I Guess We Had It Coming


First of all, I blame Ben.  And Jerry.  I also blame Shaw's supermarket.  If Ben and Jerry didn't make such amazing frozen yogurt and Shaw's didn't put it on sale (3 for $10, or as like to think of it, 6 for $20) we would have never gotten yelled at.

The supermarket used to be the worst possible place for me to go with the boys.

The first time I brought Mikias, he was 4 and had been home with us for only a few days.  He was so overwhelmed by the enormous display of fruit that he lunged out of the seat of the shopping cart and on to the fruit.  The only thing that stopped him from laying his whole body on the fruit were his clunky new snow boots which were stuck in the leg holes.  He alternated between laughing with delight at the abundance of food and screaming in frustration at being half stuck in the cart, while at the same time ripping the peel off of an orange with his teeth.  Not surprisingly, we attracted a small crowd.  A stranger helped me wrangle him back into the cart.  I apologized to everyone for making such a spectacle.  I told the produce guy that I would pay for the half eaten orange and any other damaged fruit.  Everyone was kind to us.  No one yelled.

The first few times I took Jemberu to the supermarket, he was calm and sweet.  He sat in the cart and took it all in.  Then he learned a little English.  And became rather possessive of me.  A little girl, about 3, like him, was looking our way.  Jemberu said to her, "Do not look at MY mom.  Look at you OWN mom!"  He shot her a death glare and then smiled up at me and said, "Right, Mom?"

Speechless, I gave the other mom a look of apology.  She smiled at me nicely and gave me the 'it's cool' look.  She could have been offended.  She could have yelled at me for my rude child.  But she didn't.

So here we were at Shaw's this summer, on our "A" game and we got yelled at.  An elderly woman was in the Ben and Jerry's freezer cast with the freezer door resting on her back.  I hovered nearby waiting for my turn.  About 2 solid minutes had passed and she appeared to be no closer to picking her flavor.  I said to the boys, "While I wait for my turn here, you can each pick out an ice cream."

A few seconds later the woman yelled, "WHAT is going on here?"  I asked her what was wrong.  Turns out that when Mikias was picking out his flavor in the next case, he pulled open the door that was resting on her back.  When he was done he let it go and it hit her on her back.  I apologized and explained to her what had happened and that it was an accident.

She said, "You people are making me so mad!"

To the boys she said, "You people need to learn how to act!  This is a busy supermarket, you need to learn how to behave!"

Mikias gently touched her arm, looked her in the eyes and said, "I am so sorry.  I didn't know the door was going to hit you.  I am really sorry."

She kept at us, "You people are awful!"

Sure we could make this better, I asked, "What can we do to help you?"

She said, "STOP talking to me!"

I looked over at Jemberu, who was very quiet throughout this exchange.  He was glaring at the yelling woman and kicking the wheel of our shopping cart.  I forced him to make eye contact with me so I could beg him (while honoring the request for our silence) to stop and not say a word.  He angrily said, "What's her problem?

I whisked the boys into the next aisle and told them that what happened was an accident, we did our best to make it better and there is nothing else we can do, so let's hightail it out of here and go home to eat ice cream.

Jemberu said, "I know what you can do.  You can tell her to SHUT HER STINKIN' BLOW HOLE!" He was furious at the woman for yelling at us.  He didn't care about making it better.  He wanted to fight back.  Mikias, on the other hand, felt awful and embarrassed.  The rest of the day they both kept brining it up.  Jemberu saying "I can't stop thinking about that lady yelling at us.  She was such a jerk!" Mikias saying, "I really had no idea the door was going to hit her."  He blamed himself.  Jemberu blamed the woman, she need to calm down and stop being such a screaming meanie.

I kept thinking about how many awful times we had had in the supermarket.  Times I had been humbled, embarrassed or just plain stressed that things weren't going to go well.  Keeping a tight reign on the boys, willing them to get the hang of being in public without creating a scene.  And finally we had done it.  They get it.  The supermarket with the boys is no longer stressful.  They are helpful and even fun.  "What's next on the list, I'll get it!"  "I'll push the cart!"  Seriously, they are great, they have come so far.  We have become model supermarket patrons and we got yelled at.

I guess we had it coming.