I had one of those moments today. The one I'm sure every first time mother to be has, where she is standing in some store, watching a poor mother struggle with her purse, the diaper bag and a stroller, while her child has a magnitude 10 breakdown. And just when it seems like she's almost done and free from the store, she drops her wallet, and cards and money go spiraling everywhere. The one where you think to yourself "OMG, is that what I'm in for?" and that follows.
I went to Toys R Us today, because I am a glutton for punishment and felt the need to punish myself hard. It's 6 days before Christmas and I live downtown, so you can imagine how pleasant it was in there. I think there have been natural disasters that were better organized (and somewhat cleaner) than that place was today. I only went because I needed 1 thing, and I knew what it was. I figured I could be in and out in a few minutes, and blissfully tick SOMETHING off my ever growing to do list. And you know, from my perspective, it wasn't that bad. I didn't have to walk mindlessly up and down the aisle, trying to figure out what a 4 year old would like (why are there not lists for this in the toy stores, honestly?), or if my sister would hate me for buying her child a drum set (side note, the answer to that question is always YES!). I just needed to grab one small thing for my niece, and be on my way.
I must have been in there for 30 mins, because as a 6 month pregnant lady, I can't resist the urge to peruse the baby stuff, and in the time I was in there, I witnessed a few things I wish I hadn't. I guess Toys R Us at Christmas is where you go, when you want to study parenting, and what not to do (as an aside, this part of my story has nothing to do with the aforementioned poor woman above...I'll get back to her later).
First, I was in the infant/toddler toy area, grabbing what I needed, and I saw a cute little girl, daydreaming, walking up the aisle, fingering the shiny pink plastic toys that are all at her level. I smiled at her, and she shyly looked away. I try not to creep other people's kids in the toy store, so I moved away from her a little bit. I didn't see her parents around, but surely they were close by, because she couldn't have been much past the age of 3. She didn't seem overly concerned by the lack of parents either so I didn't think much of it. A few moments later, as I stood trying to decide between 2 seemingly the same toys, a woman comes up, frazzled and sweating, and yells in a shrill and unnecessary voice "Arianna, what the hell are you doing? I told you we were going to the check-out. We're leaving. Stop daydreaming and GET OVER HERE".
I'm one of those people who has a hard time biting my tongue and I really wanted to snap back at her "you expected your 3 year old to know what the check out was? And did you seriously just say HELL to your child? And you want her to stop daydreaming? STOP? That's the best part of being a little girl you troll". But I didn't. I just gave her one of those dirty looks, that indicated I was less than impressed, and watched her drag her poor child away by the arm, walking faster than her daughter possibly could, practically ripping her arm from the socket. At this moment, I took a breath and made a mental note. I filed this under "remember how that looked and felt" and thought to myself, "I'm never going to be like that".
Now I'm not on a high horse. I clearly don't have a child yet, and I don't know what the background was here. I don't know the pressures of shopping with a daydreaming toddler, 6 days before Christmas, with the heat cranked up to scorching, and the noise level at a steady 11. But I do know that asking my 3 year old "what the hell" is never appropriate. Ever. And I have mega potty mouth. There are so many things wrong with the scenario, that I could go on about. But let me just say, that was the first (but not last) time in Toys R Us, I thought "I'm never going to be like that".
There was a series of other events that happened over the next few minutes. I watched a lot of angry parents give their children grief about being distracted and not paying attention. I mean, it's not like you brought them to a giant toy store 6 days before Christmas with 1500 other children, so I can imagine why you'd expect them to be focused. I heard a lot of people use "if you don't smarten up, I'm going to call Santa and tell him not to bring you anything!" in an attempt to negotiate with their kids on a fear based level. And we know this will never happen, because at no point ever in history, has a parent cancelled Christmas for their child because they asked for a package of Pop Rocks 17 times. And I saw a lot of tantrums, but those are unavoidable. And while I watched the pandemonium, I thought to myself several times "I'm never going to be like that". Except, in these instances, I am not so sure I can guarantee this. I know things happen, and again, I've haven't yet been there, so I'm sure I'll be one of these parents at some point, that someone else looks at and says "I'm never going to be like that".
I think the most painful thing I saw was a woman, with her sheepish and clearly doormat like husband, timidly carrying packages while she ran off at the mouth about how bad the food was at the neighbours party last night. She had with her 2 sons, I'd guess around 6 and 9. And one of them yawned, clearly bored of her trash talking story, and of being in the pretty princess section of the store. She stopped, looked right at him, and without missing a beat, said loudly and clearly "I told you to cover your mouth when you yawn. That's DISGUSTING. None of these people want to see your disgusting mouth. Grow up". And then continued on, bashing her neighbours meatballs.
Now, I don't know about any of you, but I guess I missed this part of etiquette school. Are we actually supposed to cover our mouths when we yawn? I mean, sometimes I do, but a lot of times I definitely do not. And other than perhaps not wanting to show the world my fillings, I don't really see the issue. And is it that disgusting? The yawning and his mouth? I mean, really, his yawn did not affect me in any way shape or form. Her bitching did. I was embarrassed for her children, and her husband, and I felt a little sorry for them. Not just for her outburst, but for the simple fact that she was such a hag. And I again thought to myself, and this time I KNEW, I'm never going to be like that. I'm not. I can't imagine talking to my family in that tone, in that manner. I cannot imagine telling my son he's disgusting, and I certainly can't imagine embarrassing my family that much. If it was really that much of an issue for her, she could have quietly said something constructive, and saved us all the awkwardness. Me and another family in the aisle shared a look or pity and anger, and quietly walked away. Again, in my mind I was telling her she should grow up and stop being such a bitch but, I was trying to stay in the Christmas spirit.
Now, for my last poor mother. This was a situation where, I didn't think "I'm never going to be like that". It was a situation where I thought to myself, "I hope that never happens to me". As I mentioned, she was alone and struggling through the store, stroller, diaper bag and purse in hand, carrying a basket full of toys and trying to console her hysterical child. There she stood, in the long long line, probably so close to being done her shopping she could taste is, and just trying to survive the next 10 mins. Overwhelmed and frustrated, she stood, sweating in her coat, trying to figure out how to manage all the stuff she had with her, while getting a bottle of of the diaper bag. And no one was helping. No, in true Christmas spirit, instead of the guy in front of her clearing his 1 item off the counter so should could use it, or the person behind her backing up so she had a bit more space to maneuver, people just stood there. They stood there with asshole face, looking down their nose at her and whispering to each other about the state of her son.
Now I have no idea what prompted the child's outbreak, but I'm sure there was some toy negotiation gone wrong, and he was now just sulking. Well, not sulking, screaming bloody murder at the top of his lungs. And she was at a loss. Missing that ever needed 3rd arm, she struggled to find a way to soothe him, and hoping the woman at the check out would just STOP pontificating and buy the damn Barbie (why do people do this, ever, but specifically at Christmas? Stand at the check out, contemplating the pros and cons of 2 items? Do that in the aisle people, do it IN THE AISLE), so she could move ahead 1 space and get this over with. The look on her face was one that screamed "I'm sorry" to those around her. She knew her son was causing some headaches, but at some point, what can she do?
I stood there for a moment, wondering what I could do to help. Unfortunately, I was 3 aisles over, suffering my own pregnant lady hot flash and wishing the stinky dirty man behind me would STOP COUGHING in my hair. I shot her a sympathetic look, and watched in pain as she finally reached the counter, only to drop her wallet as she fumbled to get it from her purse, sending the contents flying everywhere. Coins bounced and rolled, cards skidded across the floor and receipts fluttered to the ground. And she looked like she was going to cry. And once again, no one helped her. Her son screamed louder, and I thought for sure she was going to lose it. If anyone deserved to, it was her.
But you know, she surprised me. She actually laughed. She threw up her hands, and laughed. Now, perhaps that was the incident that pushed her over the edge, and she has just completely gone bananas, but, I don't know. She picked up a card from the floor, handed it to the cashier, and let her process the payment as she proceeded to pick up the contents of her life. Her hands free, she handed her son a MumMum, giving him something to focus on that actually turned his screams into hiccupy sobs, and she composed herself. Some kids helped her get the remaining AWOL change, she pushed her flattened, frazzled hair from her shiny red forehead, grabbed her bags, and fairly calmly pushed her son out of the store.
And for the first time that day, I thought to myself "I hope I can be exactly like that".
It's like this, and like that....
I started this blog in an effort to track my experiences with pregnancy and beyond. Writing is therapeutic. Kind of like talking to myself without the people in WalMart thinking I'm crazy. If you find some entertainment in this along the way, then even better!
This is one woman's journey through unfathomable hunger, vivid sex dreams and a bulging belly...from conception to birth in 9 months or less...