Today I took the children with me to Publix, which is really a story in and of itself, because I’d promised them something REALLY FUN that we ended up not being able to do for reasons out of my control [Dear Cool Activity Establishment, If your web site says “Drop-In Class” and that means it’s only for adults who’ve taken instruction before, rather than little kids who might want to try it out, you might want to PUT THAT ON THE WEB SITE rather than making me look like an ass. Just sayin’. Love, Mir], and apparently my idea of a consolation prize was to say “Well, we need orange juice, let’s just stop at the store on the way home.”
And this is why my children are in therapy.
NOT ONLY did I force them to the grocery store, I apparently took them to the ONLY Publix in the world without a water fountain, and of course I did so when Monkey had decided that the drought was affecting him personally. He was DYING. Of THE THIRST.
Have you ever speed-shopped with two children who are fighting over pushing the cart? I tried to lose them by hiding in a display of pita bread, but they kept finding me.
Anyway. I needed very few things, and so tried to move through the store as quickly as possible, all the time reassuring Monkey that we were nearly done, yes, we would go home and have ALL THE WATER HE WANTED, not to worry, just hang on a little bit longer, please.
We went to the deli for sandwich stuff, and the nice lady behind the counter asked if “my ladies” would like a slice of cheese. It took me a minute to realize she was not offering to feed my breasts. I thanked her and took the offered piece of cheese. I waited until she’d retreated, then turned to the kids. While I split the slice in half (and it had to be EXACT HALVES, you know, lest another argument break out), I said to the them, “So, would you LADIES like a piece of a cheese?”
Chickadee tittered while Monkey realized what had just happened.
“I’m NOT A LADY!” he growled.
“No, of course you’re not,” I giggled. “You can’t help being pretty, baby.” I ruffled his hair and he grumped his way along the next aisle, all the while listing off all of the men he could think of who have long hair, and NO ONE CALLS THEM LADIES. I’d finally calmed him down from that, and found the other items we needed, when he remembered that he was SO VERY THIRSTY and went back to whining about that.
So by the time we arrived in the checkout lane—having, in addition to the foregoing events, endured a spirited discussion of what kind of orange juice to buy, complained that I buy the wrong kind of juice boxes, and pointed out that I said we’d be leaving three aisles ago, back before I realized we also needed cream cheese—I was prepared for a full-scale meltdown.
Instead, Monkey suddenly became positively sanguine. He must’ve realized we were very close to leaving and this cheered him up. “After you pay, we’ll go home and I can have all the water I want,” he piped up from his position at my elbow. I agreed, and he continued, “I’ll probably drink a WHOLE BIG GLASS.”
“Okay, honey, that’s fine,” I told him.
The cashier smiled in his direction, and the bagger paused to chuckle.
“And then,” he continued on, oblivious to the two women whose attention he already had, “I think I will go upstairs to my room and play with my Snap Circuits for a while.”
I was busy digging out my wallet so that I could pay. “Okay, Monkey,” I said, only half listening.
“Well,” he said, then, all seriousness and deep consideration, “maybe I’d better not. I think I need parental supervision for that.”
Both the bagger and the cashier gave up all pretense of working, as they gasped and exclaimed over him and giggled.
Monkey ducked his head and did his best to hide in my armpit, at all this unexpected attention. A moment later he peeked out to reassess; confident that they weren’t laughing AT him, he stepped up to the counter and announced, “I’m a BOY, you know. My hair’s just sort of long.”
And then both girls spontaneously combusted, because I’m not exactly sure what to call whatever it is that Monkey oozes, but it’s extremely flammable.