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.



Taylor and Jodi said...

that's the funniest thing I have heard today. and in a while. your blog cracks me up.

Susan said...

Your story had me on the edge of my seat. I never thought I'd be relieved to hear that a smell was caused by cigarette smoke.

Never a dull moment in Erbville!

Amy & Allen Waples said...

I loved that story!! The twist at the end was not what I expected.

That is a huge accomplishment in my book that you ventured out to Costco with all 3 kids. I have actually sat in the parking lot when I had both kids with me and gone over the the risks and benefits of this shopping trip before I pump myself up to go in and shop...ahhhh, gotta love it!

Courtney Vance said...

Your kids crack me up. She could of said a lot worse I guess.

ahe said...

I love that picture. I knew it had to be Costco because they are the only store with super-sized shopping carts. Love it! And the story... Classic!

Jane said...

I love this story SO much. That was the funnest reading I have had in weeks. And lets talk about this picture, OH MY GOSH!! The photo is absolutle perfection.

Lorie said...

I always get so excited when my Google Reader tells me there is a new post from you! I *heart* your stories!

Now we know why God made Jolie so stinking cute! ;D

Flem said...

Jolie has a life of community organizing ahead of her. Either that or interviewing "man on the street" style. Maybe she will live up to your ambitions at age 21.

michelle said...

It's probably a sign that I spend too much time mooning over office supplies I don't need when I can tell exactly which aisle you are on in the photo.

Jeannie said...

Oh how I needed a good laugh! We really miss you guys. Warren has mentioned Jolie at least 2 times since we've been here.

Thanks for the comedy, even if it was at the expense of your own sanity.

me said...

No other blog can make me laugh so hard that I cry! Could you please blog on a daily basis? I'd pay you! :)

Julie Knowlton said...

Oh the possibilities that went through my mind when I read what Jolie was smelling. I am a bit embarrassed to admit what they were. I love her.

Maryann said...

I'm so relieved to know that I'm not the only person who discovers unpaid items in their cart just after I've loaded the kids in the car. I absolutely love that story!

Emmers said...

OH MY GOSH!!!!!! THAT IS CLASSIC!!!!! I love your stories! They are the cutest thing ever. I love your picture too. I would have never even thought of taking a pic at that angle. So cute!!!!!!!! You are so creative!

Dawn said...

Oh yes, the adventures of shopping with 3 small children. The stories I could tell. . .

I love it when the kids say "Mom, that man has tattoos, that's bad! We don't get tattoos do we?" And it's all said really loud, basically to the person's face.

I know people think we're nuts when we walk in with all three kids, especially where you live!

Aileen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aileen said...

I told you I would SKYPE-SIT anytime you want! Unbeknownst to you, many of the career-minded Santa Barbarabarbarita-ans-istas-ites women see your cute wee ones and go home to give motherhood a long, hard second-thought. What could be better???

Krista said...

Jolie is a girl after my own heart! I just can't help but say the most embarrasing thing that comes to my mind. At least she is young enough not to know better.

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