”Twas a Monday – a sunny, spring day that started with a beautiful sunrise that shone bright as I made my way to work in the fully packed S-Bahn.
The work day was like some others – office-ing made efficient because of cups of mocha, interspersed with conversations, breakfast and lunch. The best part of my work day is packing up and going to pick up my not-so-little worm from daycare.
We were reunited and I was told how his day had been, after which we figured out the logistics of getting into warm clothes again to make our way home.
What a strange time to be in public transport limbo – after lunch, and just before dinner. The toddler kind. It resulted in some unpleasant screaming and tantrum throwing from K in a rush-hour wagon with tired, grumpy adults. They were trapped and so were we. But it was a big mercy on us all that we were one station away from getting off.
“You have to buy milk.” I remembered the husband’s text. So we stopped by at the supermarket on the way home from the station. The shopping trolley is always (most of the time) fun for my little explorer, so up he went in the air from the carrier and down into the seat. We walked around to tick off our grocery list and reached the fruit section.
Here lies the peril of explaining and talking too much to a hungry, on-edge toddler. I could have stopped there but no, I have to involve him in chores so why not let him touch and feel what we’re about to buy also!
“This Avocado? No, it’s not ripe enough.”
“What about this one?”, I said. “No, this one is too ripe”.
I noticed it like the mercury rising in a thermometer. He was getting excited, like he does on his high chair when the food is about to be served. I felt the stress rising. I gave him one tiny green grape and thought that would last us the shopping time. It was devoured not even halfway to the cash counter. It had started – the whining and the worming. The screaming and the crying would soon follow. Think fast! Cheese? Not practical. Another fruit? Yes. I turned around, toddler in trolley and all. The screaming had already commenced as we got back to the fruits section. I picked up two plums, bit into one to give him a head start and handed it over.
It worked…sort of. The tantrum was contained. But my hangry worm was still upset, so I had to hold the plum for him while he bit on it. All the way we went like this, crossing off our list until we reached billing.
We looked ridiculous, him and I. My one hand for feeding a ravenous little clown and the other for putting the milk cartons and avocado on the conveyer belt. How will I pay and pack like this, I thought piteously.
Then I looked at him, looking up at me with those cheeky eyes after each bite as he chewed and smacked his lips, making the sound to indicate he was indeed eating it. There he was, my day-care-going, how-are-you-already-this-independent-but-not-really, tantrum-throwing little worm, so happy with the plum that was almost half the size of his face. I burst out laughing and followed. I explained to him why I was laughing and he laughed some more.
It was our turn to bill. I made sure to say the plum also needs to be paid for and apologized. A kind, middle-aged woman explained that she still had to weigh the plum, and so we did, carefully maneuvering the DNA dent K had made. This time, he took it back and remembered he could feed himself after all. It enabled me to pack and pay, apologizing once more to the nice billing lady. She smiled and we said bye.
I walked the 400 meters to our doorstep with a content monkey resting on my hip, plum in hand and plum juice all over his hands.
Note to mother-self and lesson in parenting : always have snacks for the road.