Why I’m Laughing With (At?!) My Fellow Moms

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The next time your child is pitching a fit in public, I want you to pull your eyes away from the action and look at the crowd–you know the one that’s watching. Look for the woman with the big grin, maybe a few chuckles. Maybe she’s even bent over, pointing, and howling through laughter-filled tears.

Yes, that’s me.

I know you just called me a bitch. It’s OK.

See, I can laugh because I’ve been there before. Sure, my kids are older now and very rarely pitch fits. The most stressful part of a store outing is the demand for PopTarts. These days I can solve that with a hissed threat.

But I used to be you.

Long ago, when the twins were younger, we went to the grocery store. I’m barreling through the store–because I absolutely, positively, detest grocery shopping. Then comes the back poke.

A little old lady is glaring at me. “They’re fighting! They’re hitting each other! You need to put a stop to this!”

After reassuring her that I will, I wait for her to turn the corner and then smack both twins upside the head–I could still reach their heads back then. After that, we shopped with them in front of the cart and avoided another repeat of the frozen food aisle hitting incident.

Fast forward a few years. Aaron has just come to live with us and we are shopping. (It now occurs to me that having family-wide shopping trips are a really really bad idea.) Here comes the back poke.

(I learned a lesson then. I respond to any back poke by swinging around with my elbow out and lifted, prepared to catch anyone standing too close in the sternum.)

It’s an old lady (is this the next step for me?!). She clasps her purse in front of her stomach and doesn’t take her glaring gaze away from Aaron.

“He. Hit. Me.” Her lips curl as she snarled the words, her gaze still locked on the shopping cart encased toddler.

“Oh!” I laugh and begin to reassure her, “I’m sure he was just saying hi!”

“No,” she shook her head and whispered dramatically, “he meant it.” Still, her glaring eyes are locked on Aaron’s cherubic face, as if she’s afraid that looking away will cause him to sense her fear, sending him from the cart and latching on to her bared throat with his werewolf teeth.

Jim and I looked from the irate lady to Aaron, dumbfounded. He had no verbal skills. He had previously lived with an old lady who was rather neglectful. Maybe he did hate little old ladies.

So, as you can see, I have been there. Done that. I feel your pain. But it also amuses the hell out of me that someone else is experiencing the same damn thing.

Trust me, the day will come when you’re sitting in a restaurant with a screaming child at the next table, you will look at your almost-behaved kids, and you will grin. Then will come the laughter–some of it hysterical–when you realize you have left that stage behind!

2 thoughts on “Why I’m Laughing With (At?!) My Fellow Moms

  1. Hahaha! My daughter thew terrible tantrums in stores. Most of them because of me trying to keep her from getting hurt. From the time we walked into the grocery store until we left, there was nothing but screaming. At that time our little town had one decent grocery store so we became very well known. She was so horrible that when I would hold her hand to cross the parking lot, I would have to use TWO hands to hold her one. You see she had this habit of throwing herself backwards as hard as she could to break free of my grasp. Without using two hands, she would have been successful. It got so bad when she began refusing to ride in a shopping cart, when she learned how to walk before a year old, that I began using a baby back pack for our shopping trips. There was still much screaming, in my ear, but at least there was less worry about her injuring herself.

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