Saturday, March 21, 2009

Mom Smell This

As the circumstances of my life have evolved, so has my definition of “ambitious.”

Age: 21
Ambitious: “Applying to intern for John Stossel.”

Age: 29
Ambitious: “Deciding to take ALL three kids, ALL by myself, to Costco.”


One infant
One toddler
One preschooler
Two in diapers (which is actually preferable to the one out of diapers, who generally waits until we’re in the middle of the checkout line to announce that she has to go NOW)
Three carseats, one shopping cart,
…All in a city where the average number of children per household is -1 (I’m no census taker – Is that what you get when you add 1 child + 2 nannies?)

Against the odds (and in spite of the inordinate amount of prep work involved), I actually love running errands with all three kids. I’m convinced that someday I’m going to miss leaving the grocery store and noticing that Leah is inexplicably wearing less clothes than when we entered (actually happened), or unloading the cart and finding various items we didn’t pay for (actually happened twice).

Yes, I’ve had to abandon a full cart when the baby wouldn’t stop screaming. And yes, Leah sometimes forgets that the produce aisle isn’t her own personal salad bar. But on good days, the kids are actually quite helpful. They can count potatoes, help me decide which cereal to buy and, for the benefit of everyone around us, loudly confirm what kind of personal items I’m putting in my cart.

And on bad days? Well, at least I get to come home with a little extra humility.

And something to blog about.

"Mom Smell This,” a true story:

On a recent day out, somewhere between the car and the entrance to Vons, Jolie became distracted and dropped out of the ranks.

“Jolie catch up.”

She wouldn’t.

“Jolie, let’s GO.”

“No Mom. Come SMELL THIS.”

“I’ll smell it later Jolie (???). You have to stay with us.”

She held her ground.

"No, SMELL this. It is sooo gross.”


"That smells so nasty.”

There was no point arguing. She was fixated on something behind a row of shopping carts and wasn’t going to move until I smelled it. (I admit, I was curious.) I walked back to see what on earth she had stumbled into.

Oh, heaven help me.

It was a man, sitting on the sidewalk in front of her, smoking a cigarette.

She looked at him.

"Mom, doesn’t that smell nasty?”





Fortunately, as in the law of small animals, he seemed to be more afraid of me than I was of him.
He spoke first.

“You’re right kid. (Inhale) It’s a terrible habit. (Blow) I’m trying to quit.”

“I’m very sorry sir. Please excuse her.”

I dragged her away, along with the other two, and then,

"Good luck with that.”

I said it, about the whole 'trying to quit' thing.

As we entered the store,

I think he was tempted to say it back.


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