Monday, May 19, 2014

Grocery Store PTSD

Once upon a time there was a little girl. When she was 4 or 5 she went with her mom to Food Lion for Shasta and Cookie Crisp. She was quietly minding her own own business by her mom at the checkout, when the bag boy pushed a cart in her direction. The corner of that cart hit her smack in the head and  knocked her out cold. PLOT TWIST...that little girl was me, y'all. And being run over by a grocery cart is my cross to bear. And my children will forever pay for that bagger's misstep. 

Everything was okay when LadyB was small. I had complete control because she was in the cart. Now, despite my best efforts to cram her into the cart seat, she declines to ride. Mostly because she doesn't fit and the bars hurt her legs, which she is ALWAYS whining about. I mean, I'm willing to push your 40 pound arse around the grocery store whilst buying food for you, and you are going to complain about a little thigh pinching? That's rich. So, now she walks. And baby either goes in the ergo or his seat goes in the big part of the cart and I stuff apples, and loaves of bread, and dog food around him. And as Toodles walks she touches and hops, and bobs and weaves, and closes her eyes, and walks backwards, and pays ZERO attention to the world around her. And that incident that happened to the little girl some 30 years ago in the Food Lion that was all but forgotten is now an open wound on my psyche. I have diagnosed myself with PTSD that is exacerbated by being anywhere with carts with my child.

I now spend my whole time at the grocery store saying 'Stop being a fool' in various ways. It is a run on sentence that sounds something like this: "Don't touch those, please watch where you are going, come walk by me, watch out for other people, stop hopping, please look up, don't knock things off the shelves, watch out for their cart, don't pick anything up, come over here, don't run, stop pushing the things to the back of the shelves, stop running, come over here, STOP DOING EVERYTHING YOU ARE DOING AND HAVE BEEN DOING SINCE YOU GOT OUT OF THE CAR." By the time we are in the frozen foods I am wild eyed, screaming, and foaming at the mouth. All because my child's level of bafoonery goes up 100% when there are carts everywhere. Or maybe it's because every time she strays away I have flashbacks of the cart knocking me out, which gives me visions of one knocking her out, which gives me a panic attack. Not only do I not want my first born to carry this burden and start the cycle all over again, but I have
Look Ma, no hands! 
enough going on trying to purchase food in a timely manner with a 4 year old who doesn't listen, a baby in an ergo I am giving a bottle to, a Starbucks coffee (um, I deserve a lot more than that for doing the hunting and gathering with kids in tow) and trying to keep up with my list that is on a ratty piece of envelope that I keep sticking in different pockets, all while trying to find the best deals. {which leads me to this aside: if Hubs had to shop like this he would pay double for everything just to get out and we would be bankrupt.} 

I don't have the time or energy to deal with a maimed Honey Badger. Do you want to know how I know this? About a month ago we were shopping and it was same-old-same-old. I whisper scream for her to stop acting like a crazy person and she blatantly ignores me.  And with a crowd of thousands waiting in line to checkout with nothing to stare at besides me failing as a parent, she starts hopping between tiles and she slips and falls. Right in front of the meal deal case. And she starts screaming and crying and carrying on like she broke her ankle. And everyone stares. And I start sweating. Awesome. But the best part is she then wanted to be carried because she is an overly dramatic person who can exploit weakness and she knows I hate a scene. So I pick her up, mostly to get away from the lookey-lous, with what little dignity I have left, and I trudge off carrying a 40 lb shrieking and sobbing child. Then I carry her for the next two aisles while I push a cart with my monstrous baby in his huge carrier in it all while shopping. It was heinous. I can't do it again. I can't. I'll die. 

So yesterday, Lady B was acting like a tap dancer on crack having a dance off with an imaginary friend, while I was trying to buy my K-cups. You gave to understand that this is the most important 3 minutes of my whole trip. Coffee is my thing. No schwag Folgers crap, it's gotta be good. But it has to be the best deal. I have to study the options. And because she almost gets hit by a cart for the 367 time just this trip, I have a psychotic break and yell at her, really loud. I'm not proud that someone's sweet grandma picking out her Nescafe had to witness me giving my child a tongue lashing, but it happened. And it happened again by the baked beans. And a third time in the Popsicles. I. Can't. Take. It. But I don't know how to make her stop acting like an animal that has never been off its leash when we are there. Not taking her is not an option 99% of the time. 

So I'm open to suggestions. She's not being bad on purpose. She just can't seem to control herself. She is in her own world doing her own thing, which usually involves paying zero attention to old men with cataracts driving in little rascal carts who just want their aspercream and earl gray and Cheetos. Or the lady in a suit who obviously has seven minutes to buy two weeks worth of groceries and is sprinting while throwing things in her cart. They aren't watching for little girls who are reorganizing the Gatorades, and she is oblivious to the fact there is anyone even in the store with us. So I must remain ever vigilant that my firstborn doesn't end up on the floor with cart wheel tracks across her back and a dent in her skull. This duty really slows down my food buying. It takes us like an hour and a half when it should be 45 min tops. But vigilant I shall remain, in honor go that little girl, laying on the dusty floor at Food Lion, right by the locked cigarette cases and quarter machines with bouncy balls. I will not let my child experience this horror. Even if it means getting a prescription of Xanax so that I can grocery shop without ending up in the fetal position by the organic yams, rocking and crying. 

I think I am going to either put everyone on a diet, start living off the land, or order my groceries for the next 5 years.


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