Watch Out! Children Coming!

When I was a kid I often heard the phrase, "children should be seen and not heard." Society acknowledges those with children and then bluntly asks moms and dads to keep the kiddies inside, and away from the rest of society, until they are 18, or better yet, college graduates.
Other than school or dance class, I don't remember going out in public all too often with my family. Big trips out included heading to church and the grocery store with mom and the laundry mat with my grandma. We would go to Burger King or Abdow's Big Boy as a special treat before heading back to the hills for many more weeks.
I don't blame the adults in my life for keeping me at home. I vomited my Junior Whopper onto the chip aisle at the grocery store, cried for a toy EVERY time we were at the check out counter and hid under the clothing racks giggling as my mom frantically called my name. These outings were exhausting for me and the adults shuttling me with them during their weekly errands.
I have several more weeks before I head back to the office and try my best to entertain the kids while keeping my sanity in a rural, quiet town. I'm an extravert and it is very hard for me to sit in the house all day. I can only answer Caroline's repeat questions 20 or 30 times before I wonder if I have replaced Bill Murray in Ground Hog Day. Most days, by 10 am, I am ready to head "downtown" to our local village to combine entertaining Caroline and getting Charlotte lulled to sleep with running my errands. We make our rounds to the library, post office, coffee shop and the various boutiques owned by the locals.
Our village has been around for hundreds of years and the store fronts have that lovely oldey-timey appeal. Unfortunately for me this means that most are not handicap accessible or family friendly. Getting into the stores is the first challenge. There are often steps, lots of them. I awkwardly lift Charlotte's stroller, and then the umbrella stroller Caroline insists on pushing up the stairs. Sweat beads form on my forehead as I maneuver my body, the strollers and the toddler through the doors that just barely accommodate us. By the time I get into the store the sweat has trickled down my bra and back of my pants. I'm greeted by dirty looks or the back of people's heads as they move away from us.
I may get a smile or a "ahh, sweet" from one or two old folks until one or the other child starts to shriek at a decibel high enough to shatter glass. The lady who asked Caroline if she likes to be a big sister casts an evil eye our way when Caroline decides to sweep her hand along a shelf, dominoing carefully displayed boxes of eye cream and shampoo. I reprimand, shush, apologize sheepishly and bow my head as we awkwardly open the door, push the caravan of strollers out and ask a stranger to help me carry everything down the steps.
Now I know why we stayed home all summer when I was a kid and why it is sometimes better to run out of milk than to run to the convenience store. There is no such thing as a quick errand when children are in tow. I've learned to suggest activities to Caroline to entertain her in the house and I have found comfort and friendship in the Real Housewives of Bravo. (Over dinner: "Hey, Andy, today Bethenny waxed her linea negra! Can you believe it?")
I'm pretty sure a mom invented the drive-thru and pay-at-the-pump. I'd have long been running on fumes if it weren't for these easy ways to get gasoline and caffeine. And, to the lady in town who owns the cute shoe store: remember, I dropped $8o in your shop last week and I think that more than makes up for Caroline taking all the peds out and throwing them on the floor, rearranging all of your displays and the dog poop on my stroller wheel.


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