Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Dreaded Errands

It doesn't matter how many times you go over the rules, there is always one kid that doesn't follow them. Whether it is in the grocery store, the bank or the post office, the rules are the same and so is the outcome.

I could tell many stories of stressful shopping trips and daunting errands. I've had a child throw up in the grocery store after getting a cart full of groceries and forgetting my savings card. I informed customer service and was trying to get a replacement card when she threw up again. Nice, huh?

Let's not forget all the lost shoes that get taken away by the Kroger fairy seconds after they fall off the innocent child's feet. I really wonder what goes through their minds when they think it is ok to strip in the grocery store.

The best, er, the worst incident occured in the post office about 2 months ago. I had to send 5 packages to my deployed husband. Have you ever tried taking 5 heavy packages and 5 children into the post office all at once? It's not that easy.

I loaded Small and all the packages into the stroller and made the older 3 walk while I pushed the stroller and carried Extra Small in the Baby Bjorn carrier. It never fails that the ones that get to walk are the ones that want to ride and the ones that ride are the ones that want to walk.

I must partly blame myself for what happened next. My packages were not entirely ready. I had to fill out 5 address labels and 5 customs forms. Customs forms are not that easy to fill out especially when you have stuffed the boxes with 600 different items. They don't leave enough space to list that many items and my hand starts to cramp. As I'm filling out the forms, I let Medium sit where the packages had been. I get a compliment from the lady standing in front of me...

Nice lady: "Wow, how do you get them to behave so well?"
Me: "Trust me, its a fluke."

Just as I finish my sentence, the large kid decides he wants to "share" the stroller with medium. Medium did NOT want to share so she pushed Large away. This made large angry and he let out a scream that could wake the dead. He then threw himself on the floor. What's a mom to do? I can't spank him because someone might call child services on me. I can't yell at him because it is still verbal abuse. I can't reason with him because he just can not be reasoned with. I calmly tell him to get up and I write faster.

He stays down on the floor but isn't yelling anymore so I am partly satisfied. Then it happened... some old lady opened her trap.

Old lady: "Could you shut him up?!"
Me: As I turn around unbelieving of what I just heard, "Excuse me?!"
Old lady: "I can not concentrate with all that noise."

Now, my kids were not making much noise aside from the one scream he let out and really, how hard is it to fill out an address. It's not rocket science.

Me: "He is 4 years old! He is mad! What do you expect him to do?"
Old lady: "Just that because that is how they were raised."

Did she really just tell me I wasn't raising my children right?! I was too much in shock and had already made a big enough spectacle that I just turned away. My hand was shaking so bad from her working me up and I swore if she said anything again she would live to regret it.

How was she going to tell my son to shut up? And then to call me a bad mom on top of it. I was actually pretty amazed at how well they did behave. What kid wants to wait in a line at the post office right before lunch time anyways? I guess that's my bad for going at that time but really people, they are just kids.

So you would think I would be scared to ever return to that post office. You would be wrong if you thought that. I do fear ever running into her there again but only because next time I may not be able to bite my tongue.

I went back to the post office today with only 3 packages and all 5 kids. The line was short, the kids were well rested and I was very much prepared. There was a small incident where Large almost had an accident but other than that I was impressed.

Upon finishing my transaction I got a very nice compliment from the postal worker.

Worker: "You have very well behaved kids there."
Me: "Oh thank you." As I look over and smile at them walking away by themselves (I asked them to put something in the mailbox).
Worker: "You must be doing something right, Mommy."
Me: Big smile on my face and in my heart, "thank you." and I walked away.

It always feels so good when the kids outshine themselves and someone notices. It reflects so well on the parents. And I loved how it reflected on me today!

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