As I walk down the aisle of the grocery store, I realize, maybe this wasn’t a good idea after all.

 “Grace” is singing and twirling and doing cartwheels, oh and one of those cartwheels almost took out an elderly woman with a cane, I kid you not. And as I search the shelf for my favorite type of  Hummus, I very hesitantly look over, to a rustle I hear on the ground and “Emerson”, yes, “Emerson” the 4 year old has pulled “Steve” the almost 9 year old to the ground and they are fighting. Well, “Emerson” is riding him like a toy shop pony that I just slipped a 50 cents into for some entertainment.

Whose kids are those? Get them off the ground this instant! I feel like yelling and then I remember they are mine.

All mine.

And as summon “Grace” back to the cart with one of those,”do another cartwheel and it will be the last cartwheel you do look” which obviously didn’t work because she did another one (lucky Wegman’s is big), I bend down to break up the fight/rustle with dirt balls/slightly embarrassing show of brotherhood my boys have going on at my feet. Prying “Emerson” off of “Steve” is no task either. He strong like bull. “Steve” on the other hand, is tall and lanky and just under 5′ tall at 8 years old is floppy as floppy can be. Wind can blow him over. Anyways, wind or not, he is up, and “Emerson” is buckled in the cart, but now screaming, a murderous scream that can be heard throughout the store, while “Steve” starts asking me questions, questions to which either I don’t know the answer or can’t hear over the murderous screaming coming from “Emerson” so “Steve” starts talking louder….

“Mommy, what day is June 18th? Is it a Friday?” he asks. I think it’s January, I have no idea what day June 18th is. 

“Mommy, what day is June 18th? And What day is my birthday? What year will my birthday be on a Friday?”

So I go onto explain about leap year and how days change forward usually one day except on leap year two, not sure if that is correct but my reasoning sounds perfect in my head, and so does my explanation as it comes out, pretty good.

Way to go mom.

Until “Steve” starts screaming too, “What my birthday will be in April and then in May?” he is upset. “No, its only the day that changes, not the month”, I explain. But it’s too late. “I can’t believe my birthday will be in April, do we just skip March?” And I see where I made the mistake in my explanation, but it’s too late now.

And now it’s “Grace’s” turn.

She wants to hold the eggs, push the cart and she is fighting with “Emerson”, who had finally calmed down trying to get him to say a bad word. (“Emerson” has a speech impediment and when he says the word “Broke” it sounds as clear as day like the “F” word. I found out in the middle of an eerily quiet Target store, during a tug of war over the candy canes. Anyway, once “Steve” and “Grace” found out it was downhill from there.)

And I hear “Steve” yell the “F” word at the top of his lungs and I swear the grocery store shut down, the lights went dark and a huge spotlight came down from who knows where and everyone turned around, looked and gasped. And the mom, you know the one, dressed nice, hair in place, matching outfit, no stains on her clothes whose kids walk nicely next to the cart holding on? She turned around and went down another aisle.

And this sign flashed in my head, but it was neon:

ImageAnd then I turned around to see if I was on one of those shows, you know, like “pranked” and Ashton Kutcher would jump out and be like “I got you. You’re pranked!” And my kids would start laughing and it would be one big humorous joke. And everyone was in on it. Nope,that didn’t happen. And it never does. Not that I expect it too, but it helps to wish a little, or so I hear.

As we make it to the self-checkout, which by the way is a big self-mistake, I.am.fried.

But what the heck, standing in line waiting by the candy would be worse?or so I convince myself. “Grace” and I, yes. “Grace” and I, start fighting over who is going to scan the merchandise, “Emerson” is attempting a Houdini move and has maneuvered out of the shopping cart lap belt, which should be more like a cage with prisoner lock down for him, and “Steve” is pacing back and fourth across the 4 aisles of self checkout lines swinging a roll of clearance holiday wrapping paper like he is the only one in the store.

Without realizing it, but the time we have all the bags in the cart, “Emerson”, who I need a leash for,has made it half way down the walkway and it starting to run, so we start to sprint to catch him. Yes, sprint. I ditch the cart with “Grace” and “Steve” and get my fingers on his collar just before he hits the busy street In front of the store. And I exhale.

Kids-456 Mom-1. (And the one that counts, trust me, it’s the little things. Did they all leave the store alive and safe? Check!)

As we make it to the car and everyone is buckled in,I look back before getting in my seat and they smile, they are laughing and they are happy and I think, obviously persuaded by their cuteness and maybe by how deliriously tired I am, that trip wasn’t so bad.

Maybe next time…