Yesterday the kids were all out of school for President's Day. I took them to the gym in the morning and then planned to run by Target (which is nearby my gym) to pick up a few items before heading home for lunch and nap time. I had it all planned out to run smoothly. I was going to have an easy, enjoyable day with no problems.
After a good work-out, we headed to Target. The day was cold, windy and rainy. It was an ominous sign of things to come. We entered the store and found a shopping cart which could fit all my kids. It's the kind where two bigger kids can sit facing each other near the front and a smaller child can sit in the basket behind. It's like the SUV of shopping carts. The girls got buckled in, then I placed Lucas in his spot and gave him my iPhone so he could play Angry Birds to keep him occupied. Don't judge. He loves Angry Birds.
I glanced at my list: trash bags, toilet paper, cat food, and new toothbrushes for all three kids. Easy Peasy. Before I knew it, I had all the items I needed except the cat food which is located all the way at the back of the store. I started heading that way at the exact same time Lucas decided he was done. He was done playing Angry Birds and wanted to get "Oooouuuut Noooowww!" I kept trying to reason with him by telling him I just had one more thing and we were going home soon. He just got louder and louder. Eventually he took his antics a step further and climbed out of the cart while my back was turned picking up the cat food. I placed him back in and started pushing the cart, but he began screaming and tried to dive out of the cart (I should mention that there were no working straps in the cart to restrain him). I finally decided to just let him "help" me push the cart up to the front registers.
Slowly we rolled along when I saw a display of two liters of Diet Dr. Pepper on sale. As fast as I glanced at the display, Lucas was already there ready to do some damage. In slow motion I saw him whack at a bottle with one hand and a two liter toppled over. He slapped it with enough force that when it hit the floor the red bottle cap shot off into oblivion and the contents of the container spilled and fizzed out all over the floor. I never realized how much liquid is really in a two liter when spilled onto a flat surface. It's a lot, I'm afraid. Embarrassed I quickly put Lucas back into the cart, grabbed the near-empty bottle so I could pay for it, and started looking for an employee so I could tell him about our little fiasco. Oh and just so the picture in your mind is complete, Lucas at this point is screaming at the top of his lungs, "GET ME OUT!!!!"
I find a teenage employee and tell him what has happened, apologizing profusely. He looks at me and says, "Uhhhh.....ok." I can tell he has no idea what to do. He runs off to go find someone else to help him, and I head to the nearest cashier so I can get out of there fast.
I think there are 30 checkouts at this particular Super Target. There are exactly two cashiers working. Lovely. I choose the line that seems like the best option, but I am the fifth person in the line. This is where things continue to go downhill. Lucas would not stop screaming or climbing out of the cart, so I grabbed him and put him on my hip, my arm in a death grip around him. I'm holding the mostly empty bottle of Diet Dr. Pepper in the other hand (there's approximately a cup of soda left) and try scooting my cart forward with a crazy combination of my elbows and my stomach.
I would like for you all to think that I remained calm and in control during this entire thing. That is not the case. I didn't cry (which is a first for me), but I kept mumbling under my breath, but loud enough for my girls to hear, sarcastic things like, "Gee, thanks for letting me go ahead, people. Love the compassion you're showing right now. Yeah, I enjoy holding a screaming toddler and a sticky Dr. Pepper bottle. It's a lot of fun, you should try it. Heaven forbid you offer to take this bottle out of my hands." Not a single person did a thing to help me, and that made me more upset.
Eventually we got to the car, and when everyone was strapped in I called Mike and recalled the entire incident in angry detail to him while he patiently listened. I think I said something dramatic like, "I will never take all three kids to a store ever again! I will shop at ten o'clock at night if I have to so I can avoid situations like this!!!" I hung up the phone and Hannah's small voice from the back of the van piped up. She said, "Mom, I know what you should have done."
"What?" I asked.
"You could have prayed."
Ouch. Truth from my seven year old. I took a deep breath and said, "Hannah.....you are absolutely right. I should have prayed. Even though I was frustrated, I shouldn't have said mean things about those people in line." (shamefully I might have told Mike those people "sucked") So right there in the car, in the parking lot of Super Target, I prayed. I prayed that God would forgive me for my bad attitude and bad example I set for my children. I asked for wisdom in how to better prepare for and handle situations like these. I thanked Him for His mercy and grace. And hopefully I redeemed the situation a little for my kids.
We made it home, ate lunch, and Lucas went quickly down for a nap. I am sure part of his antics were due to the fact that he hadn't napped the day before and hadn't slept well at night either due to a stuffy nose. He was out cold for three hours. The girls and I played some games and watched a movie together. Lucas woke up a new man and we had a much better evening together, glad that the events from the morning were starting to become a distant memory.
I like to remind myself of how cute they are after a hard day.
Have you all had any days like this? Care to share your stories?