Monday, August 22, 2011

My hands were actually tied, not full.

Friday I had a lovely day browsing through 4 stores with my 3 angelic children. One of them in particular was being just delightful.

This particular child told me (after I asked if they would be good while we walked through the store) NO. I sighed and hoped for the best. While waiting in the store a nice salesman (I'm sure he was just trying to be friendly) thoughtfully pointed out the complete obvious to me. Well, you've got you're hands full! Aw. How sweet of you to notice that I am holding a squirming 19 month old, holding the hand of "particular" child and my desired purchases while asking my oldest to please stop skipping around all the old ladies in the store lest he trip them and they break a hip. Thankfully I was with my mom. She was very helpful. But, unfortunately for me, she decided to start browsing after I told her I was ready to check out and in line to do so. It wasn't too bad, but it left me a little flustered and after a few too many attempts to keep the children corralled around me I went on ahead and strapped them in their car seats.
To the old ladies in the store: Yes, I noticed your disapproving glances as my children happily skipped down the aisle and spoke and maybe giggled. These things are normal and I don't mind as long as they are not screeching and running through the racks of clothes chasing each other.
However, I do mind when a particular child of the age three tells me "get your hands off of me!" loudly while I am holding him (it makes me look like I am kidnapping him) or withers around desperately trying to evade my firm grasp on his hand and making it seem as if I am purposely trying to twist and break off his arm. At a moment like that I whisper into his ear oh sweet child, just hold mommy's hand and you'll get a special surprise for being such a good boy. Unfortunately this doesn't work because he insists that he wants no part in having a special surprise. I can't even bribe him.

I am certain I scared that nice salesman when for a brief moment I hesitated after he uttered that phrase.... In that hesitation I think I may have simultaneously had smoke come from my ears and laser beams from my eyes all the while half smiling half snarling at him and then saying Yeah, I guess I do. In a really sweet voice, by the way. And then we casually spoke of how fast kids grow up and blah blah blah, yadda yadda  cherish them.
But why did that comment rattle me? I've gotten that plenty of times before and just shook my head and said Oh it's not that bad. They're really good. I guess this time I was kind of frustrated, I literally had my hands full and I found that comment completely unhelpful. I'm almost positive I looked like a distressed mother teetering on the edge with her circus monkey children hanging from her weary limbs.

There are times though, when I'm grocery shopping and a nice older lady will stop her basket and smile at the kids and touch my arm and say they remind me of my babies, so cute!  I had two (or three) and they were best friends and still are. But they grow up so fast.... y'all be good helpers for Mommy, now! That's it. We part ways with the kind stranger and I feel reassured. Reassured that I'm doing alright as a mom. That I will make it and my kids will make it. And they will grow up and I'll grow old and miss this. I'll miss wrangling them into a shopping basket and asking D to walk because he's a big boy and I need help pushing this big basket. I'll miss asking Ry to stop pushing Rose. And I'll really miss Rose hugging Ry in the middle of our shopping trip because she thinks his pushing is him trying to hug her.
I've been working really hard this year to be a calm and patient mother. I've taken many a deep breaths while remembering their ages. I remind myself many times to expect them to act their real age because having unrealistic expectations for a 4, 3 and 1 year old is the worst thing I can do to myself. I've turned back to my cooking while they shriek, happily and loudly, while running in circles through the house and find myself laughing instead of being annoyed by the noise. I let myself get frustrated and irritated too easily sometimes. I really try to hold it together in public, mainly because I want people to think I've got this under control. Sometimes I do and sometimes I don't. And it's ok. Because babies cry and 3 year olds are curious and 4 years olds sometimes have a bad attitude. Hopefully not all at once but I can be prepared for it.

And what is the point of your story, Mama? It's going to be alright. There's no need to prove to strangers that I don't have my hands full, because I do, but I like it. And when they say things that irritate me while I'm having a stressful time... I'll try not to stab them with my eyeballs. I'll look at my children and tell myself to chill out and take another deep breath.
Don't worry, I've got this under control!
As always,


  1. Mama, I have been following your blog for a while. You are a good writer. There should be some way to make that pay!

  2. Love this!

    I can't imagine three kiddos...and the stares...and the obvious comments...but I'm sure you are doing a great job. I don't turn my back on that cooking for a second. ha.

    that last photo is priceless!!!!