Thursday, June 10, 2010

It takes a village...or a grocery store.

I went to WINCO tonight.
Those of you who do not know what WinCo is, well, those of you outside of Washington, Idaho, Nevada, Colorado and Oregon, WinCo is a grocery store. Ugly warehouse, no customer service, bag your own groceries. But you get what you pay for in that the prices are unbeatable.

While I was shopping, a child started screaming. I couldn't see the babe, but using my super-sonic mom powers, I assessed that the child was, based on the pitch of the scream, about 18 months old. Two years old at most.

At first I thought maybe the child had hurt himself and would settle into a normal cry after the first initial scream. But the screaming persisted. Then a flash went through my mind that maybe the child was being abducted! Everyone here is on high-alert since the recent local child went missing. (I'm not going to type his name as people don't need my blog if they google him. Lord, be with him and his family, please.)

Anyway, I realized that he probably wasn't being abducted because the screaming (which by now had, indeed, morphed into a crazy type tantrum cry) continued so the child was still in the store, not being whisked out the back door into a get-away car. Rather, I could hear the child close at times (an isle or two away) and far away at times...obviously the mom was continuing her grocery shopping needs despite the uncontrollable wails from little-man.

As I continued my shopping, the fit continued and it became increasingly obvious that the child had gained the attention of everyone in the store. Everyone.

At one point I did get catch a glimpse of "the scene" and sure enough, it was a little boy about 2 years old trying to climb out of the shopping cart (the front part where little kids sit). The woman pushing the cart, who I'll assume was his mother though they were different races, kept one hand firmly on his belly/front diaper area keeping him in while she studied the back of a jelly jar. The teenage boy stood 3 feet away with his arms crossed.
The baby was in hysterics.

People were looking at each other with varying impressions of what was going through their minds...without actually saying anything.
I saw looks being passed that said-
-Oh my word, I'm so glad that is not my child.
-Oh my word, I'm so glad I am not that woman.
-Oh my word, SHUT UP!
-Oh my, so sad.
-Oh my, I hope everything is okay!

Seriously, the whole warehouse seemed to want to talk about it with their facial expressions.
Then there were those who actually DID say things.
It was during check out, and funny enough, they were checking out at the same time I was checking out just a few lanes down.
While standing in line I heard a grandma say "Here, Frank, let's go down here away from that kid!" Another shopper responded, "No kidding."

They got done bagging their groceries before I did and the little family left the store, child crying (who will probably pass out of exhaustion in the car) teenage boy, arms still crossed stomping ahead of them, and mom looking unashamed yet very aware of the spotlight upon her.

The person in front of me said something that I couldn't hear, but the checker boy responded with, "We get crying kids a lot, but never anything like that!" Then the person mumbled something under his breath but the only thing I heard was "...shuttin'him'up..."
His wife said "Well I walked over and told her that if she just smacked him on the butt he'd be so startled he'd stop crying! But she didn't didn't do it, too bad."

That couple left and as I was bagging my own groceries the checker boy waited till they were gone and said to me, "Well I don't believe in hitting kids so I can see why she didn't do it!"

Meanwhile, at the lane next to me, I overheard a lady in a wheelchair telling horror stories of her grandchildren acting up and all the times she's had to leave grocery stores and that "that is exactly what she should have done" and basically orated her entire parenting philosophy on how this particular situations SHOULD have been handled (in an irritated voice).

As I was walking out, the checker boy, not getting a response from me, turned to the lady next in line and said, "So, how'd you like our cheerleader? We're hiring them young these days, eh?"

The lady laughed and I can only imagine that other isles were exchanging similar opinions and comments.

I have no idea what was causing that little boy to behave so wildly.
I have no idea what was going through that mom's mind as she made the decision to stay at the store and not leave.

-Was she training him to sit in that little spot and no matter how much he cried, she needed to prove that he would not be able to get out? That THAT was where he belonged for the entire shopping trip?
-Was the boy having a diabetic fit and needed insulin?
-Was the woman not his mom and didn't have control over her charge but couldn't go home without milk, eggs and sugar free jelly?
-Was the woman deaf and unaware of how loud the child was screaming?
-Was the woman too prideful to admit that she needed to leave and found herself stuck there with this awkward decision to shop?
-Was the child being abducted?

I don't think it was wrong, necessarily, for people to be glancing at each other or making comments. I chose not to make any comments or share in any sideways glances largely because I had one of my daughters with me. I didn't want to inadvertently get into a discussion with anyone where oppinions or word choice could have gotten inappropriate. At one point my daughter did say something like, "Wow, he's been crying a long time!" To which I remarked, "Yeah, I'm not sure why he's having such a hard time."

I do feel bad for the child...I hope he's okay and is asleep and secure in his bed right now.

I feel bad for the mom and hope she is soaking in a hot tub, having a Calgon moment.

I feel bad for the teenage brother and I hope he helped put the groceries away and is jamming out to his favorite tunes while he does his homework.

I feel a little bad for the shoppers who's temperaments do not stand for such noise and chaos. Their ears were probably close to bleeding and their nerves were probably twitching.

I don't feel bad for me that I had to listen to that sad boy. Don't get me wrong, it was ear piercing and unsetteling, but I'm a mom...I dunno, I felt sorry and saddened more than I felt fed-up or aggravated. Maybe God allowed me (and others) to be there to go to bed tonight praying for the safety and peace of everyone in that family.

What would you have done if you were that mom?
Would you have left?
Stood your ground?

***Okay, I know I didn't post a follow-up about my husbands back surgery, and should have done that first. But I forget that I have readers on here who are not facebook friends. Sorry! He's doing great. The surgery was a success and he's home healing. He already feels relief and we're all having fun taking care of him while he's flat on his back. Post-Op care is in full-swing. Thanks for the prayers and well-wishes!


Anonymous said...

I would just like to correct the first of this blog. Winco doesn't stand for the states that the store is in it stands for winning company

DotBlogger said...

Yes, WinCo does stand for Winning Company. But what's neat is that WinCo was only operational in those 5 specific states (until 2009 when it expanded to Utah) which is how the thought of WinCo even got it's sound (changing from Waremart Foods to Cub Foods, etc.) but Winning Company got more votes. I think that's cool! :)

Angie said...

First, I live in Colorado and have never heard of WinCo! I will have to investigate. A cheaper place to shop? Yes please! :)

I've been in that mom's shoes. It's TOUGH. I've walked out when it started early in the shopping trip (mostly to spare the other shoppers, although I'm not sure what it taught my child) and I've endured it when I was nearly through with the shopping trip. It's such a tough spot to be in. It sounds like in this mom's case, it went on a l-o-o-o-ng time. I probably would've left.

Once when I was enduring a shopping trip with a feisty two-year-old and her equally unhelpful sister who was hard to wrangle, a kind woman put her hand on my arm and said, "Hang in there. You'll be done soon." With those short words and a smile, I realized that sometimes, a mom has to just do what's necessary and believe it or not, there are people who understand. Of course, there are always those who grit their teeth and roll their eyes at you, cursing under their breath until you're out the door, but I've always remembered her kindness and have in turn given it to stressed out moms. It really made a huge difference to me.

You're right - we don't know the story of that mom or that little guy. We moms have to just remember that we're all in this together!

Donovan and Julie said...

I used to be the first one to roll my eyes at such events...until...I started teaching young children with special needs and realized that we never truly know what is going on in the life of a child.

And now that I have adopted a precious daughter who has struggled greatly with her own transition (and believe me we have had MANY of show-stopping status meltdowns in public), I have a new perspective on the exhaustion that can settle in for a mom in that position. At the end of the day, I just need to have milk in the fridge to give her her bottle. Given that she melted down e.v.e.r.y.t.i.m.e we went anywhere for the first three months home, this mamma had to do what she had to do.

So my hope would be that someone would say a little prayer for my fragile daughter (and her fragile mamma) rather than judge...and I will try to extend that same grace to others.

Tricia said...

It sounds like the little guy wasn't getting his way and the mom wasn't backing down. It might have been ear-piercing but if she had given in, she could expect that kind of response every time he was unhappy. I've had those kinds of visits, but some times that one hour is the only time grocery shopping is possible. Leaving and coming back later isn't an option.

ps love the verse above the "leave your comment" section. clever little you!

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