Once upon a time (like 11 months ago or so), I was one of the many that tend to shudder at the sound of a screaming child. Who frowned at the parents of the aforementioned screamers, thinking “Why don’t they shut that kid up? They must be bad parents.”
Which, I guess means that on Friday, I officially became a Bad Mommy.
Tori and I had had a good week, so I was feeling kind of full of myself. I thought I had our routine down pat, and could predict her fussy periods almost down to the minute. So, after giving her her twelve o’clock feeding, I loaded her into the car seat and headed out for an afternoon of errands.
We made it through Walmart just fine. So then I decided to make a trip to Sam’s Club. And not just any garden variety Sam’s Club trip. No, I decided to get my eyes checked while I was there. After all, she was scheduled to sleep for at least another hour. Plenty of time to remedy my contact-less plight, right?
She made it through the cart-filling portion of the expedition okay. And as a matter of fact, I got halfway through the eye exam without a single peep from my little baby dinosaur.
But then she woke up. In a foul, foul mood. Which means that she went from sleeping to explosive rage in oh, about 1.5 seconds.
Luckily, the doctor was a fairly new mom herself, so she agreed to wait while I settled her down. I cuddled her. Rocked her. Made all the shushing noises the books tell you to. And the screams just got louder.
Needless to say, the exam got cut short. But I still had to pay for my groceries, so I made my way to the cash register, looking for the shortest possible line.
Unfortunately, that line was short because the cashier was a nimrod. I’m going to assume he was new, because otherwise, this guy was so incompetent that he should have been immediately fired and replaced with someone with half a brain.
I waited while he asked for not one, but three price checks (at least, it seemed that way). And then had to have someone show him how to do something. And then…well, I don’t know what came next, because by that time, Tori was having a nuclear meltdown. I swear, her screams probably could have been heard in the next zip code. And I felt like every single eye in the whole place was on me, judging me, and finding my parenting skills sadly lacking.
The lady behind me actually said, “You know, I think she’s hungry. See how she’s sticking her fingers in her mouth?”
No shit, Sherlock.
Unfortunately, since my baby won’t accept a boob, I can’t just find a quiet corner and feed her. Nope, she has to have a bottle. And idiot me had left the diaper bag in the car.
After waiting in line for several thousand years, I gave up and wheeled my cart behind the head cashier, promising to come back to pay for them shortly. He looked rather alarmed and said, “You’re taking the baby, right?”
I glared at him, scooped her up and ran for the car, feeling the judging eyes bore into my back.
Luckily, relief was just seconds away. Or so I thought.
But when I opened up the diaper bag, the cooler I keep the bottles in was not where it was supposed to be. Nor was it in the perma-layer of garbage on the floor. Or in the front seat. In fact, it was nowhere in the car.
Turns out, Bad Mommy had left the food on the kitchen counter.
At that point, I almost started sobbing myself.
Instead, I locked her in place and headed for home, turning the music up to level 11 in an attempt to block out the screams.
It was the longest ten minute drive of my life.
I had to send Brian back for the groceries – I don’t think I’ll have the courage to show my face there again for a while.
So, to all you mommies who have ever been stuck with screaming kids in public places, I’d like to extend my apologies. I shouldn’t have judged you. Please return the favor?