Thursday, August 13, 2009

Shopping with the Spawn of Satan

Ok - maybe a little extreme. Or not. But I like the alliteration. And it's not too far from the truth.

Monday: my regular, bi-monthly errand-running/grocery shopping/Walmarting day. It was also Will's first day of morning football practice. So, I had to wait until afternoon to go. I picked him up from practice and he announced he had no intention of shopping with me. He intended to spend the day on the couch recovering from practice. He then mentioned that several of his teammates had vomited from all the running required in that practice. I decided not to press the issue since it did sound like it had been a brutal work-out. Why a body would voluntarily put themselves through that is beyond me! So, after lunch, I took off with the other three.

We had an appointment and then I began driving all over Des Moines. One of our first stops was Aldis. Sam decided that this was the day to declare his independence from silly rules like "We always sit down in the cart." And wouldn't you know it, I happened to get a cart that had no toddler belt - not that that latch is any match for a kid like Sam Heywood. But, I've been reading "To Train Up a Child" by the Pearls and they're really big into spanking your kids - a lot. So I decided to take my chances with any do-good child-abuse reporters that might be roaming the aisles of Aldis and I just started swatting Sam on the thigh every time he stood. Man, that kid is tough! It took a good 6 - 8 swats before he'd even sit the first time. It was continual, throughout the whole store. Stand up, swat, "sit down", swat, "sit down", swat, "sit down" - finally obedience. And then he'd do it all over again. Although, I did notice he was a little quicker to obey each time. But why did he have to pick the grocery store to engage in this battle of wills? I'm already so busy and distracted (esp. by Ben, who is in a grocery-induced euphoria whenever we shop (it's something he stims on) and I don't have time for this right now! We finally got to the check-out lane and the other two boys shot over to the sacking counter to wait and I'm attempting to unload my groceries onto the belt while a whole line of people waits behind us. So Sam picks that moment to decide to stand again! Now, I have a choice. I can ignore him, hoping he doesn't fall out on his head. That way, I won't have to worry about what the other customers are thinking about as I slap my child. And I can get my unloading done a lot faster, than if I have to continually reach over to the front of the cart and swat at Sam. But, then he might unlearn the lesson I was attempting to teach. So, it took a few swats (I'm definitely waiting to hear from CPS now!) but he finally sat, voicing his protest all the way.
We then spent quite a bit of time out at Valley West mall. Will and David needed new sandals (like those are easy to find in August!) and I had a $10 coupon I wanted to use at Penneys. This is when the Spawn emerged again. Sam does not like to be constrained. He submits to his car seat only with the promise of his blanket, a bottle (yes, I know he's almost 2 years old and thus too old for a bottle! Somehow, that's secondary, though), and possibly some gummy chews if I remember to pack them. So we got to the mall and I popped him into his stroller. Ok, "popped" is not the right word because it implies, "with ease" and there is nothing easy about getting him in his stroller. He arches, he cries, he tries to wiggle out through the strap, and he tries to unfasten the strap. Fortunately, the strap was designed so that mothers have great difficulty opening and closing it, which ensures that toddlers at least have a small amount of difficulty. When that didn't work, Sam positioned himself at the end of the stroller so that his feet dragged on top of the wheels and the stroller came precariously close to tipping over. Then, he started with the yelling. Fortunately, he's little and cute, so people seeing and hearing him holler say, "Awww!" I'm just gritting my teeth, trying to get my shopping done.
Miracle of all miracles, I did actually find shoes for both Will and David. Will was particularly pleased with his because I found Hawkeye crocs (real, honest-to-goodness crocs - not the imitations) on clearance. I got him a size 12-13, which is as big as they come. I told him to enjoy them because if his feet get any bigger - and they will - it's regular old sandals for him. Well, the actual Croc stores, like "Fit to Be Tied" might carry larger sizes, but I'm not going to pay $30 for rubber shoes.
It was getting towards supper time so I thought if I had french fries to feed Sam that would at least stop the yelling for awhile. So, I got us all fed and the fries and chicken nuggets worked for awhile with Sam. Then, it was off to Walmart.
Yes, I was shopping at 9:00 at night at Walmart with three children. That is never good. Ben insisted on getting his own cart this time. That made me nervous, because I just knew he was going to run into something or over somebody's heels (probably mine) with it. But he did really well. Whenever I took something off the shelf he snatched it out of my hand and very carefully arranged it in his cart. He didn't get that from me! I just toss things and move on to the next. Sam was his usual pleasant self. He spent a certain amount of time wailing. Then, he thought it would be fun to stick his fingers down his throat. I turned to get some cheese and when I came back to the cart, Sam said, "Wet". I looked and his shirt was covered in vomit. So was the floor. He had just eaten a package of teddy grahams, too. A couple of years ago I wrote an email to a bunch of friends entitled, "Why I Should Have Become a Nun." That essay popped into my head at that moment.
So, we finally got home. I called ahead and instructed Will and Paul to be ready and waiting so they could carry in everything. I then discovered that one of my gallons of milk had leaked half its contents into the upholstery. Three days later, the smell is absolutely nauseating. We have scrubbed, shop-vacuumed it, and baking soda-d it. Today, I'm going to douse it with vinegar. I thought it was horrible when I spilled gasoline in my van once - that was nothing compared to the smell of rotten milk!
And as for the Spawn? He had conked out on the way home. Paul carried him up to bed, vomit covered shirt and all, and laid him down. There was no way we were risking waking up that child, no matter how dirty! In the morning, he was cheerful and I bathed him and all was well again. Until the next shopping trip, that is...

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