Screaming in the Parking Lot

I woke up early this morning, went upstairs to the loft where I dozed through John and then a few Psalms before settling into a nice little nap. St. Therese napped through prayers, too, I’d like you to know. But that time alone, combined with EIGHT HOURS OF CONTINUOUS SLEEP supercharged me for the day. Good thing, too.

Amelie is on Day Two Without A Pacifier (my theory is to take it away before they learn to ask for it) and has been a little fussier than normal. But, fueled with sleep and peace, I was all set to handle crying babies with aplomb. We set off for Costco. She fusses through the gas station, through the process of putting her in the cart, taking her back out to feed her, and putting her into the cart a second time. During this whole process, there are two men parked several spots down who are obviously able to hear Amelie, by the glances that come my way. Let them hear, I think to my self.

She fusses all the way into Costco. Lia keeps up a continuous stream of conversation that demands not only answers on my part, but answers that actually have something to do with what she just asked. We pass those two men, still with one child chattering and the other crying, and I wonder what their impressions of me and my children are. Amelie stops fussing long enough to look at people who peer into her face and comment on her crying. I push on. No big deal. I’m Super Mom today. These kinds of things don’t ruffle me.

So I cruised through Costco, Amelie finally stops fussing. I get into conversation with a nice young mom about bagels and Amelie lets out a scream. One of those where you have to wait for her to take a breath to see just how bad it is. But the breath doesn’t come. In the meantime, I scan the situation and discover guilty-sister-trying-not-to-look-guilty and a little red baby finger that has suspiciously bite-like marks on it. Amelie takes a breath. Mommy lifts Guilty Sister out of the cart and gives her a quick spanking in front of other mother with Angelic Child. I lift Amelie out, take charge of apologies given and received and continue conversation about bagels.

We make it out of the store with only a few more episodes of fussiness, and I head out to the parking lot, homefree. NOT. Lia doesn’t like the sun in her eyes and before I know it, she is throwing the temper tantrum of the year. Screaming her head off. In the middle of Costco parking lot. And we are not even near our car, because of course I couldn’t remember what aisle I parked in today.

Amelie makes a half-hearted attempt to join in the crying, she knows that misery loves company. Luckily, she couldn’t muster the effort for long, so I bundled her in the car and packed the groceries away. Lia screamed on. I took out my new book, “Eat, Pray, Love” and read the introduction. Amelie is not so keen on being strapped in while everyone else is outside having fun and raises her voice in protest. Meanwhile, those nice gentlemen stroll by. I wave cheerily.

It’s a good day. I may be a magnet for pitying looks. People might look at me and think, “Boy, I’m glad I’m not HER.” But I know what they don’t know. I am saving one child from years of pacifier-induced orthodontia work. And I am helping the other learn about appropriate and inappropriate behaviors, about obedience, and about that all-important concept of self-control. It might be loud, and it might be ugly, but it’s worth it.

Maybe on next week’s Costco trip we can throw in some puke or a pee-pee accident for variation. Wouldn’t want to get bored in this job.


2 thoughts on “Screaming in the Parking Lot

  1. Ah, my friend, I see your experience as I read your words. Well written and heart-felt. I am glad that you are calm and focused in a scattered world. That your children get to benefit from a great mom who realizes that the lessons learned will be far more valuable than the embarrassment saved. Keep on!

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