Aaaaand the sunny days just keeeeep on coming here on the West Coast. /radioDJvoice. I heard a radio commercial this morning for a certain online travel agency, the thrust of which commercial was: “We’ve got great specials on getaways! Get the summer you deserve!” Hey did you by any chance make your ad somewhere outside of BC? Or do you think people want to go to tornado country on vacation? Because here, it’s been the most amazing summer ever and why the hell should I pay to go somewhere else? I pay enough to live here!
Ba—-dump. I’m here all month. The veal is nasty but try the linguine.
Today we went to the beach. Arlo can now do somersaults under the water. Eli practised floating. It was a good time. Then we left and because it is Thursday, we needed to get some groceries on our way home. Milk, apples, bananas, something for dinner. I saw a Thrifty Foods by the side of the road and stopped in.
The parking lot was underground (yay!) but also had all the outflow (?) from the building’s air conditioning blowing into it (boo) so it was hot like a furnace. We walked up the stairs and found the bank machine and then the grocery store.
The kids claimed not to be hungry or thirsty, and yet they acted like horrible brats the whole time I was shopping. Just horrible. The horrible that only their minder is annoyed by; nothing anyone else would have noticed. They bickered and punched each other while I picked out apples. They tattled on each other in horrible whiny voices while I debated buns or loaf. I asked them nicely to cut it out. They looked at me seriously like they’d heard me and then proceeded to keep horribleing it up.
If the groceries had been unnecessary, I would have left them right there and marched the kids back down to the hot car in the hotter parking lot but I really needed that pineapple and that hummus. Not to mention the milk & apples that make up 2/4 of the kids’ Food We Eat and Enjoy list. SO I SOLDIERED ON. I spoke sternly to them, which netted me more “oh yes, of course Mother, so sorry” looks. Surprisingly! they continued to be bratty.
I decided to ignore them, which worked for Arlo, who whispered to Eli, “Cut it out, now she’s mad,” (so stern voice = amused but no voice = mad? Good to know!) and they stopped for a minute but then resumed and by the time I got to the checkout I was ignoring them so hard it was like they were someone else’s children. Who them? The ones in green? Oh yeah, they’re mine I guess.
The checkout girl was in her early 20s. Behind me and my Horribles in her line was a woman with two younger children, one of whom was wailing because he had to stop sucking the lid of the orange juice bottle long enough for the check out girl to scan it and now that aisle has been renamed The Birth Control Aisle.
When we got home and I had put the groceries away, I engaged the children in some role-playing.
“Imagine you had to do something you didn’t want to do,” I said to Arlo. “Imagine you had to take SPANISH lessons and you didn’t want to.”
“But I WOULD–”
“IMAGINE,” I snarled.
“Ok?” he said.
“And you didn’t want to go but you went anyway because I said you had to and then, while you were sitting in the class, trying to learn Spanish, I sat behind you with my mouth right at your ear, like this…” I got up and stood by his ear to demonstrate. He flinched.
“And then when the teacher talked,” I said, “I started talking, saying ‘hey have you learned any Spanish yet? Did you hear what she said? Are there tacos in this class? HAHAHAHAH I HATE TACOS BUT OH WELL I WILL EAT SOME do you know any Spanish yet? One time I learned Spanish and it was hard. Is this hard? Are you having fun? WELL ARE YOU?'”
Arlo had his hands over his ears at this point.
I walked back to my chair at the table.
“So,” I said, “do you think it would HARDER or EASIER to learn Spanish if I was there behind you talking and being annoying?”
“Harder,” he said.
“And that,” I said, “is what it’s like going grocery shopping with you two.”
“I don’t want to take you shopping, I know you don’t like it, but you like to eat, right?”
“If you like to eat, you have to buy groceries.”
I foster no illusions that it will change the way they behave the next time I take them grocery shopping. But it was SUPER FUN for me and made me feel better, and that’s nearly as good.
And can I just mention, sadly, that I don’t miss their babyhoods at all but I do miss being able to strap them the hell down in a cart or stroller so I can look at the ingredients list in peace. Amen. And cheers.