[subtitle: Mouse, I love you!]
Going to the grokkery store in the 1980s… It wasn’t enough that you had to wrestle everybody and their mouse into whatever clothing was appropriate for the weather, easy enough during the summer months but I think I’ve blocked the process of struggling with snowsuits and toddlers. And there was the stack of books that had to be gathered for the five minute ride to the store. And we won’t talk about car seats. Or candy or Cheezits or pizza rolls or the two packages of stickers I had to buy every time we went to the grokkery store. Yes, two. Every time we went to the store. I think that added up to about eight bucks a week. Yes. Really. What? Did I spoil my beach urchins rotten? Of course I spoiled my beach urchins rotten. What were you thinking?
All this while avoiding the scrutiny of the Michigan Child Protective Services. I think the Planet Ann Arbor invented the Parenting Police. A cadre of busybodies always ready to interfere in your business with politically correct, careful psychobabble and then turn around and call the CPS on you. Like, “Ma’am, don’t you know that it’s 10 degrees and blowing snow? Doesn’t your baby have a hat?” Said as we are walking 30 yards or so from the car to the store and Mouse has yanked her hat off for about the 50th time and I have given up and stuffed it into my pocket so we don’t lose it. Or the looks I used to get when I would grab under Mouse’s *armpits* to lift her out of the way of some impend
ending disaster and the verbally advanced little rodent would yell at the top of her lungs, “STOP STRANGLING ME!” Or the time Mouse screamed at the top of her lungs all the way through the checkout line and about half the way home until she fell asleep. Why? Because I wouldn’t buy her any lipstick. The Mouse moments are the ones that are coming to mind but, make no mistake, there were plenty of Lizard moments too. “I *had* to cry.” Just for one.
I dunno why the Parenting Police weren’t doing something constructive, like lobbying for grokkery carts that could actually accommodate a couple or three babies and toddlers without making the tired old moom jump through super-hoops to schlep around the store. Nowadays, there are these Little Tyke-like vee-hickles that attach to the front of the grokkery carts. Some of them even play little cartoons and things. Why didn’t we have those then?
But darn. Somebody always hits the blasted fast-forward button on my life. So this morning I was on about my third trip to a grokkery store this weekend and Mouse decided to go with me. And it seemed miraculous that she was even up at that hour since the annual two-week festival of the Ypsilanti Artichoke Gatherers ended last night. Anyway. Okay. Off we go. There was something about the a/c setting that I’m blocking and then, “Moom, why do you always park way over here on the other side of the parking lot?” Uh, because this is the only place the runaway carts don’t go? Then a tussle with picking a cart. I was too incompetent to separate them. Then a bunch of stuff that I won’t even try to describe in the recycle room where one of the machines was outright broken and another one was barely limping along. And I was too incompetent to deal with the ones that almost worked. And then I was in trouble because another woman and I avoided a head-on cart collision when she *graciously* backed up and let me through and I think I even said, “thank you.” But it was still embarrassing for some unfathomable reason. And there was more description-defying jockeying around at the uscan. Which I am incompetent at using. All to the background sound of “Ugly ol’ witch in a big ol’ ditch. Ol’ witch. Ol’ witch.” Say it in a frog voice.
Nowadays when I shop with my children, they spend my money on healthy food. Fruit and vegetables and soy milk and I can’t think what else. Often healthier food than I buy. So today, we didn’t come outta there with any stickers and nobody actually yelled or screamed. We did end up with a box of Cheezits.
And that really *is* a stick in the picture up there. I thought it was a bird foot at first too. But when I removed it from the back of the Cute Little Blue Honda Civic and dropped it on the ground, Mouse protested that it had been there all week and it was “cute”, so I caved in and picked up the cute little stick and placed it back on the vee-hickle. Honestly, the things I do.
P.S. I love you, Mouse!
PPSS. Nobody *ever* called the CPS on me. There were a few people who thought that I was young (um, I had my first baby at *30*, duh?) and incompetent. And I am the first to admit when I am being incompetent. But I think I did do okay in the grand scheme of things.