Friday, September 14, 2012

I Guess We Had It Coming


First of all, I blame Ben.  And Jerry.  I also blame Shaw's supermarket.  If Ben and Jerry didn't make such amazing frozen yogurt and Shaw's didn't put it on sale (3 for $10, or as like to think of it, 6 for $20) we would have never gotten yelled at.

The supermarket used to be the worst possible place for me to go with the boys.

The first time I brought Mikias, he was 4 and had been home with us for only a few days.  He was so overwhelmed by the enormous display of fruit that he lunged out of the seat of the shopping cart and on to the fruit.  The only thing that stopped him from laying his whole body on the fruit were his clunky new snow boots which were stuck in the leg holes.  He alternated between laughing with delight at the abundance of food and screaming in frustration at being half stuck in the cart, while at the same time ripping the peel off of an orange with his teeth.  Not surprisingly, we attracted a small crowd.  A stranger helped me wrangle him back into the cart.  I apologized to everyone for making such a spectacle.  I told the produce guy that I would pay for the half eaten orange and any other damaged fruit.  Everyone was kind to us.  No one yelled.

The first few times I took Jemberu to the supermarket, he was calm and sweet.  He sat in the cart and took it all in.  Then he learned a little English.  And became rather possessive of me.  A little girl, about 3, like him, was looking our way.  Jemberu said to her, "Do not look at MY mom.  Look at you OWN mom!"  He shot her a death glare and then smiled up at me and said, "Right, Mom?"

Speechless, I gave the other mom a look of apology.  She smiled at me nicely and gave me the 'it's cool' look.  She could have been offended.  She could have yelled at me for my rude child.  But she didn't.

So here we were at Shaw's this summer, on our "A" game and we got yelled at.  An elderly woman was in the Ben and Jerry's freezer cast with the freezer door resting on her back.  I hovered nearby waiting for my turn.  About 2 solid minutes had passed and she appeared to be no closer to picking her flavor.  I said to the boys, "While I wait for my turn here, you can each pick out an ice cream."

A few seconds later the woman yelled, "WHAT is going on here?"  I asked her what was wrong.  Turns out that when Mikias was picking out his flavor in the next case, he pulled open the door that was resting on her back.  When he was done he let it go and it hit her on her back.  I apologized and explained to her what had happened and that it was an accident.

She said, "You people are making me so mad!"

To the boys she said, "You people need to learn how to act!  This is a busy supermarket, you need to learn how to behave!"

Mikias gently touched her arm, looked her in the eyes and said, "I am so sorry.  I didn't know the door was going to hit you.  I am really sorry."

She kept at us, "You people are awful!"

Sure we could make this better, I asked, "What can we do to help you?"

She said, "STOP talking to me!"

I looked over at Jemberu, who was very quiet throughout this exchange.  He was glaring at the yelling woman and kicking the wheel of our shopping cart.  I forced him to make eye contact with me so I could beg him (while honoring the request for our silence) to stop and not say a word.  He angrily said, "What's her problem?

I whisked the boys into the next aisle and told them that what happened was an accident, we did our best to make it better and there is nothing else we can do, so let's hightail it out of here and go home to eat ice cream.

Jemberu said, "I know what you can do.  You can tell her to SHUT HER STINKIN' BLOW HOLE!" He was furious at the woman for yelling at us.  He didn't care about making it better.  He wanted to fight back.  Mikias, on the other hand, felt awful and embarrassed.  The rest of the day they both kept brining it up.  Jemberu saying "I can't stop thinking about that lady yelling at us.  She was such a jerk!" Mikias saying, "I really had no idea the door was going to hit her."  He blamed himself.  Jemberu blamed the woman, she need to calm down and stop being such a screaming meanie.

I kept thinking about how many awful times we had had in the supermarket.  Times I had been humbled, embarrassed or just plain stressed that things weren't going to go well.  Keeping a tight reign on the boys, willing them to get the hang of being in public without creating a scene.  And finally we had done it.  They get it.  The supermarket with the boys is no longer stressful.  They are helpful and even fun.  "What's next on the list, I'll get it!"  "I'll push the cart!"  Seriously, they are great, they have come so far.  We have become model supermarket patrons and we got yelled at.

I guess we had it coming.


23 comments:

  1. You will understand this comment no doubt! When my oldest, Brandon, was about 4 we went shopping. He was having a hard time and spent the trip whining. As I was in line to check out a man behind me said "if that was my kid I would smack him". I looked at the man and said "that is why he is not your kid and why God sent him to me".

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    1. It amazes me that people say that kind of thing! Great come back.

      Alison

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  2. This made me laugh out loud. We just recently adopted our little boy (now almost 3 months old). Yesterday was the first time since bringing him home that I made it through the grocery store without him screaming. It always starts at the check-out line, and the cashiers there knew us within a couple days. they started saying things like, "wow, he really doesn't like it here, huh?" or, "oh, boy, you've got a fussy one there." Really, who DOES like the grocery store? And maybe he's fussy because it's the temperature of a meat cooler in this whole place, and I forgot to put him in his snowsuit in August to come get groceries...

    And to iamthezookeeper, GOOD FOR YOU!!!

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    1. I agree, supermarkets are the worst...and SO COLD.

      Congratulations on your new son!

      Alison

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  3. My husband always says that being old doesn't entitle you to being an a-hole. I agree. Jemberu is right.
    I feel that it's ok my for my kids to call out a bully head on. I encourage my kids to stand up for themselves without being rude. Fine line there! But it takes someone standing up to a bully, to prevent the next person from being bullied.
    I have a tendency to butt my way in when I see someone ELSE being picked on too. But that's just my $.02

    And way to go Iamthezookeeper!

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    1. Sherry, too bad you weren't there when we were getting yelled at! My instinct is always to diffuse the situation but you am Jemberu are probably right :)

      Alison

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  4. This made me miss you because you told me this story in person while we ate Ben and Jerry's in your living room! Love you Alison!!
    Jocie

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    1. I love you too Jocie! It was probably while telling you this story that I realized it might make a good blog post :)


      xxoo

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  5. Love reading your memoirs.
    Claudia

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    1. The fact that you love it makes it fun for me to write it! Thanks Claudia!

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  6. I admit it...I agree with Jemberu that she needs to shut her stinkin' blow hole! What a rude woman. But you're right - when I think of all the times people COULD have been offended (like when my son swatted a woman right on the hiney), we're really doing okay.

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    1. Hahaha! A swat on the hiney! That's funny!
      You're right, we really are doing okay.

      Alison

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  7. "You people"? Am I the only one here who sees that as blatantly racist? I'm with Jemberu. Mikias was very polite, but when that didn't work, and with what she said... I agree with Sherry.

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  8. Robyn,

    Thanks for this comment. I felt the same way. I kept thinking, 'You people?? Are you really saying that?'

    Alison

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  9. Oh you know darn well 'blow hole' would've been the nicest thing i could say.. You go jemby! (although I'm all talk. In person i'm always thinking i'm the one in the wrong. We got our first "you don't touch that water fountain little boy" from an old fart (elderly is too respectful) last week at a church function. After I said- "yes. yes you can get a drink of water" her daughters 'best response' was "oh that's not what she meant. he can drink from it- but he was 'touching' it". ??? seriously? Jemby's blow hole would've been handy then)

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    1. I would love to see you and Jemby in action together! You'd straighten people out :)

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  10. We've had some interesting supermarket experiences ourselves. And not just customers, but workers. One time we had to even report a worker who kept harassing us with questions. Great job in modeling for your kids how to respond well.

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  11. wow - sounds like she was having a REALLY bad day! You handled it great - and set an awesome example for your kids. I am really sure I could not have been that gracious (and "move that hiney lady so the rest of us can get some ice cream" probably would have been part of it!!)

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  12. Unfortunately, those people do exist and I am beyond impressed with your boys' reaction to the entire debacle. They showed more respect and maturity than that old woman.

    While people are inclined to make excused for "old" people, her remarks were uncalled for and I hope she has learned that she, as an elder, will serve as an example.

    Kudos to your little gentleman on how they handled everything.

    As always, I look forward to your next post :)

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    1. Of course I catch my spelling error after publishing, "excuses"

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  13. So sorry that happened. Hopefully you won't have any more problems like that. I hate taking my kids to the grocey store - too much stimulation.

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  14. It is always interesting to me how two children will react so differently to the same situation (one looking at themselves and one looking at the other party). Both have value, since self awareness is so important ( a sign of maturity). But the ability to also stand up and see when others are also responsible and deserve blame. Sounds like you are doing a good job!

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    1. Thanks JRay! I am with you, so interesting how two kids process the same event.
      Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. I always appreciate it.
      Alison

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