22 June 2013
While enjoying our trip to the supermarket…
- Rebel Toddler (3): Da! Pee-pee!
- Me: Oh, sh—–
We could not have been farther from the bathroom. I had the four oldest kids myself. Time was of the essence. The clock was ticking.
- RT: <squeezing his genitalia, hopping up and down> Da! I say pee-pee!
- Science Kid (9): I got it, Dad. Let’s go, little dude!
SK and RT took off running down the aisle. I needed to follow them. Earth Mother (8) was standing beside me. Where was Tiny Dancer (6)?
I found her behind me, staring at a blueberry muffin. I picked her up and dropped her in the cart. She wasn’t happy.
- TD: <confused> Daddy? What?
- Me: Your little brother has to pee. We need to move.
See, TD dawdles. If I hadn’t put her in the cart, she would have remained transfixed by that muffin and wouldn’t have even heard me. Either that or she would have struck-up a conversation with some random person. Doesn’t matter who. Doesn’t matter how old or young. She’ll just stop and talk to anyone, anytime. She possesses no sense of urgency, at all. So, into the buggy she went.
- Me: Earth Mother! Let’s go!
- EM: <tries to climb into the cart>
- Me: No, honey. You’re too big. We’ve got to go. Your brothers are gone.
- EM: Can I help push?
- Me: No! We’ve got to go now.
- EM: Can I stand on the front of the cart?
- Me: Jump on…
And away we went, hauling ass down the aisle. I noticed an older woman smiling at me. It was a smile of commiseration. I thought, she’s been here before. She’s had similar experiences in her own life. She understands. At that moment, though, I didn’t particularly care. I had to find the boys.
We skidded to the end of the aisle. It was blocked by two employees pushing a cart full of bread. They were in no hurry. In my head, I called them every mean, nasty name I could think of.
- Me: Can I get past? My sons ran off that way.
They moved. In the distance, I could see the boys. RT was running as fast as he could, still clutching himself, hopefully tightly enough to keep from having an accident. SK was urging him on. SK looked worried. I was worried. Above the noise of the store, I could hear RT imploring him, “Are we almost dere, yet? Are we almost dere, yet?”
We took off in hot pursuit…
The boys were ahead of me with about four aisles to pass until they reached the bathroom. Suddenly, Rebel Toddler stopped and spun around, looking panicked. For a second, I thought he had peed on the floor. No, he had dropped his money.
Before we left the house, RT had gathered his change so he could buy stuff from the machines at the front of the store. He had three quarters in his shirt pocket. I had offered to hold them for him, but he insisted on doing it himself. While sprinting through the store, his quarters had fallen out.
He quickly bent down to grab them as they spun crazily across the store floor. His older brother, Science Kid, ran back to help him gather his coins. RT was still squeezing his penis with one hand while trying to gather his change with the other. I could see the horror on his face.
Together, they got RT’s change and stuffed it back in his pocket. They ran off again. Once again, RT stopped. Another quarter had fallen out of his pocket. This time, he grabbed it himself and scurried off holding it. I was close enough to see his face. He was about ready to cry. SK, being amazing, put his arm around his little brother, whispered something in his ear, and away they went again.
They made a sharp left toward the bathroom, cutting through a very crowded aisle. Again, my progress was stopped. Some employees were pulling carts of food out of the storeroom. I couldn’t pass. I could see SK frantically yanking on the doors to the various restrooms. The men’s room was locked. The family bathroom was locked. Finally, he yanked open the door to the ladies’ room and they disappeared. I breathed a sigh of relief. They were inside.
After a moment or two, the logjam of people and carts cleared and I pushed our cart into the hallway that housed the restrooms. I knocked on the door.
- Me: Everything okay in there?
- SK: <from inside> We’re good, Dad. Almost done.
- Me: Okay! <to my daughters> Do either of you girls have to use the bathroom while we’re here?
- Earth Mother (8): No. Are we going to buy donuts, soon?
- Me: Soon. TD, do you have to use the potty?
- Tiny Dancer (6): No. Not now.
- Me: Okay.
Another minute or two passed. Finally, the boys came out.
- Me: Feel better, RT?
- RT: Ya! I peed in da potty and den washed mine hands!
- Me: Alright! Thank you, SK.
- SK: You’re welcome. I didn’t think we were going to make it.
- Me: You did great. Are we ready to go, now?
I put RT in the cart along with TD and started moving back toward the store.
- TD: A-hem!
- Me: Ahem, what?
- TD: <sheepish look on her face> I changed my mind? I have to pee.
- Me: Now you have to pee. Two minutes ago, you didn’t have to pee. Now, you have to pee.
- TD: Uh-huh.
- Me: <lifting her out of the cart> Fine.
- EM: Dad? I should pee, too.
This happens every time! Every. Single. Time. Same as if I walk past the bathroom without asking if someone needs to use it. Invariably, within three minutes, one of them will say, I have to pee. Often, once we’re in the bathroom, they’ll say, I guess I don’t have to go. And then I feel my mind slowly melting, turning to goo, beginning to drip out of my ear…
But anyway, we finally made it to the checkout. Mama and Honey Bear (24 months) had long since left the store. HB wasn’t feeling well the previous night and had been up since about six in the morning. She hadn’t fallen asleep – for good – until around midnight. HB was tired and cranky so Mama had taken her back to our minivan. She was more “Honey Badger” than “Honey Bear”, if you catch my drift. That left me and the four older kids, along with our two carts full of groceries. No big deal. I’ve done this before. I’m Super-Dad.
While I was putting our groceries on the conveyor belt, the young woman working the checkout asked me if I wanted to donate a dollar to Some-Charity-I-Didn’t-Catch-The-Name-Of-Because-I-Wasn’t-Paying-Attention. I offhandedly told her “no thanks” and continued loading my stuff onto the belt.
- Rebel Toddler (3): <holding up a Hershey bar> Da? Kin I buy dis?
- Me: You don’t have anymore money, remember? You spent it all.
- Tiny Dancer (6): Daddy?
- RT: Awww… How about dis one? <holds up a Kit-Kat>
- TD: <tugging on my arm> Daddy?
- Me: Wait a sec, TD. RT, you spent all your money, buddy. You don’t have any left.
- RT: <puts the Kit-Kat back> Otay.
- Me: <resumes putting stuff on the belt>
- TD: <insistently> Daddy! A-hem!
- Me: <getting grumpy> What?
- TD: Well… Does that money go to help kids?
- Me: What money?
- TD: The money that lady asked you about.
- Me: Oh. I don’t know. I think so.
- TD: <to the girl working the checkout> Does that money you asked my daddy about go to help kids?
- Checkout Girl: Yes.
- TD: <digging in her purse> Daddy? How much money is this?
- Me: <counting> Thirty-four cents.
- TD: I want to give thirty-four cents to help those kids.
- Me: Are you sure?
- TD: Yes.
I asked the checkout girl if she could take thirty-four cents. She nodded and TD happily handed her the change. Then, TD got to sign her name on some card indicating that she’d donated. She smiled all the way through the parking lot and finally – finally! – we went home.