Jonah and I were running errands on one of our “quality time mornings.” His three brothers were in school, so it was just me and my little side-kick. Every ounce of my attention went to the little boy with the big brown eyes and the sweetest bowl hair cut. He wore his favorite outfit, the blue R2D2 shirt with the orange cut off pants. Jonah was in a state of toddler euphoria.
He had his mama all to himself! We walked into Target and I casually mentioned that he could pick out a toy for him and his brothers. I am not sure life gets much better than that when you are two years old. (Or maybe I was the one in a state of euphoria because we were at Target!)
“That one for me!” he exclaimed with all his toddler excitement. His little chubby finger pointed WAY in the back of the bottom shelf. “Get it mama, PEAAAS, get it for me!” – now who can argue with such cuteness? Certainly not me! I reached ALL the way in the back and handed him the red Star Wars bouncy ball from the “Dollar Bin.”
(I LOVE those bins, seriously, but then again what Target shopper doesn’t?!)
“Mama, PEAAAS get that one for Jansen.” Jonah was on the floor, pointing towards the corner of the bottom shelf. The sweet little boy had found another red Star Wars bouncy ball for his older brother. This kid – showing such careful consideration towards his brothers – he just melted my heart.
I picked out the few treasures I needed from the store, (everything from Target is considered a “treasure”) and off we went to the check out lines. There we stood… in line… for at least 10 minutes.
In case you have never stood in a check out line with an active toddler for 10 minutes, those 600 seconds are the longest of your entire life. You know from the moment you approach the register that all eyes are on you and your child. This is the case regardless of whether you bring one child, or 15 children with you.
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People watch parents in check out lines with the same look as when they read the headlines in the trashy magazines surrounding the cash register. They are expecting scandal from both your child and the magazines! This is a guilty pleasure most shoppers without young children engage in, or at least this is how it feels to parents.
Thankfully, this wasn’t my first time waiting in a cash register line. I am used to wrangling four kids at the store, so one toddler is like child’s play to me. I was still giving Jonah my undivided attention, which is required when you are held hostage at the cash register.
All of a sudden, out of the blue Jonah’s big brown eyes caught a glimpse of the tall green plastic bottles in the fridge. The same green coveted bottles that his older brothers LOVE to get their hands on when we are at a restaurant. SPRITE! Jonah saw a bottle of Sprite – and he wanted it… he wanted that bottle something fierce.
I was able to quickly defuse the situation by offering him a healthier alternative (a cold bottle of water) and within 23 seconds everything was calm and peaceful in our cash register line once again.
Until… the woman in front of me turned around. She had been watching Jonah out of the corner of her eyes – just waiting for her opportunity to knock down a young mother. (I use the term “young” very loosely, since I am talking about myself.)
She turned to me, squinting her beady little eyes down towards Jonah. He was at this point happily drinking his cold bottle of water and all was well in his world. Jonah’s state of toddler euphoria had returned.
“Your son! What is he? Let me guess… he is a TERRIBLE two?!”
She took a step back, turned towards her friend who was the one checking out and taking FOREVER. They looked at each other, laughed and agreed “Yeah, he HAS to be a TERRIBLE two!”
She continued, because her first comments weren’t bad enough, “I know that age when I see it. My nephew he is two and he is JUST AS BAD. Oh, is he bad!”
It took every ounce of composure and inner-strength that I could muster up. I looked straight into her small (narrow-minded) eyes and said: “No, he is NOT a terrible two! He is actually a TERRIFIC two, but thank you for asking!”
I am quite sure that my comeback had little to no effect on the women in front of me. They probably left Target only to hit up another store with their “let’s beat down mothers everywhere” attitude.
The women behind me, they were mothers too – I could tell from their sweet and warm looks. They both gave me a “hey mama, you are doing great” smile. Their heads were slightly tilted in the angle that tells the other person “We have been there too. Your child is adorable and you are an awesome mom!”
Next time you are in a grocery store line and the person in front of you has a child, please automatically tilt your head at a 35 degree angle, give a little warm smile and nod to the mom – and for the LOVE OF GOD – do NOT call it the TERRIBLE twos! (That term is reserved for 3 year olds!)
More to come on this topic! Stay tuned!
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