By CHRISTINA M. CURRIE
Daily Press writer
There are very few people, other than mothers and grandfathers of course, that can look at a dirt-covered, runny-nosed, malodorous, tantrum-throwing child and say she is the most adorable thing in the world.
My children are the most adorable things in the world my world, that is.
They aren't the most helpful things in the world, though.
I love grocery shopping with Katie. It gives me someone to talk to who doesn't think my running commentary on what I need and how I will use it isn't this side of lunacy (she will eventually, I'm sure, but I'm taking advantage of a time when being silly, singing out loud and dancing in public are games and make mommy fun, not, "like, totally weird, you know.")
It is a challenge filling a cart already filled with a car seat and a two-year-old who's constantly asking, in her sweetest voice, for a hug. Translation: "Pick me up and carry me, then let me squirm to the floor so I can take off running through the store while you give me a head start because you're deciding whether it's better to leave your other child unattended while you try to catch me or whether you want to chase me down driving a cart with a loose left wheel that contains 30 pounds of groceries and a baby.
So don't think me cruel when you see me in the grocery store ignoring my daughter's plaintive requests for a hug. It sets in motion a whole chain of events that one time left me with a screaming toddler and a torn box of crushed crackers under one arm and the baby in the other while looking for a half-full cart that someone absconded with.
It's a rough life.
I say "hold on" 360 times walking through the grocery store. It's my attempt to keep Katie from falling onto the pears, or worse, out of the cart. She refuses to sit, which actually I don't have a problem with, because she invariable chooses to sit on the meat.
How does she not notice? I'll never know.
The last trip, her requests for hugs were punctuated by requests for a "baaloon." There were several stuck to the ceiling, but she doesn't understand "out-of-reach."
She understands that she said "peez," therefore she should have a baaloon (it doesn't work both ways, of course, my please is met with a resounding "no!"
"I'll get you one when we get home," has no effect on her whatsoever.
"Peez," is her only response.
It's fairly exhausting, for both of us.
She also can't understand why she can't break into the Goldfish right then and there or eat grapes out of the bag, although one nice man winked when he saw my exasperated face and said "taste testing."
A grandfather I'm sure.
Thank you God for blessing grocery store managers with the concept of free samples. For some dumb reason (habit), that's the last aisle I hit and by that time I'm looking longingly at the pharmacy.
When I to the bakery I get a reprieve from both "hug" and "baaloon" and a fairly quiet trip home (although one time Katie threw her cookie at the baby and then had a major fit when the baby had the audacity not only to touch it, but to eat it.)
By the time we made it to the checkout stand, I was so tired and so frazzled that I nearly left without paying for the cake I had set on the bottom rack of the cart (I never used that until I had children. If I think Katie sitting on the pork chops is bad ...) and then nearly left the parking lot without the cake (which the woman at the check out stand reminded me not to forget only minutes before).
It reminds me of a joke I read that every mother should relate to:
A man noticed a woman in the grocery store with a two-year-old girl in her cart. As they passed the cookie section, the little girl asked for cookies and her mother told her "no."
The little girl immediately began to have a conniption, and the mother said quietly "Now Missy, we just have half of the aisles left to go through, don't be upset. It won't be long."
In the candy aisle, the little girl began to shout for treats. The mother said softly, "There, there, Missy, don't cry. Only two more aisles to go and then we'll be checking out."
When they got to the checkout stand, the little girl immediately began to reach for the gum and freaked out when her mom said she couldn't have any.
The mother patiently said, "Missy, we'll be through this checkout stand in five minutes and then you can go home and have a bottle and a nice nap."
The man followed them out to the parking lot and stopped the woman to compliment her.
"I couldn't help noticing how patient you were with little Missy," he said.
The mother sighed and replied, "Oh, no, my little girl's name is Francine. I'm Missy."