But, a few days ago I boarded a plane with my three children and husband and left all that peace in Indiana for the next time I come. Of course it is always nice to get back to my own house and my own stuff, and even the kids were excited enough to have their toys to play with that I barely had to speak to them for the first three hours after they woke up the first morning home. It seemed as if a little trickle of wonderful had snuck into our suitcase and come home with us...but apparently the trickle did not want to go to the grocery store.
I knew going into the store that this might be a tough trip. Cole refused to nap and was exhausted from our trip back. Stella was due to eat about 45 minutes from the time we walked in the store (would definitely not be happening when she wanted.) Aiden had been unable to let Cole make a move without his instruction all day, which always leads to trouble. I figured since we only had fish sticks and chicken nuggets in the house I better suck it up and make the trip...bad move.
After strapping Stella to me in the Bjorn, and unfortunately violently waking her in the process, I got the boys in one of the fantastically horrible car carts that give the kids joy for about 5 minutes, but cause me torture for the entire trip. I quickly realized that mine had a jacked up wheel, as if something were caught under it (not that I could bend over and check with a child strapped to me) and preventing it from actually turning....of course it did.
As we arrived at the deli, things went south....no....shit hit the fan is a better description. Cole was attempting to strap himself in, but was not doing so quickly enough so Aiden decided he better step in and help. Cole did not want help, Aiden insisted, Cole leaned over and bit Aiden right above his right nipple with all the force he could muster....seriously, shit hitting the fan.
Aiden is a straight up wimp with pain and I am pretty sure this actually really hurt. He screamed, and screamed, and screamed, and hit Cole. Cole screamed, and screamed, and then asked for chocolate milk. I got Aiden out of the cart, which made Stella start screaming, and caused Cole to request to walk beside the cart also. I of course calmly and patiently explained (I mean, there were at least 6 people staring at me so I couldn't freak out too, one of them was holding a large slab of peppered turkey that he could have hurt me with) to Cole that he had hurt his brother and was not allowed out of the cart. A large man with a pick in his hair smiled at me and told me that I had my hands full. I wanted to take his pick out and chuck it across the store. Cole thrashed and screamed, hitting his lip on the fake and irrationally small steering wheel of our cart, which only made him more joyful. I proceeded on to produce.
While in the produce section I apparently picked up plantains instead of bananas and more zucchini than one family should eat in a month. Cole continued to screamed. Aiden smiled and hugged me, loving the fact that Cole was causing this much trouble. Aiden also put asparagus, carrots and an irrational amount of tomatoes into my cart for kicks, and I purchased all of it. Two more people told me that I really had my hands full, which was super helpful. I plastered on a huge smile and pretended to be in control of the situation.
Mid-way through the store, Cole was still screaming and Stella had joined him. I was attempting to hurry and avoid any people from the deli or produce area so as to spread the torture around to the other shoppers. I'm pretty sure everyone could hear Cole anyway though, he is very loud. I received three more "you've got your hands full" comments and several stares of disbelief. I wanted to cry but continued that crazy smile.
In the dairy section things took a turn for the worse, seriously, it got worse. A very kind, older man tried to talk to Cole. He tried to distract him and be funny, Aiden loved him....apparently Cole did not. Cole had been playing with his shoes while screaming and actually took one and threw it at this nice man. Screw the fake smile, I cried. The man was extremely nice about it and even laughed but I was horrified. This went beyond my child throwing a tantrum. Horrible, horrible, horrible. We proceeded to the checkout.
Lucky for that nice man we were right behind him in the checkout line. (He even asked me if I needed help getting them out of the store and everything into my car....I told him no, but really felt like getting his number so he could hang out with us, such a kind man.) And then one of my favorite things happened. An older woman at the next checkout lane started talking to Cole.
"Honey, what's wrong? Would you like a balloon? What color do you like? "
A balloon? Are you kidding me? Lady, this child has violently bitten his brother, screamed for the last 30 minutes straight and thrown a shoe at a perfectly nice stranger. What about that behavior deserves a balloon?
So, I tell her in as nice a voice as I can muster, "thanks for trying to help, but he isn't getting a balloon today. "
"Well honey, he needs something to calm him down. He's really upset. Don't you think you should give him something to get him to stop crying?"
Sure lady, if I wanted to be a crappier mom that is exactly what I should do. I just let my child scream for 30 minutes and embarrass me through the entire grocery store so that I could reward him with a fun token like a balloon. Now I felt more angry at this lady than I did at Cole.
I quickly got out of the store with $170 of random groceries, two crying children, and not even a hint of that trickle of wonderful. I was embarrassed, frustrated and exhausted. I cried the whole way home and tried to figure out how I was going to tell Alex that I am going to move back in with my parents. This violent shove back to reality was rough. I've seriously got to go look for that trickle of wonderful, it must be here somewhere.