Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Cleanup in Aisle 2

Why so long between blog posts? Because Max's toddlerhood is kicking my ass.

So is karma. Remember how I said I'd never let my kids eat something in the grocery store without paying for it? No matter how well I try to adjust my errand schedule around his eating schedule, his tantrum-threatening blood sugar level often demands a tub of miniature peanut butter sandwich cookies.

In the 20 seconds it took me to write this much, Max snatched a votive candle from a drawer and drew wax lines on the bay window. When I let out an audible sigh as I was rubbing the scribbles off with my shirt sleeve, he succinctly said, "Oh, shit." So much for struggling not to swear in front of him.

Back to the grocery store. But not to the grocery store to which we usually go, and where Max usually gets to ride in one of those plastic cars attached to the shopping cart. We recently stopped at a local mom-n-pop to get some of my favorite deli treats.

Max erupted into the worst screaming fit he has ever had in public as soon as we got through the door. It unbelievably increased in intensity when I tried to wrestle him into the child seat of a regular cart. I got frustrated because I had zipped up the lining of his brand new winter parka and couldn't get it off of him so that he didn't have some sort of heat stroke while thrashing around in the cart.

Wait, I have to stop for a minute and tend to his absolute heartbroken sobbing that I won't let him play with my computer mouse.

And now I have to feel bad that when I tried to forcibly lead him away from my desk, he stumbled and fell and sat down hard right on my iPad that he was using to watch PBS. I said out loud, "Oh, shit!"

OK, back to the grocery store tantrum. It was so bad so fast that I just pulled him out of the cart and threw him back in the car before we even made it down one aisle. My superhumanly sweet mother-in-law, visiting from Arizona, was with us, and she generously offered to sit in the car with him while I shopped in peace.

I swear to God, only 83 seconds have passed since I started writing again. I had to stop to pull Max off of the kitchen table. See photographic evidence. And no, he didn't want those boxes of toys. He's looking for my new ceramic wine bottle coaster dish and stopper. He likes to swirl the stopper around in the dish and listen to the clink-clink-clink. I had it on the table only once, for a party on Sunday, but he knows he might score some salt shakers or place mats or something else if he gets up there. He has zero interest in the toys meant for him.

And while writing that paragraph, I had to yell at him for using a similar box of toys as a stepping stool on the bay window bench in an attempt to flip open the safety locks on the side windows that help keep robbers out and children in.

Where the hell was I? Oh yeah, the grocery store. But not the right grocery store. Thank goodness I remembered to leave the car running with the heat on. My mother-in-law would not have complained, but she would have been a tiny little icicle by the time I got my potato salad and sandwich spread. My toddler fell asleep, one whole hour before his usual nap time.

I've left and come back again. Max said he wanted peaches for a snack. While serving him the last container, I realize we have to go to the grocery store and get more.

I don't get to throw a tantrum. I don't get to melt down and have someone feed me and put me down for a nap. I don't have a choice that it's freaking snowing again and I would have to bundle up Max so much that he might not fit in his car seat on our trip to the grocery store.

Max is a smart, sweet, lovey-dovey boy that has a limitless need for my attention and efforts. I do better when I write more, but I haven't had the chance to blog in almost a year. I'm not as good as a mom when I don't process it, and I can process only the reality. My reality seemed too stressful, or it seemed too unseemly to complain or make Max out to be a terrible kid when he's really just a typical 2 1/2-year-old boy.

But there's no explaining to him that I will have more time to give him attention if he would just simply let me have a little time to myself. I end up feeling like I'm at this computer all day because the constant interruptions stretch out the work of five minutes to five hours.

I feel like a failure. I feel like I should be more grateful that he has energy, that he is inquisitive and curious, that he wants my hugs and kisses and tickles and smiles to make everything right in his world.

There, I've said it. I've written it. I feel it sliding off and slipping away from me, returning some buoyancy and confidence to spend the rest of today tending to my toddler's needs.

Which is good timing, because I'm pretty sure he's standing there pooping his pants.