When I first moved here almost 20 years ago (eek!), the town had a very different feel to it. There were not even half as many strollers and kids running around and young families were not as abundant. I, admittedly, was one of those people who hated jogging on River Road with the strollers “in my way” or wondered why a baby was in a bar a la Sweet Home Alabama. And shopping in a little boutique when someone had a big ass stroller blocking my way was “so annoying”.
Fortunately, as a mom, the town is different so I am not the only one in and out of businesses with my child.
Fortunately, as a mom of a 2.5 year old, the shop owners and employees are used to this and are kinder than I would be!
In the past week, Kane showed me why all the business owners should get awards in either patience and kindness or that we have Academy Award winning actors among us, my friends!
Our first stop of general bad behavior was Walgreens. The big one downtown on Washington Street. It was jumping when we were there. We were waiting for his prescription to be filled as he was “so sick.” The little monster escaped the chairs and took off like a rocket! As I chased him down the aisle and attempted to not plow into others, I heard the crash before I saw it. There he was beside an entire display of pantyhose that comes in the little boxes with a devilish grin on his face and then a scared look as I ran toward him with what I imagine was a demonic look on my face. He ran behind it and hid which was good as he was now trapped while I cleaned it up. While I was on all fours surrounded by various sizes and colors of pantyhose that I desperately wanted back in their correct spaces, my little angel screamed, “Mommy! You made a big mess!” We went back to get our prescription while I held on to his tiny arm with a vice-like grip and the pharmacist simply looked at me with a sympathetic smile and said, “I have two of those at home. Good thing they’re cute, right?!”
Next up, we headed to Athleta. Anyone who knows anything about a Gap brand store knows how organized and perfectly folded everything is. There was a special event happening from Me & Em For Good and I stopped to chat with the ladies. He helped himself to a French macaron and became dead weight that could only lie on the floor and not stand on his two feet. Maria, one of the owners and my savior, offered to walk around with him because he was “so cute”. He came back to get another cookie and show off his counting skills. More coos and people complimenting him. Not for long…..
He proceeded to use the S’well bottles as bowling pins and take out the whole display and then got on his forearms and combat crawled behind the register (still with a chocolate macaron) while I cleaned those up. I got down to his level and whisper-yelled at him and threatened about 47 timeouts when we got home. Back to the dressing room area we go. He yells at a poor man waiting for his wife that he is not HIS daddy, about three times. He rips the contents of two cubbies of leggings onto the floor at lightning speed and I’m almost crying. The sweet salesgirl says, “Come on, Kane. Let’s get a sticker.” Mind you, she’s never met him. I’ve simply yelled his name 357 times. She gives him two round Athleta logo stickers which he proceeds to place over his ears to scream, “I can’t hear you!” repeatedly. It’s time to go and I don’t care if I am spending three million dollars at this point. I just need to pay for my pile and get out fast before someone calls the cops on us! I sit him on the counter to pay so he can’t escape and he flips the switch. He smiles and waves at every woman who walks by us and wishes them all a happy Mother’s Day.
I decided to swing by Luna Rosa and Diane, the owner, is the kindest person ever. This time, we were in the stroller because I simply can’t afford to buy that whole store if he broke everything in it! He chose to just screech, be rude to anyone who spoke to him, and yell, “No thank you!” at every person who said hello to him. All the while, she smiled, engaged him, and cracked jokes with me.
Into Hoboken Wine House because let’s be honest, now I have really earned it! I put my bottles (yes, that’s plural) on the register and chat up one of the owners. Kane is surprisingly well-behaved. Minus the initial announcement as we strolled in that, “Mommy needs wine!”. Once we get outside, I look at him and realize he was so well-behaved because he had taken the FOUR free jelly cookies the owner of Giorgio’s gave him and smeared all the jelly on his face and in his freshly cut hair like war paint and then screamed like a banshee as I baby wipe bathed him on Washington Street.
I could go on like this for hours, to be honest. These are simply the highlights. Two and a half has proven to be a rough one for us. Have you ever tipped the person who picked up the 12 spoons your kid threw on the floor at Panera? I have!
The point I’m making here is that these store owners, managers, and employees are saints. Sure, they may have talked about me behind my back after I left and quite frankly, I don’t blame them for it! But at the end of the day, they have embraced the community and its inhabitants…even the smallest and craziest of all!