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Melting Down In the Grocery Store – A Cherished Milestone

Kathryn Thompson

It’s time to break out the die cuts and vibrating-uvula-shaped punches because Wanda just had her first full-scale grocery store melt down and I’d like to capture this special moment properly.

We stopped by Safeway yesterday afternoon and I got her buckled into the plastic car on the front of my cart.  Magoo was at school so she positioned herself in the middle of the seat, working both steering wheels simultaneously with frantic intensity and waving to people as we passed.  It was a good day to be a baby in the Thompson family.

But then, as she was shoulder-checking, halfway through our trip, she noticed that nestled against the police car-style wire cage behind her was a ripe, luscious baby loaf of Tillamook cheddar cheese.  It was close enough to be mouth-watering but completely inaccessible.  Her heart reached the breaking point.  “Sheece!  Sheece!  OHHHHH!  Shee-SHEECE!” she wailed.

Three of Wanda’s favorite words are “Sh-z” (shoes), “Sheece” (cheese), and “Shee-Sheece” (Jesus).  So you can see how it was hard for me to tell if she was simply calling me out for putting sheece so close, yet so far away, or if she was calling for divine intervention to deliver the sheece unto her waiting arms.  Either way, she was seriously ticked off.

I was able to distract her and we moved on with our shopping, going over bumps as often as possible, because what’s more fun than being unexpectedly jostled so that your brains rattle around inside your head?  The answer is – nothing.

But then we reached the checkout aisle and the long arms of Wanda have grown ever longer.  With those arms she was able to reach out her chubby little fists and grab hold of wonderful treats, Skittles in each hand, only to have me wrench them from her grasp.  Oh, the weeping and wailing that then ensued. 

With my first child, the grocery store meltdown was embarrassing.  With my second, it was annoying.  With my third, I find it sort of fascinating to watch.  It’s a definite milestone when they go from sweet compliant baby, smiling at you while you point out the colors of different fruits to a wailing, whirling banshee of auditory destruction.  Wanda knows what she wants now and she will spare no ear drum getting her message across. 

She’s secure enough in her rightness to throw a face-shattering hissy fit.  And I’m secure enough as a parent to pry the candy from her fingers, explain briefly why she can’t have it and then ignore her as I buy my groceries.

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