and louder. The kids decide now would be the time to hop out and impress the world with their ability to dance in the parking lot (girls) and use the cart return spot as a jungle gym/bird spotting tower (G). Why? Because apparently, yes, they are new here. No one told them the rules (ha). Because Q screaming isn't enough. No, we need the presence of four children behaving like monkeys in order to properly attract the attention of everyone at what must certainly be the world's busiest Target store.

I roll my eyes.

Some Target patrons shoot sympathetic glances as they rush by, some shoot daggers. I holler, over Q's escalating complaints, for the girls to get back up here by the door, no you may not dance at the back end of the van, because this is a parking lot, that's why, cars drive here just like they do in every parking lot, no you cannot count on the smart grown-ups driving the cars to see you even if you are right next to the bumper, no, not even if you are touching the bumper and only wiggling your feet. Yes, I'm sure that plenty of people are quite impressed with your wanting to hug and kiss each other like sisters should, but it's not appropriate here. And get off the cart catcher. Because you are a boy, not a monkey, that's why. Would you please go get the stroller out and set it up so Q can take a nap? Thanks.

I shoot Mylanta into Q's mouth, having by now dressed the cranky little screeching octopus, Desitined the bottom, cleaned myself up. I drop Hyland's teething tablets into his mouth, wrap him in his jacket, zip it, snuggle the blankie around him like a little burrito and bounce him to settle him down. I could swear I've seen that woman over there at least eleven times and I've been busy. She's just circling, waiting to see if I deck one of the kids (not an option, lady, even now) or if one manages to escape so she can call authorities. Perhaps I'm a tetch paranoid. It's possible that she was merely returning her cart all the way inside the store thereby passing by several times in order to avoid having to interact with our little menagerie.

At my request, K and E got my purse out of the van (bounce, bounce) before anyone could accidentally lock the keys in (bounce, bounce) and managed to pick up the diapers that popped like eager corn from the diaper bag (bounce, bounce) as they were moving it from front seat to stroller. The children then fell in line behind me. I was carrying the bouncing Q, who seemed to be losing his enthusiasm for loudly emoting. Indeed, by the time we reached the inside cart area, he was out hard. (I owe those people at Hyland's my sanity, let me tell ya.) I laid him carefully into the stroller, making a dark cocoon with my coat and we proceeded on to get a little lunch. (This Target serves cheap Margherita pizza, among other things.)

Deep breath.

I parked the stroller in a little stroller-shaped niche and got the kids at one table next to it (no, you may not go wander through the "Boo-levard" looking at Halloween stuff, you will sit quietly and wait for your food, stop shaking the table, no, stop right now, don't bounce your knees under there either, thanks, now look around, use your brilliant minds to occupy yourselves while I go get food) and went six steps off to order. As I was waiting (and the kids were giggling, talking, observing the security cameras and waving benignly to them), a very tall, very leggy person dressed in high-end running gear (you know, as if she had actually been running in order to get and keep those legs) came up to get her order of tacos. She gracefully maneuvered her cart toward the counter and snagged her bag while keeping careful rein on her own three year old monkey who seemed intent on exiting the basket in the least graceful manner possible. As she did so, she turned toward me with a dazzling smile and said, "Excuse me, do you have a homeschool?"

(Oh please, please don't ask me that question today. Any other day, but not today. Did you see us in the parking lot? I don't despair easily--these moments are just that, moments, and they pass like anything else, but you must have seen us not at our, ahem, best?)

I cocked my head, smiled a brilliant and sincere smile back, and said, "Yes, I do."

"I thought so. Your children are just darling."

Uh. Smile. Blink. "Thank you."

"Just darling."

And she was off.

Huh. I wonder how she knew. Maybe it was the shoes. Heh.

(P.S. Q slept two hours as we dawdled around the store. We got all that we'd gone for--except more teething tablets.)


Anonymous said...

Carrie, I just admire you. I check your blog often to keep up with your life and its events. You have such a great attitude even in the depths of the trials you face.



erin said...

All I can say is it must take a lot of chocolate to survive a day like that!
Keep on keepin' on :-)
you're doing a great job.

Old Dominion Heather said...

My oldest once coated himself, his clothes and the carseat cover with breast milk poop. He had been constipated and this was his moment to let loose. It was so bad. I had no change of clothes and no blanket. It was summer. I was ill-prepared. I stripped him down, changed him and threw his clothes and the car seat cover in a dumpster. He rode home naked in a no-cover car seat. I figured he had to have gotten it all out.