Or at least the first one in which I was alone. The other times I had Vic with me to share my shame.
This afternoon I needed to go to the grocery store to pick up a few items--some we needed, some as a treat for Vic's birthday. So, after feeding Sophie and changing her diaper, I decide it is time to head out.
All is well in the beginning. I wrestle the car seat into the cart, and off we go, me cooing at her as I begin to pick up some food. Then, as is inevitable when I am out in public with Sophie, a lady stops me to ask about her. So, I chat with her briefly and she asks to see the baby. See being the operative word. The lady, who was really very nice, gets out of her seated grocery cart, and starts cooing at Sophie. Then, she touches her hand. GRR!! I understand "see" meaning different things at different times, but when the baby is young, and strapped into the seat, see does not mean touch. But it was too late, so I just grit my teeth and say nothing.
As this lady is talking to me, she makes an offhand reference to her son. For some reason, Sophie takes any mention of other people's sons as a cue to start screaming. Her face turns the same odd reddish-orange shade generally reserved for getting shots. Great. The lady apologizes, but I wave it off, telling her Sophie is just fussy and not to worry about it. We part ways. After I round the corner, I surreptitiously rub Purell on Sophie's hand.
So we continue on, Sophie crying. She's not necessarily as loud as she can get, and there are occasional pauses of roughly a second, but it's pretty much constant. I try the pacifier--as usual, no go. I try the pinkie, but it's difficult to keep it in her mouth and push the cart simultaneously, so it's not working too well either. Usually in this situation, I have Vic with me and one of us holds her while the other pushes the cart, as Sophie hates the car seat and this often works. Alas, he is not here and I can't hold her and push the cart, so in the seat she stays. I just start hurrying and telling myself that people will understand.
Next item is evaporated milk. I would think this is in the baking goods aisle...but I am wrong. Fine time to not know where to find something I need. Fortunately an employee points me in the right direction (only off by 8 aisles) and next up is milk. As I head towards the dairy case, suddenly the lights go out! Weather outside is 80 degrees and sunny, so I know that's not the cause. Sophie stops crying for a moment, no doubt startled by the sudden plunge from bright fluorescent lighting into darkness. She then resumes crying. Another customer asks me if she's afraid of the dark, but I reply that no, she just apparently hates the store. As I peer in the dark for the skim milk, they announce the entire plaza is without power and they're getting the generators going. Lovely. I'm having a hard time reading the milk labels (though I finally get it) and am worried about the inevitable delay this will cause at the cash register. Usually this would be no big deal, but I'm trying to move as fast as possible, since Sophie won't stop crying.
The lights come back on as I finish shopping and head toward the register. Then they go out. Then they come back on. I'm hoping this is it, and they'll stay on, so I can get myself and my screaming child out of the store. I get into the express lane, behind 2 other people, figuring I'll be out in no time. Wrong. There's some snafu with a ham and a coupon, that necessitates an employee running all the way back to get a second ham, and the manager coming over to help the cashier. I've been a cashier, so I do understand, but I wish it hadn't happened while I was waiting in line with a crying Sophie.
As I wait in line, I notice many furtive looks. Way to make me feel better, people. There are a few nice people, who give me understanding smiles, though, so that actually does help. One of them tells me her 8th great-grandchild was just born a couple weeks ago. Awww...and she tells me she thinks Sophie is tired, which makes sense since Sophie kept us up half the night last night. Anyway, she was a nice lady to talk to, and quite a contrast to the next lady I talk to.
This new lady is younger....not young, but not a great-grandmother. Anyway, she says, "Oh, is that your baby? You can hear her all over the store!" Thanks, lady. Very helpful. I ruefully reply, "I know, I know." She then proceeds to ask me if I'm breastfeeding. Not that it's any of her business, but I tell her I am. She then looks at my breasts, then back up at my face, and tells me I need to get her out to the car to feed her. WTF?! Nursing in public is something I do proudly, and only nurse in the car if I happen to be there at the time. In any case, I'm in line, about to leave, and she's not even hungry! She's tired! So I am rather irritated, but trying not to be rude when I tell her I am in line and about to leave, otherwise if she needed to nurse, I would nurse her in the store. The lady just nods and returns to her cart, a few feet away. I continue to wait, trying to soothe Sophie as I have been doing the entire time. Suddenly, the sentence "You need to console your baby" floats past my ears. Same damn lady. I briefly fantasize about grabbing her by the hair and throwing her down to the floor so I can run her down with my cart, but figure the high road is at the least more expedient, if not as satisfying.
Finally, the cashier gets to my items. She doesn't say a word to me other than the total--I guess Sophie is irritating her too. The guy bagging my groceries, who is probably 19-20 years old, is surprisingly understanding, and tells me to try to have a good day. LOL. I am touched, especially because I didn't expect a teenage boy to be nicer about a crying baby than grown women. So much for stereotypes, right?
Sophie and I leave the store, and drive off. Maybe one minute into the drive, she stops crying and falls asleep! Sure wish she could've done that a bit earlier.
So that was my lovely trip to the store. I knew this experience would come sooner or later (and will again), and I am glad it wasn't any worse than it was. Still, I certainly would've felt better about it, had it not been for dealing with rudeness as well.
Experiences like this make me really nervous about the plane ride we'll be taking with Sophie in a couple weeks. But hey, at least then I'll have Vic to help support me under the weighty disapproval of fellow passengers.
A Warped Sense of Reality
9 months ago