I never shoplifted as a kid. Well, maybe just this one time when I saw these shiny, ah-MAZE-ing colored pebbles. I didn't understand that they had to be paid for. Or maybe I did, and I just really wanted them. Nonetheless. They were small. I put them in my pocket.
Thinking my mom would share in my newly stolen pebble bliss, I showed them to her when we got home (like I said, they were amazing). And back to the car we plodded; we drove to the store, and my mom had me present the pebbles to the cashier and tell her what I did. I don't remember the details of the exchange as much as the feeling of my cheeks exploding with fiery humiliation. (Do you remember this, Mom?)
And now, on with the point of this post.
Baby Carter has a thing for apples. As in, he digs them like a normal kid would regard his favorite teddy bear. He gets his apple fix from clenching the entire thing in his hands, biting off bits of skin, chewing on it like jerky and then eventually spitting it out (it's as close to healthy as we get these days, don't judge). Every day after breakfast, he toddles over to the section of the kitchen with the bowl of fruit, points up and asks for a pah-pah. The pah-pah gets lovingly carried around and gnawed on sporadically throughout the day.
So, you can imagine the kidonchristmasmorningjoy that flooded his eyes when we rounded the corner at Target the other day, and there lay before our tired shopping cart a shiny heap of hundreds of carefully placed apples. An apple was fully expected in those hands, pronto.
And now you're me. Your baby's ten minute shopping cart limit fuse blew five minutes ago, and he's been making weird dog-ish growling noises in between shrieks that would translate to Shopping carts SUCK, Mom! if you slowed them down on a record player. You aren't sure exactly if he ate two - or was it three - bites of cheese for lunch. He's been standing up in his seat attempting to surf shopping cart waves. He claws at your face when you try strapping him in. You hand the baby a friggin' apple right off the top of that display.
And stillness. And silence.
On this day, I felt like the mother of a toddler for the first time. You do things - anything that works - to help yourself, your baby and your situation because you know that, if anyone dare take the time to ask you to explain your story, they will understand. Because most people can excuse whatever minor rule breaking that's transpired as soon as they see your lovebug throwing razors and bottles of shampoo out of the cart.
Now don't get me wrong, I wiped the apple, peeled off the sticker and fully intended to pay for it when we went to check out. I even thought it was a fairly cute story ... my little baby didn't urgently need some toy or ball; he was sitting, plumply nibbling on an apple. People marvel over Carter. The apple just adds a little hilarity to his cuteness.
We reunite with Matt from across the store and discuss the lifesaving properties of apples. We peruse the baby aisle then make our way to the cashier.
Ah, that cashier. Oof. She eyes Carter and his hamstered-up apple. Not a smile, not once. Matt points to the apple and tells her we'd like to pay for it. We wait for some sort of appreciative regard. Maybe not even a smile at this point, just politeness. She asks for the apple's sticker and, of course I don't have it. Our entire little family gets directed some sort of annoyed frown/blatant eye-rolling combo. I was blank. I couldn't believe the display I'd just seen from what was supposed to be another human. And over a baby with an apple.
Matt apologizes, I'm sorry, my baby was hungry.
She stares and introduces a purposeful, uncomfortable silence into the mix.
You can charge me a dollar for the apple, if you want, he offers.
She turns to the register, and charge a dollar, she did.
I stood there, wishing I'd never learned my pebble lesson and pawned that ridiculous apple off as a snack I'd brought from home in my purse. Wishing I could borrow the stupid apple from my freakishly possessive baby and throw it at her frown-furrowed head. I would have had to change my tally to 2 shopliftings/lifetime. And maybe spend a night away from Carter. It so would have been worth it.
We carted our goods out to the parking lot, and Carter's apple gets tossed to the pavement.
I didn't know how Carter would react to Santa; I was 60 percent sure he'd cry if he were plopped in his lap, but the kid surprises me with some new, magical, adult characteristic every day. The type of baby who blows kisses to complete, scary, hairy strangers also has the possibility of being the type to yank on Santa's beard, giggle and steal his glasses.
Carter in hand, Matt approached Santa while I squatted in front to take a picture. Ho, Ho, Hold on. Before I could even look up to focus my camera, wails of horror followed by a chorus of Oh no's from the line of onlookers.
I walked up to see if I could help. ::swallows:: Wow. Santa is really big. Slightly monsterous. I just blinked, thinking, Hi Santa, I'm Meghann.Say it. SAY it.
Carter? Car-- who? I have a baby?
I have never seen Carter react like that to anything or anyone in his life. He was using my shoulder as leverage to push his body back, away from Santa. I could feel his heart thudding like mad. He never made it into his lap.
I guess he'll be finding boxes of butt paste under the tree this year.
Strapping Cart back into his stroller, I couldn't help but wonder how much this man gets paid to make babies cry all day. what. a. job. Half the kids idolize you, the other half cast you as the murderer in their nightmares. Which direction does a guy like that take his self esteem?
These pictures confuse me. I look at them, and my heart goes out for Carter. But really, I'm sitting here laughing at that defeated Santa.
Do you have a crier, or a beard tugger? Carter and I are criers, and I'm betting Matt had to fight a small urge to tug on that beard.
I want to see your Santa photos! Link them below. This will be my first ever linkup!
We take Carter to this indoor playground at the mall so he can socialize with other babies and have ample space to walk.
I had no idea he'd been using the facility to scope out chicks. He followed this little girl like a loyal puppy and kept trying relentlessly to hug her. She was really confused, but she gave him the charity he'd pursued.
From the sidelines, I mopped my soggy, puddled heart from the floor, ransacked my purse for my iPhone and took some pictures.
Tonight, while Carter and I were quietly rocking before bedtime, I interrupted the silence and tugged his fingers up to my mouth to blow on them, composing a super obnoxious noise. His appreciative, wide eyes blinked up to meet mine before he gave me a satisfying little giggle.
I did it because I could. Because those are my fingers.
For the majority of the first year of his life, the only body parts Carter was fully aware of were his gurgling, hungry stomach and his squealing vocal cords. He didn't even know he had fingers. Or toes or legs, knees, feet or elbows.
Heck, I'm still not sure he knows he has a nose or hair yet.
So, since he didn't know what was what and that all those parts were connected to him, I figured I'd claim ownership. Just temporarily. I had to take care of those parts and keep them growing, anyway.
Lately when I nibble on his my ear or examine the dimples in his my hands, I can't ignore the nudging thought that the older he gets, the more parts he's going to gradually be reclaiming as his own. He's not going to let me squeeze him, kiss him or straight up get in his face just to whisper to him in funny voices and sniff the top of his soapy afterbath head. Not entirely because he won't want me to - but because according to today's social etiquette, I'd be an outright weirdo. Because if you try to lift up your fifteen year old's shirt and give him a raspberry, chances are that more than a couple people will cross you off their Christmas card mailing list.
For now, I have delicious, boundary free snuggle buddy. I gobble up his disgusting, sloppy openmouthed kisses and request them again and again. Soon they'll dwindle, and all I'll have is the trust that my memories are real and a young man that learned affection by way of a mother who's marveled him.
In summary: Just me freaking out again that I got one of those babies that grows. Carry on.
Well, this wasn't the whole weekend. This was just Saturday.
And today? Today Matt had to go to work while I ransacked the madhouse mall trying to find outfits for us to wear in pictures we're having done by Cat Wilborne this weekend. Carter spent the afternoon showing his grandma and uncle the ins and outs of putting on shoes (no pun intended).
If I were to take him to a barber - or haircutting chain. deaf people with scissors. whatever. They'd charge fifteen bucks after ignoring my desperate plea not to cut too much off. Just the sides. Ok that's perfect. No more scissors. Ok, that's good. WAIT.
I'd be handed the first ever baby with a buzz cut. And I'm one of those easily persuaded people who'd still increase the tip amount based on added creativity and scissor happiness enthusiasm.
I'm seriously afraid to take Carter out to get his hair cut. He's had a barber cut his hair once, but it was really short, and we're having a holiday card photo done soon.
So I figured I'd just trim it myself, around the edges and on the top-ish, because I'm the only one who knows how I want it to look.
A couple scissor miscalculations, though. 1. I don't know how, but he ended up looking like one of those dirty boys I went to elementary school with. They always had shortish, shaggy, uneven hair and pegged me in the head with a dodgeball. I bet their moms didn't take them to barbers. I don't want Carter to be a shaggy ball-pegger, but he's halfway there. (I have his ball hidden from him, for now. Just until the hair grows.) 2. Also, Matt says I gave him a mullet. Poor Carter either gets a Mommy-made mullet or Barber-butchered buzz cut.
I should have just let it grow long. Who gave me all this senseless authority, anyway?
I can't take him to a barber at this point because they'll take off even more hair in an attempt to even it out. I tried to taper it & fade out the mullet but let's face it, I just can't do this crap.
Crap is probably the dirtiest word I've ever used on this blog. Aside from shaggyball-pegger, of course.