February 14, 2009

How to Not Be Helpful

Have you ever passed a mirror or a store window and had the strange sensation that someone was following along beside you only to realize when you glanced over that it was just you after all?

Sometimes I feel like that when there's no mirror.

Take today for example. I was at the store getting stuff for Julius's birthday party. I had The Toddler with me, a brave act when I'm by myself. Upon entering the store he ran straight for the oranges, plucking one from the bottom, sending oranges rolling and bouncing. I heard a lady in the background exclaim, "Oh my!"

I got the oranges back where they started (sort of) in time to see him start running from Produce toward Pharmacy. I grabbed a basket from the greeter lady whose mouth formed into a perfect "O" as she watched me run past. From somewhere to my right came some snickering. Past customer service, past register 2, register 4, register 8, past two laughing supervisors, past a mom with two daughters who looked as harried as I felt.

Around register 12 and just about the time I was going to scream, "SOMEONE STOP THAT BABY," he spontaneously threw himself to the ground. Someone had made eye contact with him and that's what he does when someone makes eye contact with him. Or else he grabs me around the leg.

Catching up, breathless, I heaved him up and attempted to fling him into the basket, except he's getting taller and I'm pretty short. He refused to be helpful and lift his legs so I was able to get only one of his legs over. Unfortunately for him this meant hanging him up on the shopping cart by his crotch region while he was screaming, "NO NO NO NO NOOOOOOO!"

Right about this time, a sourpuss grandma comes cruising down the aisle toward me pushing her basket. She scowled at me. She scowled at Tristan. All the while I'm flopping back and forth trying to heave The Toddler's dead weight over the side of the basket but for some reason that ONE LEG just wouldn't go in. I looked at her with that "please help me, I'm a pathetic loser mom with a screaming toddler and his wayward leg that won't go into the basket." She just wouldn't stop looking at me. In fact, everyone was looking at me and nobody was doing anything at all that was remotely helpful, unless you consider making me feel completely inadequate helpful.

I thought about doing something snarky and passive-aggressive like loudly saying, "Thanks, you guys, for all your help. I appreciate it!" But instead I just slammed The Toddler around some more straddling a wire grocery cart with his diaper-padded crotch. Finally with a big sigh, I dragged him off and set him back on the floor and said loudly, "OKAY, I'll try this again then!" This time, lil squatty me hoisted him up like an eager groom hauling his lovely bride across the threshold and dumped him into the basket.

The moral of this story is that if you see a freaked out looking mom in the store with a limp kid and she looks like she's trying to get the kid in the shopping cart and she can't do it... FOR THE LOVE OF GOD... HELP HER!


  1. :( I'm sorry. Those days are so tough. Some of my 'favorite' memories are being at the Mall of America with the big arse stroller and a mom and her 2 teenagers JUMPED in front of us to get in the elevator. There wasn't room for us at that point. *hugs*

  2. Awwww I've actually helped harried mothers before having been there 3 times myself lol I know how that feels. One time a very young but tired looking lady with FOUR kids in Walmart had one run off and she was barely keeping ahold of the other three. I chased the kid down (he was probably 2) and brought him back to her. She was practically crying. I felt so sorry for her. I would have helped you shove that wayward leg into the cart for sure ;)

  3. I've so been there! Especially with my youngest who has been difficult since conception. There was only one instance that someone in public did anything other than glare at me judgmentally when my girls acted up in the store. A nice older lady at the grocery store who had finished packing her groceries stayed to entertain my toddler to distract her from her screaming while I packed my groceries. I was so grateful.


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