When Mommy Is All Done

There aren't many errands or outings left on which I feel comfortable taking all three kids by myself, but grocery shopping has always been one of them. Iz is good conversational company, and helpful in fetching items; Mali still fits in the shopping cart seat; and even though I still need to hold Leelo's hand, he is usually content to walk around and help load the cart with us -- especially if it means he can poach some baguette along the way.

On the 4th, somethings was different. I don't know what or why, but when I took all three kids shopping for BBQ fixings so that patient Seymour could enjoy the luxury of a shower, Leelo ran out of patience almost as soon as the sliding glass doors closed behind us. He yelled, and he kept trying to hit Mali. So much so that I had to ask Iz to steer the cart, as he is too strong for me to redirect with only one hand. Leelo spent that entire five or six minutes hitting me or trying to hit Mali. A rational person would have left, but I was so shell-shocked that all I could do was stay on target. I didn't have to buy that many groceries, and I figured that with Iz's help I could tough it out. Which I did.

And which, I realized after a beat or two, was getting me stinkeye from the rest of the shoppers -- all the people who actually liked or understood children must have been at the Fourth of July parade downtown. Even the staff at our small local grocery store was obviously flummoxed, because I usually have to refuse multiple offers of assistance when my children are behaving, but this time -- this one time I actually really did need help -- not one person offered to help me unload my cart, or help me to my car.

By the time I got into our car, I was crying, openly. This is not something Iz usually sees me do, and she was concerned: "What can I do, mommy? Is there any way I can help?"

I told her, "Thank you, sweetie. The best way to help is to promise me that if you see someone who obviously needs help like I did, you will offer to help them."

I cried all the way home.

When I got home, Seymour helped me unload the groceries. "Lucky Charms, huh?" he said, knowing that the cereal was not intended for our children, "That must have been a stressful trip."

I nodded. And I spent the rest of the weekend in a deep funk. What if this is the way things are going to be from now on, what if Leelo's behaviors keep getting worse, and not better?

It's been a few days, and I am feeling better. Leelo has had several successful outings since then, notably in twice-daily five-minute walks with me and his sisters, along a busy road, to the parking where Iz -- along with dozens of squealing girl scouts and their impatient parents -- jostles in and out of the camp bus. And I have been trying to spend more one-on-one time with him, be more in the moment with him. And consider that maybe, the answer is that he's just moody. Like his mom.

(And it's hard to stay upset about a boy who is so beautiful, anyhow.)

Handsome Leo

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  1. Oh, honey, I am so sorry. Next time no one "offers" to help you, you DEMAND help! Spell it out. You need your cart unloaded, your groceries bagged, your cart pushed out to the parking lot, and your groceries loaded into your car! That's what every single person working in the store is PAID to do! SHAME on your checker and/or store manager for not coordinating all the assistance that you required! (I was a checker in college.)

    Bless Iz for being such a helpful girl. I hope you can figure out what is making Leelo feel off-kilter, so you can fix it. I'm sorry things have been so challenging.

    Prayers to you and your family.

    Love, Laura

  2. Anonymous5:17 PM

    It always baffles and angers me when people refuse to see the obvious. It takes so little to help someone, especially when you WORK for the store.

    I heard (2nd hand) that an aquaintance had an epileptic seizure in the middle of a crosswalk in downtown TORONTO of all places, and people stepped over and around her to get by, not one stopping to check her or help. That, in my mind, takes a special kind of asshole.

  3. I'm so sorry to hear about the trouble you had.. I can very much relate. No one ever offers anything but criticism lately, and it gets very discouraging. We had a rough day, but somehow it all melts away when I look into my son's beautiful face.

  4. Anonymous8:04 PM

    Oh Squid,
    I have so been there.
    I feel you pain and frustration.
    I wish I had something great and
    comforting to say to you.
    Love to you~

  5. Anonymous11:10 PM

    I'm sorry, Squid. That's just inexcusable (pay attention to the good work you've done with Iz, though!). I'm also sorry we won't be seeing you all this weekend but I totally understand. Take care of you and see you soon. :)

  6. You have my sympathy. I almost never take Little Man to the store, the sensory overload has been too much for him since infancy. He generally does well at the movies, so that is our outing. Otherwise, we try to stay away from crowds. I understand and share your fears for the future. This must have been the crying week. Hugs.

  7. I always ask people if they need help. I figure the risk of hostile rejection is worth it for the (usually) mom who needs a hand.

    People are poopy. I've been there.

    There's education to be done so people know how to help.

  8. P.S.: I love that you buy Lucky Charms for yourself. Good for you!

  9. Anonymous8:56 AM

    I'm really glad you shared that experience. Truth be told, I am the type of person who is concerned with being intrusive, so I likely would not have offered my help (although I certainly would have empathized with you as a mom.) Thanks for the wake up call.

  10. Ditto to all the above, and furthermore,

    is it just my imagination or did Leelo inherit your left eyebrow, in cocked position?

  11. Damn, Giddy, I thought you were going to out the extent of my since-Rieber Lucky Charms addiction...*whew*

    All my kids can make funny with the eyebrows. My gift to them, like the beautiful skin they got from their dad.

  12. wow, what a sucky experience. and i hate that it came completely out of the blue, i bet you were shell-shocked indeed.

    hope you enjoyed every bite of those hard-earned lucky charms...


  13. That completely sucks. Once I helped a woman who fainted at McDonald's, and nobody would even lift a finger to call the manager or a paramedic, although I made eye contact with people and specifically asked for their help (as I was obviously holding this woman up). I finally had to yell and swear at somebody to get him to get off his ass. Morons. (http://animperfectlife.blogspot.com/2005/02/dont-wanna-get-involveddont-get-me.html)

    May you have better experiences on future shopping trips, and may you encounter nicer people who aren't afraid to reach out. *hug*


Respectful disagreement encouraged.