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Fat lady at shops with screaming child

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Fat lady at shops with screaming child

Next time you see a fat lady at the shopping centre with a screaming child, have a little compassion. That fat lady might just be me. Today it was. Or one day, that lady with the screaming kid might be you.

I worked in retail for five years. I had my fair share of moments of "argh, get that kid out of here" muttered under my breath. I now know how horrible that was for me to think that. I learned that lesson the hard away seven months ago when Alexis chucked her first public toddler tantrum. (It's worth circling back to that link when you're done here, I think). Today I got a fresh reminder. Of course it was my fault. I did take Alexis shopping when she should have been home having her sleep, and she did only play up because she was tired. I did tempt fate. What I never realised as a judgemental 17 year old though, is that we don't know the circumstances leading up to that point that drives a desperate mother to persevere with the shopping with a toddler screaming in the trolley. The fact is that we don't know what someone else is thinking or feeling, or what their day has been like, or what their week has been like. We don't know, so we should just keep out of it. The bible says, "Judge not, that ye be not judged (Matt 7:1)", which I think is good for us to remember.

One of my long-term goals with this blog is to provide insight into the life of a parent for those who don't yet have kids. Here's a prime opportunity. Maybe my story might stop you rolling your eyes next time you see that fat lady at the shops with the screaming kids.

A few days' history
On the weekend we just had I was pretty much a couch potato. I just was not feeling well. I did barely any housework, and I'm very thankful my friend came over for dinner Saturday night because I pretty much relied on her to watch Alexis while Corey was at a bucks night. I wasn't sure what was wrong with me I just didn't feel right. On Monday I was OK during the day but by the time Corey got home I was exhausted and cranky. I fell asleep while I was supposed to be watching Alexis while he finished getting dinner ready and I didn't even notice she was scratching a chunk of paint out of the wall (of our rental house). Lets just say that didn't go down too well.

On Tuesday I had a routine midwife appointment and the midwife told me my routine blood tests a few weeks ago showed low iron levels. That's something that would have been nice to know a few weeks ago, considering I was finding it hard to breathe, was lethargic, cranky, dizzy, and had mega headaches. It serves me right for not calling up to get my results. They had said they would call me if anything was really wrong, so I didn't worry. My levels were in range, hence why they didn't call, but on the low side of in range. Considering all the other symptoms I've had, the midwife said to start taking iron tablets. I agreed. I did biochemistry at uni as well as immunology, so I know full well that iron is necessary for haemoglobin (a key component of red blood cells, which transfer oxygen and carbon dioxide around your body) and a healthy immune system. Throughout my pregnancy I have always made sure I eat food high in iron and I've also taken a pregnancy multivitamin every day. Apparently I just wasn't getting enough though. This is most likely because my pregnancies were pretty close together and I was still feeding Alexis for the first three months or so of this pregnancy, so my iron reserves were next to nothing. I left the appointment relieved to know what was wrong, and that it was something relatively easy to fix.

After the appointment on Tuesday I went grocery shopping and bought lots of meat and veg, because, well, any excuse to buy lamb right? It bucketed down rain when I was loading the car, so Alexis and I got saturated. We then had to go to the chemist (which meant we had to go to a different shopping complex) to buy iron tablets. We eventually got home and put the groceries away, and then my dad came over. THANKS DAD! He amused Alexis for a few hours while I took my tablet, showered, dried my hair, and rested. I felt a little queasy but didn't think much of it. Whilst I was still tired Tuesday night I felt better than I had in weeks.

Yesterday (Wednesday) morning was going well, until I took my iron tablet and had some food. They recommend to take it with orange juice but I didn't have any (forgot to get some with the groceries on Tuesday, oops), so I had it with a mandarin. I felt queasy so I had some potato chips as they usually help settle my tummy. A bit later I got a headache and realised I hadn't had any caffiene so scoffed a tim-tam (or maybe two). A bit later I was feeling really really dodgy, so sat down. Alexis brought a few of her favourite books up to me to read. Suddenly I had to be sick and I had absolutely NO warning. I sicked up all over my shirt, my pants, my socks, the floor, Alexis' books, the wall, and yes, even my own daughter. Words cannot describe how horrible I felt. Alexis thought it was funny (of course), and ran around spreading the damage as I scrambled to clean up the vast majority of the sick before she could get to it. I'm actually quite proud of how well I coped with the situation, cleaning up, showering Alexis and I, and then driving her around to put her to sleep because I just did not have the energy to deal with a huge sleep time routine. I asked my facebook friends for advice and they said take the tablets with orange juice next time. OK.

I organised for Corey to get some OJ and a few other things on his way home from work, but by the time that came around I was exhausted so I called him and said, "please just come straight home. Alexis and I will go shopping in the morning". That was the plan, to buy myself some orange juice mid-morning and then come home and put Alexis to sleep before taking my tablet, so if I sicked up again at least she would be out of harms way. It was a good plan, but children like to mess with plans.

Shopping day, before going to the shops
Alexis wet the bed this morning. Which is no mean feat considering she's in nappies. She weed through the nappy, through her PJs, through the sheets, and onto the woolen underlay and also through the doona cover onto the doona. What a champion effort. Corey kicked the first load off for me (thanks honey) before he left. All I had to do was hang the doona and underlay on the line and do the second load of sheets and doona cover. Easy. It was even a bright sunny morning. Alexis and I made the most of the sunshine and played outside between hanging the first and second load out. (I've learned to put the second load on BEFORE I go outside to hang the first load, it is so much more efficient). I took the opportunity to hose off her messy mat. She found the garden hose and started playing with it. I knew I had turned the tap off so I wasn't worried, but what I forgot was that there's a reserve in the hose. Our trigger nozzle stops water coming out when you take your hand off, but if you squeeze it again or shake it in a certain way, a lot of water gushes out quite quickly. Alexis drenched us both. It was fun though, and it was warm enough, so I filled up her little bucket and watering can and we had some water play for the first time in ages. Then we played play doh. Then the other load finished and we hung it out, but I ran out of room of the clothesline so I had to transfer some to the dryer. I changed Alexis and fed her morning tea. Once the dryer finished I put some sheets on her bed because I expected her to fall asleep on the way home from shopping.

Then the sky turned dark. I rushed out and grabbed the doona and underlay off the line and draped them over the couch (they're probably covered in all matter of nasties now) and chucked the "do not tumble dry" doona cover in the dryer. Ooh, I haven't checked it's still ok yet.... meh. I locked up the house, chucked Alexis in the car ("no sweetheart, you're too young to drive, get in your carseat please"), and we were on our way. As I said, it looked like it was going to rain, so I drove the extra 10 minutes or so to the shopping centre with the under cover carpark instead of going to our local one. I stuck her wiggles CD on so she wouldn't fall asleep on the way.

At the shops
Once I had found a carpark, done my hair, found my handbag and wallet etc etc, I let Alexis out of the car and guided her towards the entrance. I endured the tears over not letting her ride in the first $2 ride we passed. I was busting to pee (of course) but we didn't have the pram so we had to walk to woolies to find a trolley so I could put her in it. I didn't want to walk back to the parents room so I headed to the disabled toilet/baby change station. Past the $2 big red car ride. More tears. There was a queue for the disabled toilet, and I couldn't wait, so I scooped Alexis out of the trolley and used the ladies. She just had to stand on the floor and wait. Good thing I'd put her in shoes today. Then I had to get her back in the trolley, poor kid. Back past the big red car ride towards woolworths. Of course I have no coins. Full fledged tantrum by now. Now I am officially the lady in the shopping centre with the screaming child.

So I did what all desperate mothers do, and bribed her with food. In all honesty I was hungry myself, and I wanted to make sure I ate BEFORE I took my iron tablet, so that if I sicked up after taking it atleast I would have something in my tummy. Plus I didn't want to eat much after I took my tablet (remember yesterday!). I had no cash, and there were no atms, so we head off to maccas. I had been wanting to try the McFeast anyway. I ordered a McFeast meal for me and some nuggets for Alexis. Subconsciously I could feel peoples eyes burning into my skull, "what's that fatty need maccas for and what's she feeding that kid maccas for". If they realised I was pregnant (I do look pregnant, coz I am, but I wear loose clothes so it's not always obvious) then they would have known I was drinking coke (so shoot me) because they were out of discrete maccas cups and it had to be in a clear plastic one didn't it. I then broke convention of "pay us then stand aside and wait while we serve seven other people so you can stand here and wait for your food together" while I bought a pop top water for Alexis because I had forgot to before. Finally some lady came out, shoved a paper bag at me, and walked off. So I took the trolley with Alexis, my bag, and my flimsy leaky cup over to a table. There were no nuggets in the bag. So I walked back over, waited for somebody to acknowledge my existence, and said, "you forgot the nuggets". Expecting, "sorry", or "we'll bring there's out to you," I just got a rude gruff, "there's a wait on nuggets".

Now I'm the rude impatient cow at maccas with the screaming kid
"Well thanks for letting me know," I said, "that would have been real helpful."
I then apologised to the customer next to me and said, "it's been one of those days, and she's starving." Alexis is screaming her head off by now, partly because she's tired, partly because she's hungry, and partly because mummy is getting cranky. He smiled and nodded. I then stood, at the counter, eating my McFeast, because I'm an impatient cow being pregnant means I need to eat my food while it's hot, for the safety of the baby. I offered Alexis some, and she ate it, lettuce and all (she's never had lettuce before although we've offered it multiple times). So we shared my meal at the counter then they finally brought her nuggets out and we sat down and shared those.

In the grocery store itself I'm the negligent mother who's child pulls things off and throws them on the floor
Alexis actually wasn't too bad at woolworths, thankfully, because she had some food in her belly and a water bottle to play with. I was, however, one of those mothers who let the child pull things off the shelves and didn't put them back properly. I had a fair bit of stuff to get (the Tuesday shop was at a place that has cheap meat and veg but I don't buy anything else there coz you'll pay the earth for it, so yes I'm one of those tight-arses frugal mums who buys different things from different shops). I also let Alexis play with freezer bags (terrible mother!) and let her bite the toothbrush packet (yuck, germs!). Anything to keep her quiet and not have the sooking start up again. We did everything as quickly as possible, got to the car (with another burst of tears for me not letting her go on the initial $2 ride as we passed it again), and loaded the groceries into the car.

Why do people have to park right next to the pregnant lady trying to get into the car when the carpark is virtually empty?
Then some lady in a 4WD missed my car by centimeters as she insisted on parking right next to me even though there were a zillion other parking spaces to choose from. I somehow squeezed myself into the drivers seat without hitting my car door on hers, but man it was tempting. Please, people, please. If you see a whale pregnant lady is loading her car, could you possibly choose somewhere else to park instead of right beside her? PLEASE!?

After the fact
I'm a terrible mother who drove around an extra few minutes so my child fell asleep in the car so I didn't have to deal with her while putting the groceries away. When I picked her limp sleeping body up out of the carseat and realised her pants were soaked from the water bottle I'd let her play with at the supermarket, I put her in bed anyway. Yes, onto the nice clean sheets. Why? Because I just could not deal with her crying while I put the groceries away and took my tablet. With orange juice. The orange juice that broke through the bag and banged onto the garage floor as I got it out of the car, of course. Fortunately the bottle did not break, it is only a little dented, and is still quite fit to drink. I took my tablet, with juice, and feel fine. Can I get an "amen?". If that bottle had broken I think I would have lost it. Then I would have been

One of those silly pregnant ladies who cries over the stupidest little things.
Judge not, remember. Stupid little things are almost never stupid little things to those crying over them. :)


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At August 26, 2011 at 9:57 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, another joyful day in Mummyland. What always astounds me is the way people look at you like you are an alien when you are The Mother With The Screaming Child. Why don't they say "hey, can I give you a hand?" or even just ignore you and let you get on with it? It's the judging that gets me.

Don't worry - it DOES get easier!

At August 26, 2011 at 10:26 AM , Blogger The Mother Experiment said...

:-) thanks Dr Bron.

At August 26, 2011 at 2:27 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

you poor dear.
I know what it's like to be all of those mums. xx

At August 26, 2011 at 3:00 PM , Blogger Erin @ Eat Play Bond said...

you are officially awarded the crappiest week award. i hope next week is better, and you don't run out of OJ :)

At August 26, 2011 at 3:26 PM , Blogger The Mother Experiment said...

Thanks tattoomummy and Erin :)

At August 26, 2011 at 11:42 PM , Blogger Mum's the word said...

ouf sounds like a really bad week.. we all have them take courage lol! it probably will be me next week :P


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