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6 replies »

  1. The Publix Meltdown. I still shudder with embarrassment when I think about it.

    Following the theory that there may be something gained by taking your kid out to do the mundane things that life requires, I had the opportunity to take my 18 month old daughter to Publix, our big grocery store chain. We needed a few quick things before we could make dinner. Savvy had always been an angel on these quick runs, and I thought that I was developing some good dad muscles by doing these little errands with her. But she was starting to throw tantrums if she didn’t get her way, or if she wanted to play with, say, my cell phone and I wouldn’t let her.

    I’m a list maker, which means a fast flurry of buying and not a lot of shopping. So I grab the stuff at the store that I need, and the last item is diapers. We wheel over to the diaper aisle, and my daughter is in the cart, and she sees a big bin of rubber play balls: red, green, Dora – you name it.

    She has a lot of these at home, and she loves them all. Hers are all the size of a soccer ball or a volleyball, but lighter, and most are very brightly colored. Anyway, I am looking and looking for the right size diapers, in the right brand, and the right “style” or whatever it is called; and she is playing with the balls in the bin.

    Aha, I find the right diapers. I grab the box, slide it into the rack under the cart, and start to push the cart away from the bin of bouncy balls

    And. She. Lets. Loose.

    She is screaming like I am killing her.

    I am completely caught off guard. It took me a moment to even figure out what she was screeching about. Then, I apply some ADULT logic: “Honey, you have about SIX of those at home (which is 5 minutes from here)…

    HA! What, are you nuts? Trying to use Adult logic and reason on a crying child?

    She goes bananas.

    Flailing arms, screaming, crying, tears streaming down her cheeks… screaming, and I mean LOUD.

    Store employees start to come by and see if I am beating her to death or something, and I am stupidly still trying to reason with her.

    I feel bad; maybe she is tired and needs a nap. I’m also pretty embarrassed, because everyone in the store can hear her screaming, and it sounds BAD. But with each passing second, it is getting worse, and the pressure on me to solve this problem is mounting.

    So I decide to run for it.

    I just head to the cashiers to pay and leave as quickly as possible, but, OH NO, now she doesn’t want to stay in the cart. Then she doesn’t want me to hold her (so now I look like I am forcibly abducting my own child). THEN she wants to lay on the floor and just scream.

    More store employees start to walk by with a not so subtle look in my direction to see what’s happening. It’s chaos. So I pick her up and push the cart with my hips while holding this flailing fish of a screaming kid as we head to the checkout. And she just ramps it up even more. Louder and louder. The poor cashiers – they see me coming and NONE of them want me in their lane.

    ALL the lanes are pretty busy as I approach, and I am standing there, absolutely DREADING a 5 or 10 minute wait… this is bad. Really bad. The kid is trying to lie down on the floor so she can kick unencumbered. The phrase “die of embarrassment” was written by a new parent in this situation.

    Suddenly, in a move of amazing genius, an assistant manager or customer service lady swoops in and opens a new lane just for me. They grab a cashier from somewhere and she starts ringing me up while another person bags the groceries. A NASCAR pit crew has nothing on Publix.

    The manager lady asks, “Would she like a balloon?”

    At this point my kid is once again on the floor and she has been crying so hard that she is red-faced and coughing. I’m pretty red-faced myself.

    I tell the lady, in my best I’m Not A Child Abuser voice: “Ma’am, I will try anything right now.”

    So the lady asks my daughter, “Sweetie, would you like a balloon?”

    And…………. the crying stops.

    Instant silence from my daughter.

    My kid looks up and asks back: balloon?

    The lady says hands her a small latex helium balloon on a string. LIKE A WATER FAUCET THE TEARS STOP. THE CRYING STOPS. THE TANTRUM STOPS.

    My kid is so happy. I’m pretty happy, too – TO GET THE HELL OUT OF THERE. They take my groceries to my car for me (I never have them do that; I always do it myself). My kid is smiling, about to start singing maybe. I’m in shock; I can’t remember. The bagger kid put my groceries into the car as fast as possible and got me out of there.

    They probably deal with that kind of thing all the time, and they are good at it. Nobody made me feel bad at all, but it was a first for me.

    A very stressful, embarrassing first.

    Two years later, I still can’t go back to that store. I have to drive an extra five miles to buy groceries.

    It’s worth it. Self respect has a price.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Once upon a time, six days before my wedding, I decided home hair colour was in order.

    The application of product went beautifully. I covered my hair with a fetching grocery store bag, just like (sorta like) my stylist does, and settled in to paint my nails like a proper bride.

    After approximately fifteen minutes, my head felt a tad warm so I removed the bag and asked my fiancé to check things out. He didn’t have to look too closely to see large amounts of smoke issuing from my blonding locks.

    Long story short, I burned off about two thirds of my hair. Less than a week before my wedding.

    A friend of mine was able to do a fantastic path job on the big day. Artful braids and baby’s breath covered my bald patch nicely and it would likely have gone unnoticed, had I been able to refrain from pointing it out to everyone I spoke to.

    Liked by 2 people

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