I just returned from the grocery store—having completed the week’s shopping with all three kids in tow. It is almost dinner time.
If you are a parent of one, if not more young children, you may already have experienced the chill of dread up the spine. Taking young children to the grocery store in the late afternoon is rarely an uneventful event.
Ellie and Landon were adequately entertaining the other shoppers in the produce isle as they rocked a bunch of bananas each, singing, “rock your baby, rock your baby, rock your baby…” appropriate arm motions swinging in time to their tune. The song changed to “Milk your cooo-ow, milk your coo-ow, milk your cooo-ow,” when we hit the dairy isle.
People were still cordially smiling.
As we made our way signing, shushing, laughing, and me constantly replacing the absconded items back to the shelves Gabriel had liberated them from, I was actually making progress toward filling our cart with the bank-breaking groceries that never seem to last and always seem to cost more with each trip.
Then it happened.
“I need to go potty!” Landon announced to everyone in the deli meat section.
“Okay, honey. We’re almost done. Just hold it a couple more minutes and we’ll be back to the front of the store where you can go before we check out.”
Landon has recently gotten over another month-long bout of uncontrollable diarrhea. But his stools have been formed for the past several days, and accidents have once again subsided. But less than one minute after his announcement, he adopted the stance.
“Uh-oh, Mom! I had an accident,” Landon sheepishly confessed—legs spread wide. I didn’t see a wet spot at the front of his pants which could only mean one thing: Number Two.
“Okay, honey. Let’s get you to the bathroom.” It was then I realized, I had no diaper bag. No change of clothes, spare pare of underwear. Nothing. Not in the store. Not even in the car. I’d planned on a quick trip in and out of town, having changed the baby’s diaper moments before leaving, and encouraged the older two to visit the bathroom one more time before our departure.
Landon walked alongside the grocery cart—legs still spread eagle, making his walk awkward and slow. I felt for any wetness that might have leaked through the cotton layers; soaking the navy long johns he had opted to wear instead of pants. Dry.
Grabbing a package of baby wipes from the baby supplies isle, we headed to the store’s bathroom.
The dung bomb I found nestled in Landon’s Spiderman underwear could have been used as a weapon. No diarrhea in sight, I just barely caught myself from scoffing at the poor kid, “you could have held this!” But, nonetheless, there we were, all three of us crammed into the bathroom stall, our full grocery cart parked outside the bathroom door, still waiting to be paid for.
Underwear removed, cleaning accomplished and groceries bought and bagged, we headed for the car parked in the only available spot—all the way across the parking lot. As Ellie and Landon surprisingly followed my strict directions on maintaining contact with the cart at all times as we dodged cars and other shoppers, I looked down to see Landon’s long underwear was sagging enough to reveal a half-dollar-sized quarter slot.
Driving home, engineering my plan for entertaining the kids with a quick video while mommy put away groceries and prepared dinner I was interrupted numerous times with questions and the always predictable request for a story. After creating a tale about Harry the Yak who loved to wear red, high top tennis shoes and fielding Ellie’s questions about which animals you could and could not milk, (“Mommy, can you milk a chicken?”) as well as why long johns are long, I was done.
“You know what, guys? Let’s just listen to the news for a few minutes.”