The Tale Of Shopping At Walmart Before A Snowstorm

I barely survived Friday.  JDubbs forgot to bring Jax’s snowpants to school, our heater went on the fritz while the temperature hovered around 25 degrees, Baby H was bitten on the nose by an acquaintance’s two-year-old at a holiday singalong–all before ten o’clock.  In and of themselves, this could have been enough to make me put on Christmas movies for four hours straight while I regrouped and pinned perfectly decorated homes that I will never be able to duplicate on Pinterest.  However, JDubbs was back after being gone for two days and I had had a decent night’s sleep, so I was taking chaos in stride a bit more serenely than usual.  Baby H was fine–although she is still sporting terrible red marks on either side of her nose–and I assured the mother that these things happen, which they do!  I have been the mother of a very pushy and physical boy for too long to blame a contrite mother for an accident.  So even in the face of baby abuse, I was still feeling good about my day.

I should have cut my losses and gone home.  Instead, I pressed my luck to the point where no healthy mother should go, compounding slushy weather with tired baby and overstimulated preschoolers and rolled it all into a ball of insanity called Shopping At Walmart Before A Snowstorm.  Oh, yes, during the holidays.  Brilliant maneuver, to be sure.

It all started with baby poop noises.  All well and good that H does it before we go into the store, I thought since I loathe public bathrooms.  I climbed into the back of the van, leaving John Denver and The Muppets singing Christmas carols to entertain Jax and Em.  I pulled the baby out of her car seat, laid her blanket down on the floor and started getting her undressed while humming along to Christmas Is Coming and keeping an eye on Jax’s snowboot which could plop down on Baby H’s head with one enthusiastic kick.  I grabbed the diaper and wipes out of my bag and stripped the baby down.  My knees were starting to get a bit wet from the residual snow that the kids tramped into the van with them, so I hurried to open the wipes and get this over with. To my shock and dismay, the entire package of wipes was frozen solid from being left in the van overnight;  I couldn’t even scrape one off the top.  Not that I would put a frozen wipe on H’s butt–I had visions of that kid from A Christmas Story with his tongue stuck to a flagpole and wondered what I would do if the baby’s bum met a similar fate.  Since this was a very messy endeavor, I started rummaging through the diaper bag for anything I could wipe her with, and while distracted, H took the opportunity to slam her legs and feet into the dirty diaper, soiling her pants and fleece booties.  Shit.  Literally.  Everywhere.  Now the baby was flinging poop near and far, trying to grab at her filthy toes, and I still had nothing to clean any of it up with, plus my knees were soaked in earnest and the water was traveling up my jeans like a puddle.  Jax and Em were singing at the top of their lungs and I was starting to sweat.  I finally found a burp cloth and used that to clean up the mess, found a pair of pants for H, but no socks.  Shit again.  It was really so frigid out that I couldn’t consider taking the baby out into the parking lot with nothing on her feet–I was guaranteed to be stopped every two feet by disapproving grandmothers and tsking strangers.  Then I remembered that Em had refused to put her socks back on after the singalong and had just put on her boots, so I had a pair of her socks in my pocket at the very moment.  Perfect.  Em’s feet were warm enough and H would not get frostbite.  Problem solved, baby dressed, kids still bellowing but we were getting out of the car so Christmas carols were soon to be forgotten.  Moving on.


We climbed out of the van and I kept Jax and Em next to me while searching my pockets for my keys.  The parking lot was a slushy, disgusting mess as only a New England parking lot in December can be, and of course, in the seven seconds I required to locate my keys, Jax took the opportunity to knock Em over into a slush puddle, in her white leggings.  Em started to wail, Jax tried to deny any wrongdoings, I hoisted her up to assess the damage.  Not only were her pants not salvageable, she was soaking wet.  Back into the van, back into the diaper bag where I didn’t even bother to search for a new pair of underwear with the kids still potentially capable of running into the parking lot.  She could go commando in her backup pants, which, I realized, were a full size too small.  Deciding clean pants that were too short were better than unwashed Walmart pants, I grabbed them and dragged my three into the store.  I did stop to give money to the Salvation Army Santa, however, because I definitely could have used a bit of good karma right then.


We headed straight for the bathroom where I laid my jacket on the ground for the baby to sit on and told Em to strip out of her pants.  Jax started running around the bathroom like a maniac, waving his arms and singing Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat! as loud as he could.  Ignoring him for the more pressing problems, I helped Em out of her boots a nanosecond too late before I realized she didn’t have any socks on.  I am pretty sure I could have been physically ill as I looked at her bare feet on the wet, dirty, slushy, Walmart bathroom floor.  Swallowing my bile, I urged her to continue getting undressed as I tossed her dirty pants into the trash, which of course caused a freaking scene.


“Why are you throwing them AWAY??  Those are my FAVORITE pants!”
“No, they’re not, you’re fine.”
“Yes, they ARE!!”


Realizing I was wasting precious moments arguing with a three-year-old, I told her I would buy her new pants.


“Just please put these on and get your boots back on so we can get off the floor!”
“No, I have to go potty,” and she scurried across the entire bathroom with her too-small emergency pants around her ankles and NO SHOES ON and locked herself into a stall.  Cue shudder of repulsion.


Jax was now ricocheting back and forth from the mirrors to the hand dryers, continuing with his song.  Christmas is coming the goose is getting fat!  Please do put a penny in the old man’s hat!  “Jax, please stop singing, this is a public bathroom.”  If you haven’t got a penny, a ha’penny will do!  “Jax, you need stop right now or we’re–” If you haven’t got a ha’penny then GOD BLESS YOU!  GOD BLESS YOU!  “Jax!  ENOUGH!”


Did I mention that during all this, the baby had crawled off my jacket and was not on her hands and knees on said disgusting bathroom floor?  Oh, yes.


Scooped up the baby, swatted her brother, helped wiped Em’s butt and got her in her boots, got my jacket off the floor, forced the girls to both wash their hands, all to the increasingly loud chorus of God Bless You!  God Bless You! which, if your kid is going to drive you batshit crazy, at least he’s not quoting Eminem or something.  I’ll take that as a win.  And at least nobody came into the bathroom to witness chaos personified.  So what if I wanted to go bathe my children in bleach when we got home, and was cursing the memory of John Denver and those blasted Muppets?  So what if it wasn’t my best parenting moment, or human moment for that matter?  Just get me out of here!  Where the hell are the snowpants?  Em lost her hairclip?  Jax has no idea about the meaning of Christmas and is demanding an Iron Man action figure?  Come on, universe!  My baby had had her nose practically bitten off hours before and I am still trying to be nice to people!  Doesn’t that count for something?  Forget the snowpants, where is the wine?


Needless to say, we put a little extra money in the Salvation Army Santa’s bucket on the way out.


Baby H
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