As usual, I was racing around trying to get Jack and Regan to their respective sports practices when I vaguely recalled someone telling me we were out of peanut butter. And lunch meat. And bread. And milk. And apoo joose. So, between dropping them off I had 20 minutes to kill. Always an opportunist, I decided to go for it. As we approached the grocery store, Regan asked if she could go in with me to "help." For a moment, time stood still as I recalled my last trip to the grocery store with Regan . . .
Not long ago, I took Regan grocery shopping with me and at the end of the check-out line she gasped in horror when the bill totaled $108.00. She had been in charge of following the grocery list I had written for her and she immediately began comparing the list to what was actually in the cart. She said, "there are only 15 things on the list and you bought 30 things!!!" I explained that if I put "Kleenex" on the list and buy 4 boxes of Kleenex, that is not an unlawful departure from my shopping list. I explained to her, for example, that "orange juice" was on the list and that we bought two jugs of orange juice--again, this is not a transgression.
She was undeterred. She looked at the check-out clerk and said, "$108.00??? My mom just spent over one-hundred dollars!" Then as we were maneuvering our cart toward the car she said, "if you ever go on a date, I'm going to have to have a little talk with him about how much money you spend at the grocery store." I rolled my eyes and told her to get over it, but, here--I'll save her the trouble: If you are my future husband and you happen to be reading this, be warned: I once spent $108.00 at the grocery store. And here's another word of warning to my future husband: I have an over-reactive kid hell-bent on histrionics. And, oh yeah, she had head lice last week. Still interested?
As anyone who is widowed with four kids will tell you--escaping from the grocery store for a mere $108 feels like thievery. (Mike, am I right or am I right?) Even more so when one of your kids is still in diapers (assuming he's not in the mood to go Commando) and more so yet when that same kid goes through more than his fair share of paper towels due to his peculiar habit of polishing all non-porous kitchen surfaces.
So, after reliving this flash-back, I decided to let Regan "help" me anyway. This time she was very well behaved and even helped bag the groceries. But, I'm sure I haven't heard the last of her reprimands.
Because, here is another fun-fact about Regan: She's a Prohibitionist. She has a throat-clutching primordial aversion to the idea of anyone drinking alcohol--especially me. We went to a friend's party in January with a mixed crowd of adults and children, and Regan wondered what there was to drink. I gave her a run-down of options and she said, "well, what are you drinking?" And I said, nonchalantly, "Rum and coke." Her eyes got wide and she immediately sputtered "You're drinking alcohol??" I said, "yeah?" She said, "Mom. You could get drunk! Don't get drunk. Stop drinking alcohol." She started to quiz me about how many drinks I had had; whether I was going to drive home; etc. She meant business and I'm sure anyone within ear-shot immediately assumed I'm an alcoholic and that my poor innocent child was--yet again--having to coax me onto the wagon. In actuality, this was the first time I had ever been on the receiving end of her wrath and I was somewhat taken aback. Despite my rock-star lifestyle, I am a very conservative drinker and I know for certain none of my children have seen me drunk or anything close to it so I don't know where this reaction came from, but I have since learned this is just her natural response to anything she finds distasteful or offensive (like a $108 grocery bill). I had to suffer the same reprimand last night before band practice.
I had some left over Corona in the fridge after having had friends over a couple of weeks ago. I don't drink beer and so it was merely taking up space in my refrigerator. I decided that since yesterday was Cinco de Mayo, I should take the beer to band practice last night and distribute it to the guys in celebration of the occasion. As I was pulling out of the driveway, I realized I forgot to grab the beer. Regan was playing in the yard, so I yelled to her to "go grab the beer out of the refrigerator so I can take it to Kevin's." She came back with one bottle of Corona in her hand. I said, "No. I need all the bottles." She said, "Why? are you going to drink it? I thought you just wanted one for Kevin." And then she was off to the races: "Don't drink it Mom. Don't drink alcohol! Are you going to drive with it in your car?" And as she brought the remainder of the six-pack to the car she opened the passenger-side door and discreetly placed it on the floorboard and even tried to lay it flat to further obscure it from view. I told her, "Regan. It's fine. It's left-overs that I'm taking to the guys. I'm not going to drink it and since the bottles aren't open I can drive with it in the car." So, Regan will likely enjoy a nice long career in law enforcement. But she's not going to be very popular in college.
Now a few side notes:
Confidential to the people in the next booth at Denny's tonight: from the looks on your faces I can only assume you have never seen a two year-old simultaneously defeat the laws of physics and break the sound barrier, so Congratulations on being there as Finn made history. And on a related note, I sincerely apologize for all you endured.
Confidential to Everyone Else: To make a long story short, the kids' sports practices were cancelled tonight shortly after they started due to lightening and rain so we decided to go out to dinner for fun. However, that fun was anything but when Finn started acting like he was possessed by a rabid monkey (one apparently trained as a Hollywood stuntman, no less). His bi-polar mood swings and screeching and writhing were so ungodly it made me want to call a priest. Aubrey pretty much summed up the situation when she said, "Good thing you're biologically programmed to love him and feed him." Because only a mother could simultaneously feel so hot and defeated with frustration and exhaustion (and embarrassment) that she is nearly in tears and also feel love and forgiveness when the source of her frustration/exhaustion tries to make her laugh by being silly as he drinks orange juice from a cup designed to look like an alien's head.
Confidential to my Mom: After dinner, we went to Target to get a birthday present for Jack's friends' upcoming birthday party. Finn's mood prevailed, so the kids hurriedly picked out your Mother's Day card while I tried to unglue Finn from his face-down, spread-eagle, crying stance in the dead-center of the main aisle. (Jim, I see now why that is a successful defensive move in Wrestling . . .minus the crying, of course). I hope they picked something appropriate. If not, I'll just send you one of the cards you are sending me. :-)
With Love to All,