“I’m going to the store.” I stupidly said out loud.
“Wait for me!” Maura said, grabbing her backpack, shoving a pony into it. “I’m ready!”
The two teens looked at me with that questioning look of “Are you taking her, or should we brace for shrieking?”
“I know I’m going to regret this…” I said, causing hope to spread across the teens faces. “Maura, we’re going to go buy food.”
“No, we’re going to the grocery store, not a restaurant. Just going to get groceries to bring home.”
“OKAY! LET’S GO!”
Now mind you, the last three times I pulled into Whole Foods parking lot, there was screaming and hysteria and flailing – and even then, the third time, I left the girl in the car with teens and a movie to distract her from the fact that we weren’t going to Chipolte across the parking lot. Because ONE TIME, I took her to Chipolte for lunch before grocery shopping, and now she wants to go there all the time.
You can’t blame her, their chips are delicious.
But I’m a glutton for punishment and didn’t feel like making the teens deal with a shrieking Maura at the window as I drove off, so I took yet another one for the teen and took Maura with me. Maura was happy in the car as I explained we were going grocery shopping – no restaurant, grocery shopping – repeatedly, hoping something would kick in. I got all the way into the parking spot at the side of the building and put the car into park before she let out a seriously ear-splitting scream of protest.
I calmly got out of the car and decided to just wait it out as my ears bleed. That’s my latest strategy, waiting it out. No begging, no deal making, just standing there, waiting, calmly and quietly.
She curled up into the seat. “NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!”
I opened her door. She tried to close it.
“The door stays open Maura.” I stated.
She protested. “I WANT FOOD!”
“There’s a whole store of food right there.” I stated. “You can pick out any food you want. But that’s where we’re going.” “NOOO!”
Then I sat on the curb in the shade and waited. Really, it was a lovely spot, away from prying eyes and staring shoppers. She calmed down. I waited. I heard the seat belt unbuckle.
“Okay Mom.” she said.
“Ready to go shopping?”
And just like that, her emotions were played out. I let her get a cart, and explained we only needed one cart, I didn’t need one too. We started getting foods. She got giddy at the sight of the cantaloupe display. She picked out sausages at the meat counter, I got rotisserie chicken for dinner. I explained we needed milk and even though she didn’t want to go that way, she followed. Then we passed the eggs.
Um…okay. We can always use eggs. I got a carton.
“Do you want to pick out eggs?” I asked.
“YES!” and with that, she reached in and picked out one of the little cartons that contain six eggs. Weird, I thought. Maybe she wanted the cute eggs. Who knew what went through that brain of her sometimes. But she was delighted with her eggs. We went to check out and she told the cashier “MY EGGS!” And then the bagger – “MY EGGS!” She kept an eye on them as they went into the top of one bag. Then we got gelato, because why not and because she had been so good. We sat outside as she ate her gelato and then half of mine.
Every so often, she’d ask – “My eggs?”
“They’re in the bag, safe.” I’d say.
We finished our gelato and went to the car, where she pulled out the little carton.
“My EGGS!” she said.
“Oh, let’s leave them in the bag, they’ll be safer.” I suggested.
Um..okay… I relented and let her hold the carton of eggs in the car…
…and she was SO happy! …and then she hugged the carton and said lovingly “My eeeegggggs.”
…and a sense of horror suddenly filled me, as I recalled a half-crumpled piece of paper I’d pulled out of her backpack that morning….
The words “the life cycle of the chicken” flashed through my head. My daughter hugged her egg carton again. I realized that she thought she was buying chick-producing eggs. I cursed the school and their stupid life cycle science lessons. I prayed that I wouldn’t make a sudden stop that would cause the eggs to go flying through the car. My brain raced as I tried to figure out how the hell I was going to explain to Maura that her precious bundle of eggs weren’t going to produce chicks. She carried them into the house.
“Look Daddy! EGGS!”
“Yes, those are eggs.” my clueless spouse said. “Put them in the fridge.”
“She learned about the life cycle of the chicken.” I said, sharing the horror of the situation with my husband.
We convinced Maura that her eggs would be safer in the fridge and she relented. But this morning, I woke up and found her sitting in front of the tv with her carton of egg buddies next to her. Which is better than her sitting ON the carton of eggs, which is what we worried about last night. Then I convinced her that the eggs had to stay at home, that they couldn’t go to school with her. You’re welcome teaching staff. Now…now I’m just trying to figure out what the next plan of action is. I’m considering pin holing each egg and draining them and filling them with wax. Because, you know, THAT makes sense. Or maybe replacing them with wooden eggs. I’m also trying to figure out which saint is the Patron Saint of “Oh Dear God, please don’t let her hide eggs in the house!” and finding the perfect sangria recipe while reconsidering ever taking her out of the house again and explaining to her teachers why they shouldn’t try to teach her SO much.