Monday, January 3, 2011

Awkward Mom vs. The Grocery Store - battle #2

After a solid 2 weeks (OK, more like 4 weeks) of eating fancy cheese, candy canes, and pretty much every cake in the entire Midwest, the Awkward family is in need of real food. Awkward Mom decides to fix this and heads to the grocery store. Oh, this one has it all, readers; inappropriate songs, exploding tomatoes, and a parking lot run-in with nemesis, Perfect Mom! Right now, Awkward Mom's list, children, and sanity are relatively intact, but we all know that can't last long at the grocery store...Let's watch.

We are in the car, heading toward the grocery store. Only took us 42 minutes to leave the house; not a record but I remembered both boys' gloves this time. Not mine, of course, but I'll live. Might lose a few fingers, but I should live. I pop in a homemade CD (you all know that I typed mix tape before remembering that it isn't 1996), and Super Toddler quickly rejects Let It Be for being "too slow" and Ode to Joy for being "too beautiful," whatever that means. He settles on Lydia the Tattooed Lady by the Marx Brothers and as he loudly belts out "she has eyes that men adore so, and a torso even more so," I question my parenting wisdom for about the 5th time today. Fear not, I'll do that about 47 more times before the day is done.

We are about half way to the grocery store when a debate right out of Taming of the Shrew occurs, and you all know who is gonna be the shrew here. Super Toddler peers into the sky and declares that he sees the moon. I scan the sky for any phantom moons or UFOs, just to be safe. Finding none, I patiently tell him that he is looking at the sun and please to not stare right into it. He laughs, resumes staring, and tells me that it is the moon. Angel, that is the sun. No, Mommy, that is the moon. Sun. Moon. Sun. Moon. I really should drop this, but versions of parent/teacher conferences start to dance in my head. Sweet pea, that really is the sun. Then, Super Toddler decides to bring out the big guns. Mommy, that is the magic moon. I put a spell on it. What can I do, but say oh, OK and pray he gets some understanding science teachers one day.

We arrive at the grocery store and I park by a cart corral, per usual. 15 hundred miles away from the entrance, again, per usual. From this point on, our grocery shopping looks a lot like the last battle I told you about. Here it is, if you want to relive it:

The main differences this go-round are as follows:

1. Clearly, Super Baby has grown since then, and this gigantic child no long rides in a convenient detachable car seat, enabling me to confine him and focus my oh-no-stop-that-put-that-back-don't-eat-that monologue on Super Toddler. Oh no, now there is equal opportunity grabbing and illegal snacking from the front of the cart as well as the back.

2. It is winter and I forgot my gloves, which causes the race from the car to the store to occur uninterrupted, no matter how loudly Super Toddler complains about forgetting Princess Bear or wanting to see that cool puddle.

3. Today, I need to mail some packages. Our grocery store service counter also functions as a post office, which is incredibly convenient. Except when the line at the service counter wraps all the way to the deli. We are waiting in line, some more patiently than others. Super Baby kills time by chewing on my wallet and sending any passing grandmother into rapturous coos. Super Toddler is humming Lydia the Tattooed Lady. I am inching us closer to the front of the line and wondering if this is such a great idea. We are almost next in line when Groucho there in the basket can't contain himself anymore and busts out with "When she stands the world grows littler, when she sits, she sits on Hitler." Heads start spinning and everyone in a 10 foot radius around us take a step back. Gets the line moving though.

4. Our list is 9 times longer than usual, resulting in repeated trips out of line and back to the aisles. Again. And again. And again.

5. This time Super Toddler pinches fruit roll-ups and a can of Play-Dough out of the cart in front of us. Returning said items goes as you might expect.

6. This week, Super Toddler decides to snack on a bag of Cherry Tomatoes. He opens them while I am distracted by some bread deals. I return my attention to the cart just in time to watch in horror as he shoves a fistful of them into his mouth. Like a scene out of The Godfather, all I see is a slow-motion red bath splattering an entire display case of cakes, all our groceries, and the back of Super Baby's head. I thank God for wipes, and that I remembered them this time.

7. It is Super Baby and not Super Toddler who dumps an entire box of gum into the cart while I am perusing Angelina and Brad's secret wedding plans. And it is Juicy Fruit this week.

8. Despite actually remembering my reusable bags, I leave the store with just as many plastic ones, due to a really sweet but clearly packing challenged checker. (She actually packs one of my heavy-duty cloth bags with only 8 little yogurts and some green onions.) I try to discreetly repack stuff, but a code red pushing match between Super Toddler and Super Baby, complete with siren-like screams, breaks out. I shove my environmental concerns away and separate Super Toddler and Super Baby with a wall of cloth and plastic bags alike; this uneasy ecological truce mirroring the brother one also going on in the cart.

9. Super Toddler throws bananas, a loaf of bread, and a lime at the horse today.

I actually find my car fairly quickly, just 1 aisle over and a little to the left of where I thought it was. But all is not well in Awkwardland, dear readers. Who is parked next to my car but Perfect Mom! This time in a shiny clean Volvo with a Green Revolution bumper sticker. In my fear, I skid to a halt and accidentally ram the cart into the Awkward Mobile, decidedly not shiny clean. Perfect Mom's son is angelically climbing into his seat while she unloads her perfectly packed cloth bags into her empty and newly vacuumed (I am not kidding) trunk. I mange to get Super Baby into his seat, when I am distracted by Super Toddler's escape attempt. I haul him back into the cart, but lose the plastic bag that he was holding. This lands at Prefect Mom's feet, in all its Pringle and Fruit Snack filled glory. She glances at it in disgust and hands it to me with 2 fingers, like it is full of poison, which, let's be honest, it very well may be. I turn away in shame, just in time to see Super Baby fall out of his car seat and into the middle of the back seat. I remedy this and strap him in while Super Toddler eats a few more tomatoes and sticks his tongue out at Perfect Toddler. I throw the rest of my groceries into the car under the withering gaze of Perfect Mom, who is blocked from her driver's seat by my cart and the tomato covered and singing Super Toddler. I twist the cart out of her way and gather up Super Toddler. While I am walking him to his car seat, he looks right at her and bellows "When her muscles start relaxing, up the hill comes Andrew Jackson."

Told you. Didn't I tell you? Anyway, Awkward Mom strikes again. You better believe there was no one more relieved to get in her car and leave the grocery store than her. That is, at least until she realized that she had to unload all those groceries and put them away. But that, fair readers, is a different tale altogether...


  1. Don't feel so bad about "Lydia"...according to wikipedia "In January 1976, Kermit the Frog sang this song, complete with a Muppet version of Lydia (a pig), on the second episode of The Muppet Show, which featured Connie Stevens as the guest star. Muppets creator Jim Henson is said to have considered the song one of his favorites. Henson also drew all the tattoos on the Lydia puppet."

    Oliver sings lime in the coconut quite proudly, loves "let the bodies hit the floor" by drowning pool, and anything by rammstein. People can get over it and be content parenting their little sheep. We know who will be the innovators of the next generation.

  2. Barnaby, you are a hoot!
    Yes, I am a total Muppet freak and I own that version of Lydia, as well as the Marx brothers one! :)
    And I will harmonize Lime in the Coconut with Oliver any day of the week, if he lets me.... You guys are my parent-idols!