I am trying so hard not to be Chaotic Mom. You know her: she’s the mom who is sweating at the restaurant as her unruly children run circles around the table, or the mom with screaming and kicking kids on the plane. She’s the mom on Supernanny. The mom you don’t want to stand next to in line. The one whose kids make a scene at the grocery store.
And today, she is me.
Oh, I had the best of intentions. After my last grocery shopping fiasco, where someone threatened to call the cops on me, I decided I would do most of my shopping online for a while. Last night I placed an order with Vons.com, and I mapped out a peaceful day of picking the kids up from preschool and the four of us relaxing in the backyard while our groceries were delivered. This went awry when Vons called me this morning, telling me my ATM card wouldn’t process. The bank had sent me a new card right before Karis was born, and I kept forgetting to activate it and switch over. Apparently, today was my deadline, and the Von’s truck left the station without my order.
We really needed groceries. So I called my bank to activate my card (finally) and figured I could swing by Trader Jo’s on the way home. How hard can that be?
The trouble started with the fact that Jafta will no longer fit in the cart with the girls, so I had what I refer to as an “uncontained child”. He also decided he needed to carry one of the baskets, which I agreed to because I thought it would keep him occupied. Wrong choice. Jafta has absolutely no sense of space around him. I am quite sure he would fail a field sobriety test if ever asked to walk in a straight line because he cannot walk in a straight line. He is a bumper, a mover and a shaker. He knocked that friggin basket into cans, he upset piled boxes, and I believe he bumped the elbow or butt of ever single individual in the store.
Okay, shopping was chaotic, but manageable. The kids were saving up for a dramatic climax, though. As I pulled my cart up to pay, Karis began screaming at the top of her lungs. It was a crazy loud newborn dolphin cry – the kind that leaves your ears ringing. Everyone was staring. It was so loud you couldn’t not look. I tried to shush her and willed the checker to hurry up. The other two were begging to go up to the “manager’s station” where they can receive a lollipop. It was about ten feet from the checkout line so I told them they could go by themselves. I thought this would make them feel big and also would occupy them while I dealt with the screamer. They made their way over there and suddenly I hear someone else screaming. That would be my other daughter – who has hurled herself onto the floor after learning that Jafta received the last lollipop in their stash. (okay, and seriously Trader Joe’s staff – why would you give one kid a lollipop when you see another one standing there?). So I have to leave a wailing newborn to go pick up India off the floor – who is doing the “gone limp” tantrum and refuses to stand up. Everyone in the store continues to stare, and I have to pick India up off the floor, at which point I noticed she has pooped her pants. How do I know she has pooped her pants? Because it gets all over my arm when I pick her up.
Now I have crap on myself, two screaming kids, and I just want to get out of there, fast, when suddenly I hear the checker say, “I’m sorry, ma’am, the card was declined”. Awesome. Apparently the new card was not properly activated. By some miracle of God I actually had some cash with me, but it was not enough. So I got the pleasure of having the checker void items one by one until we reached a lower total, which required calling a manager over while the entire store continued to stare at my screaming children, my poopy arm, and my inability to afford my groceries. (Yes, now all three were screaming, because I forced Jafta to share his lollipop with India and he was none too happy about it).
I am staying in the house today. I am staying in the house for a long time. Maybe until Jafta is old enough to get the groceries himself.