Clean-up at checkout 4, please

By Mir
January 12, 2008

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.


  1. Colleen

    Isn’t shopping with children fun? I just got back from shopping with my 3 boys (one who is growing his hair long-ish so he can look different than his identical twin; kind of hard when one kid in school with them ran up, looked at them both, and said perfectly seriously “Do you guys know that you have the exact same face?”) Monkey sounded adorable in the checkout line. My boys love snap circuits also — keeps then entertained for hours building gadgets.

  2. Heather

    Haha ah, Monkey. Such a marvelous source of amusement and warm-heartedness. I love Colleen’s story too!

  3. Jamie AZ

    That is such a great story – wonderful Monkey! He’s going to be a charmer, that’s for sure!

  4. Donna

    Yes, I’ve gone shopping with two kids. One is two and a half, there other barely six months. Fun. What’s funner is the ride, nearly 45 minutes. One way. Oh,the sacrifices of living in the country.

  5. All Adither

    The boy has charisma.

  6. Karen Sugarpants

    “It took me a minute to realize she was not offering to feed my breasts.”
    Oh that is priceless. How cute is he?

  7. Flea

    Have you ever considered using that charm and charisma to get discounts? Just sayin’. There’s gotta be a way.

  8. Lady M

    Oh boy, oh boy, all boy.

    Can I play Snap Circuits too?

  9. Cassie

    Um, watch out. He’s a ladies man in training!!! He’ll probably be that really sensitive guy that goes around breaking hearts. :)

    BTW – What is snap circuits, and where can I find it? Just the name sounds cool.

  10. LuAnn

    I’m not sure I would’ve been able to hold it in, either. Hope it broke up some of the preceding tension for you. :)

  11. steph

    Snap Circuits rock! my son got them for christmas too and he’s been having a blast with them!

  12. Z

    I just love the end to that story :)

    As for Monkey being recognized as a girl – when we were children, my sister went through a phase where she had really, really short hair, and thus looked like a boy. And her name is one of those that, while usually a girl’s, could also be a boy’s. So my mom? Spent nearly a year with two sons and one daughter, instead of one son and two daughters. And she couldn’t even use the tactic of saying my sister’s name really loudly to let people know they had the gender wrong… (But now? My sis is the girliest of girls you could imagine)

  13. carson

    Your blog is like a peek into the future for me. My son winked and gave a “How YOU doin'” grin, a la Joey from Friends at the age of 6 months.

    And if I go to the store with two kids, every type of birth control they stock flies off the shelves as people scramble to make sure they don’t become me.

    By myself? It’s a vacation.

  14. jennielynn

    Oh my lord, you mean it doesn’t get better when they get older? I was counting on that!!!!

  15. D

    You’re gonna be writing an activity centre and I’m going to be writing Toyota. At the car show they had this “outdoor 4×4 truck” experience – can you say TOTAL BOY MAGNET? So, it says kids get a prize and inside at Toyota’s booth we were told “oh, yeah, as long as you have a valid license you and your son can do it.” Uh – screech – nope. As long as your child is 8 years old *and* 57″ he can do it. No where was that written ’til you get close to the event. I told the front I’d leave my crying 6 year old with them while I went back into the Toyota section inside to kvetch to the hired help. No one outside seemed to understand that “your kid can go and it’s open to kids” seemed to imply that being six is a child, right? A kid? The draw-string backpack wasn’t a prize – it wasn’t even fun for him – poor kid.

  16. tori

    You rock! I never have any idea what to buy my son for his birthday (in May) because he loves to draw but we already have tons and tons of art supplies. I think he would love snap circuits and I know he hasn’t even ever heard of them which makes it so much cooler. If you happen to find a deal on them and post it on your other site you would be my very best friend.

    My son is growing his hair long right now too, but so far has not been mistaken for a girl. His book buddy (an older 6th grade boy) has hair past his shoulders and would probably be mistaken for a girl if he didn’t also have a mustache. I had no idea boys could grow a mustache in 6th grade already!

  17. Don Mills Diva

    Love it – that Monkey’s a pistol for sure!

  18. Heidi

    You should have accepted cheese on behalf of your ladies AND your girls. Cheese is good.

  19. Half-Past Kissin' Time

    You never fail to disappoint, which is why I have made an award for you. Yup! You’re that funny and inspiring. I’ll send it to your email address.

    Have a great week!

  20. Daisy

    Oh, that beautiful Monkey!

  21. Flea

    Remind Monkey that a lot of those men have the ability to grow facial hair. :)

  22. Marlee

    Thanks for the laugh–I needed to read something FUNNY about having kids today, since it’s been One of Those Days! :)

  23. The Over-Thinker

    Your ladies….dear Lord, that got a laugh when I read it out loud (at work).

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