So the wife and I took our 2 year old son out with us tonight to High Street in the Fort. We try to do things with him where it’s just us, without his brother. We want to make sure that even though his newborn brother is getting a lot of attention these days, he’s still a priority in this family. I actually really enjoy these times with him. There are definitely times when I want to be selfish and have him all to myself. I’m sure he feels the same way about sharing his parents with his new brother. So it works out.
Anyway, we found ourselves in Fully Booked. My wife was perusing the aisles and I was chasing around the boy as he ran, no, flew through the racks of hard-bound books.
As a parent, every second counts when watching your child, especially in a public place. Thankfully, most people are really nice when it comes to cutting your kid some slack. Except for this one person. But I’ll get to that a bit later.
Like I said, my kid just turned two and in my eyes, he’s a ticking time bomb. I’ve heard almost every parent I’ve met talk about the terrible twos. ‘Watch out’ they say. ‘Good luck’ they say. ‘Nothing you can do but hope they turn three real soon’ they say. I’ve even seen it with my own eyes. *shudder*
It hasn’t happened yet to my son. YET. But I’ve seen it happen to other children. I’ve seen things I cannot unsee. The shrieking. The crying. The wailing. They all sound like horror movie titles and it couldn’t be more true. When a child is going through a tantrum, unless you’re their parent, you run. You run hard.
So back to the ticking time bomb. Well, he’s still ticking and somewhere in the pit of my stomach, a sliver of hope remains that maybe, just maybe he’ll be one of those kids who completely skips the terrible twos. But then as I chased him down the graphic novel section into the visual arts section of the store, which to me, is a weird sight in itself since I have longer legs and the speed of a jungle cat yet am still pathetically trying to keep up, I came to a realization.
There’s no way we’re avoiding the terrible twos. One, he’s incredibly strong-willed. Just as an example, while we were in the music section, I had him in a vise-like grip Bret the Hitman Hart would have been proud of because daddy tired from running so we stand here and look at the pretty books first ok?
The boy was having none of it. He wiggled and woozled, twisted and turned and broke out of my sleeper hold in under a minute. I set him back down on the ground to which he immediately made a run for freedom. I grabbed my back and scrunched my face like I had just wrestled with a crocodile (and lost). I watched him run a victory lap.
But just as I was catching my breath (about the only thing I could catch tonight) my wife suddenly screamed, “He’s heading for the escalator!” I swear, her voice was like hearing the gunshot of the 100-meter dash. Except the gun was pointed at my head.
You know when you’re in an accident, or in a dangerous situation, everything happens in slow motion? That shit didn’t happen for me. I don’t know how, but I freakin’ teleported myself 20 paces to where the boy was and I grabbed him with both hands before he could take another step. Thankyoujesusmywife’snotgoingtokillmethankyou.
And it wasn’t even dinner time yet.
So let’s fast forward to dinner time cuz that’s when stuff goes down. The wife suggests I take the boy down to the mini Starbucks inside Fully Booked and get him a sandwich.
“Sure”, I say.
But in between the SU and RE, this thought went through my mind – What? Just me and the boy? Me? Feed the boy alone? We have a hard time feeding him at home and now I have to feed him by myself in a mini Starbucks amid the chaos of people sipping their lattes and drinking their fraps. I have to go do this alone right now? But oh the guilt of almost letting our son ride the escalator alone where his shoes might have gotten caught in those steel jaws is just too much, I’ll do anything to make up for this near disaster. Ok I’ll do it, sure.
Carrying the hungry one in my arms, we arrive at the coffee shop and my first hurdle. What to order. I glaze over the refrigerated window, looking at the stacks of choices. Christmas turkey and chicken sandwich. Classic egg salad sandwich. Spam and egg sandwich. Plain croissant. Cinnamon roll. Despite seeing all the possibilities in front of me, I ask the barista for choices anyway who basically tells me everything I already know.
I look at the hungry one and ask him what he wants to eat which is kind of silly now that I think about it, since he pretty much said yes to every food item I suggested.
It’s funny how little things like deciding what to feed your child can really stress you out. Sometimes you just have to play the hand that you’re dealt and tell the dealer, I’m all in with the Christmas turkey sandwich.
We grab some orange juice as well and I hand over my card to the barista. The credit card machine takes a while so I let the boy sit on the counter and rest my aching arms. The boy and I are talking when I notice the young lady beside me acting a bit impatiently.
I have this thing about personal space where uh, I need my personal space. This lady was invading my personal space. And the personal space of my son. So I’m like, mmm-kay…. I take the boy and we move over to the beans, never mind that my arms are about to fall off. We give her her space. She gives the barista the evil eye as if she’s been walking the desert like a camel without coffee. Unfortunately, he can’t help her yet cuz he’s still processing my card.
So. She’s now taken over the entire width of the counter and I’ve got a wild animal in my arms. Lovely. Eventually, the barista flags the receipts for me to sign. Alas, there is a hippopotamus blocking the way. I guess she realizes that she isn’t going to get served until I sign the receipt so she moves over ever so slightly.
I honestly don’t know what this woman’s problem is. Maybe she’s having a bad day. But at this point, I don’t really care. I have to hold my child with one shaky arm and sign with my other shaky arm, which at this point, is writing chicken scratch. And if she’s reading this, yes, I did intentionally bump you! Counter hoarder!
Well, that was that. But if I could give her some piece of advice it would be this. One day when you’re a parent, you’ll look back on this and realize what a big, giant asshole you’re being.
Look, I get it, you’re young and really into yourself. But is it so hard to show a little kindness? Parents need kindness too.