Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The black hole for healthy parenting

What is it about Wal-mart that makes my kids go CRAZY? I swear, they catch their first glimpse of the parking lot and they turn into a herd of Tasmanian devils…or whatever it is that groups of Tasmanian devils are called. A flock? A pride? A legion?? I’m thinking it’s a legion, like demons.
We pull into a parking spot, unload, and trek to the entrance, where the boys are convinced that they are using the ‘force’ to open the sliding doors...and then the questions begin.
“Can we rent a movie from Red Box?” “Can we get some candy?” “Can we look at toys? We promise not to ask to buy any.” “Can we buy this toy?” “How many more things do we have to get?” “Now how many more things do we have to get?” “Is that broccoli for supper? I hate broccoli!” “Mom, why does that guy have long hair like a girl?” “Why is there a picture of a man in his underwear on that magazine?” “Hey, Mom, did you hear that? I just pooted really loud!”
By the time we get to the checkout, all four kids have to pee, are hungry, their feet are hurting so they all want to ride, and I have used every single threat in my arsenal to get them to behave.
Not to mention the fact that we have been stopped by at least 10 people telling me “Wow, you have your hands full.” To which I want to say, “Wow, I’m glad you told me, because I wasn’t aware of that.” Or they say, “I bet you’re really busy.” And I think “You win the bet.” It is so infuriating to be in the middle of checking your shopping list, holding onto the child who wants to climb out of his seat, while at the same time standing between the other two boys so they stop trying to see how close they can get to punching each other without actually punching each other, answering the ‘What are you making with that?” question from your daughter, and smiling happily at the sweet old lady who thinks your kids are adorable. “These kids?” I mentally question. “Can’t you see the foam coming out of their mouths? Can’t you see the steam coming out of my ears???”
Today was a first though. I have gotten the “Wow, are those all yours?” question a lot. But for the first time today, someone said “You only have four?” Now please recall my earlier outrage that people constantly point out the OBVIOUS fullness of my life and hands. Four is not seventy-five. I hate it when people look at me like I have seventy-five children. I wish for once someone would just say “Hi!” Or better yet, say NOTHING. LEAVE ME ALONE TO GET OUT OF THIS HELL HOLE AS FAST AS I CAN!
But when the man said to me (and yes, it was obviously a man. No woman in her right mind would stop a fellow mom at Wal-mart to say such a dumb thing.) “Wow, you only have four?” I saw RED. I was right in the middle of fending off a dozen questions while hunting through the diaper bag for a cracker to give the crying baby. My phone was ringing, Clay and Faith were fighting over who was on which side of the cart, and Nate was attempting to stand on his head without falling off the end of the buggy. Why? Because I had threatened his life if he got off again. As the man continued to walk he informed me that he had five (none of them were with him, of course) and then he moved on, smiling, probably thinking that he had done me a great service in informing me that I don’t have the most kids in the whole world.
I almost threw a can of beans at the back of his head.

Wal-mart is like a giant black hole. Healthy, happy, loving mommies go in, and crazy, seething, violent mommies come out. They are probably armed with a huge bag of chocolate and several alcoholic beverages that were purchased because of the trip itself, and they definitely have several heavy objects that can double as weapons in a pinch.
There should be a sign on the door that says “Men with stupid observations and no children BEWARE.”

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