I buy my diapers and wipes in bulk at Sam’s Club, so please tell me how I ran out without realizing it yesterday just hours before a snow storm. Having no desire to fight the snow-a-phobics, who stock up like they won’t be able to get out of the house until Spring, I decided I was not going to fight the crowds at Sam’s Club today. Instead, while the baby napped and my husband worked from home, I’d take Jake with me to the pharmacy to pick up a small pack of diapers to get me through the rest of the week.
I hurried Jake into the store as the first snow flakes began to fall silently from the sky, and we slowly and painstakingly made our way to the back of the store where the diapers were located. Jake stopped and asked me if we needed every other product he saw. “Can we buy this Mom? Why not, Mom?” he loudly asked again and again.
By the time we made it to the diapers, he was already holding a new ice scraper, a container of Elmer’s glue, a new tube of Chapstick and an 8-pack of crayons. I practically shoved him past the tampon aisle, not wanting a repeat of anything close to what happened on Super-Missile Saturday, and quickly began looking for any brand of diaper in a size 4. As I searched for the one item I actually came into the store to buy, Jake began to wander and peek around the corner towards the pharmacy area.
An old woman waved and he took that as an invitation to talk to her about the upcoming snow storm. She smiled, made some small talk, and asked him how old he was…he responded that he would be “four year old on the summer time.” He then proceeded to ask her how old she was, and I quickly tried to shush him. She laughed and said it was okay and that she was 74 years young (I would have suspected more like 112). Jake just replied, “Wooow!”
Realizing he was in a social mood, and what that could mean for me, I quickly pulled him closer as I went back to trying to find the right size diapers. The shelf looked like it had been stocked by one of my children, with brands and sizes clustered together, no one brand or size in any discernible order. Jake, at this point, was still visible in my peripheral vision, and only out of arm’s reach when I began feeling a familiar mother-type foreboding. I struggled as fast as I could through the packages and boxes of diapers. Where the hell were all the size 4 diapers?
A bead of sweat began to roll slowly down the side of my face, as I turned just in time to see Jake, now just at the end of the aisle, yell down to me at the other end, “Mommy, why does that big man have hair like a girl?”
For a minute I considered grabbing his hand and asking him if he was lost and see if he would let me help him find his mother. Fearing what kind of loud retort that might bring, I swept him up and gave a quick glance down the aisle at the 300lb “Biker” frowning in my direction. Upon locking eyes, he must have seen the sheer defeat I felt, perhaps he himself had children, or maybe he once saw the same look from his own mother, because he then gave me half a smile as I retreated back down the aisle.
At this point I was not even considering going to another store for the damn diapers in the right size, so I grabbed a pack of size 5’s and hoped they wouldn’t be too big (and I wouldn’t be scrubbing leaking poop from my daughter’s clothing for the rest of the week). I assisted Jake with his multiple products to the front of the store to pay (and finally exit), while I silently prayed that the rather large and long haired gentleman would be detained in the pharmacy area until after we left the store.
My preoccupation with keeping Jake in one place and the whereabouts of the recently insulted biker had me unaware of much else. As the couple in front of us grabbed their bags and moved out of the way, I placed our items up by the cashier, and was again overcome with a mother of a bad feeling (I mean a mother’s bad feeling).
Jake, silent for the first time in his life since he began to speak, placed his glue up on the counter and just stared at the person across from him. The cashier asked him if he liked to color and glue, and still he stared silently. I felt a knot growing in the pit of my stomach because I now knew exactly what my offspring was thinking. I laughed as I handed the cashier my member’s card and said it was for some indoor activities after we play in the snow. “Please, God, let this be quick. I’m running out of time!” I prayed as I tried, rather unsuccessfully, to hurry through the barrage of questions that follow swiping your debit card.
Enter your pin number please….
Jake was still quiet…..
Jake glances up at me….
Verify the dollar amount…..
I ignore his questioning glance….
Now press enter….
Holy shit this couldn’t possibly take any longer….
Then, because insulting an old lady and biker wasn’t bad enough, Jake dropped the real bomb….
Mommy? Does that person have a penis or a vagina?
I closed my eyes for a second, felt my recently flushed face lose color, felt the blood rush from my head, and then my stomach dropped (like when you’re on a roller coaster). The earth stood still for a moment as I looked at my son’s innocent little face just trying to figure out who or what was ringing up our items.
Without making eye contact with Pat (you remember that skit from Saturday night live, right? What’s that? Oh, that’s Pat! Was Pat a man or a woman, who really knows?), I grabbed the bagged items, receipt, my loud and inquisitive child and made a break for the door hoping for the nine hundredth time, that the earth would open up and swallow me whole.
Just behind us, as we walked out the door, was the biker with the womanly locks (actually they were quite lovely)…”Bet the fun never ends with this one,” he chuckled. “You should write this shit down. Give it to him later when he has kids of his own.”
I laughed, apologized, and wondered if I’ll make it through their adolescence let alone their adulthood…