I had to run into the store real quick this afternoon to grab a few essentials. I had paid a babysitter for two hours and the time wasn’t up yet, so I thought it was the perfect time to run the errand. Shopping with Little Man is very difficult. If you haven’t read past posts, I’ll catch you up. In the last 14 months at the grocery store Little Man has…
-Thrown cranberry juice from the shopping cart (which exploded and went EVERYWHERE!)
-Hit a fellow shopper in the face.
-Pulled things off of the shelves.
-Thrown canned food at people.
-Screamed and screamed throughout the store.
-Hit and Kicked me.
-Opened grocery items and spilled them on the floor.
Reached out and pulled a stranger’s hair.
And the list goes on, but you get the idea. I have learned to plan ahead, make lists, and to take every opportunity to do my shopping while Little Man is home playing with a babysitter or at school. We have a four day weekend this week, so this was my last chance.
I walked into the store and immediately heard a familiar sound. It was a screaming, yelling, wailing toddler. I grabbed my basket and headed to get my first item on the list. As I filled the basket, the sounds grew louder and louder until in frozen foods, I saw them. Mother and child. Mom looked exhausted. She had an expression on her face that showed she knew people were looking. She had her arms around her daughter, trying to console her to get the screaming to stop. It wasn’t working. I felt an immediate connection to this mother. She was just trying to grab stuff for dinner. She wasn’t trying to ruin everyone’s day. She was a mother of a toddler, very similar to mine. A child who is dis-regulated and cannot “just stop” or “calm down.” Maybe her mama gave her the wrong color sippy cup or maybe her pants felt weird or maybe the store smelled funny! Whatever it was, this child was not happy and there was nothing that mama could do about it. So, as I walked briskly by her I made eye contact and smiled. Not a pity smile, but a real smile. One that said, “I understand, I’ve been there. You may not feel like it, but you’re doing a great job!”