It was suppose to be a quick run to Target for dish detergent (because if I have to wash more than a sinkful of dishes a night, I will kill something), sunscreen (because, you know, the blistering lecture about skin cancer I got from the doctor), and Diet Cherry Pepsi (because I need caffeine in a sweeten syrup form and as an adult, I have realized that I can no longer avoid the effects of regular soda, stupid metabolism). And by quick, I mean get three kids out of the car, lead them in the store, tell them no for every item that crosses their fancy, usher them through the store, and tell them not to touch stuff or each other. Naturally Tornado A was in the cart, trying to stand up and practice surfing. Tornado E was curled under the cart against my warnings. Tornado S decided he was too tired to walk and must ride in the cart. I handed him the heavy box of detergent.
A young mother with wispy brown hair pushed a half-full cart into the aisle. Her son looked as old as Tornado A. He was her first because he was strapped in, and she was smart because he had a binky in his mouth and a toy in hand. She stopped and looked at me. With the survivor’s look.
She:(in an Eastern European accent) How do you do it? I mean, (she gestured to my full cart of boys) how do you do it? I’m going crazy with one.
Me: (I gave her a reassuring smile.) You put your head down and just do.
She: (shaking her head) How do you not go crazy? Three boys. I can’t do it with one.
Me: It’s all a phase. He will grow and change. And every time you will pick up your stride. You will be fine.
She sighed and shook her head in disbelief. I smiled. She kept going her way, and I went on mine, hoping she will just breathe and realize she was doing just fine.
Later, I realized I just gave out some parenting advice. Holy crap! Everyone should be worried that I’m handing out parenting advice because I’m freakin’ worried I’m handing out parenting advice.