Monday, April 16, 2007

A tantrum and tears

The other day I found myself in line behind a mother and daughter at the grocery store. The little girl was probably three, I think. She reminded me a bit of Scout from the movie version of To Kill A Mockingbird. She had a little pageboy haircut, deep set dark brown eyes and, eventually, a very big pout.

She was helping her mommy take the groceries out of the basket (determinedly standing on her tippy-toes, nudging boxes of pasta and bags of apples up onto the conveyor belt) and was being quite a good little girl.

Then she spotted the chocolate bars, insidiously placed at three-year old eye level. Caramilk. It was the Caramilk bar that did her in.

And what followed was a theatrical meltdown of epic proportion. It wasn't loud (the girl was smart enough not to waste energy on volume), it was just very, very dramatic. Wringing of hands, pronounced pouting, great big tears, and the dejected full body slump of one so cruelly denied. Because, of course, than answer was "no".

I watched the proceedings with both pity for the mom (who was doing her best to curtail the theatrics but was clearly mortified by the antics of her little diva), and for the little girl who just wanted a chocolate bar.

God, haven't we all been there? I need a chocolate bar at least three times a day, which is precisely why I don't keep them in the house.

In addition to the chocolate, the little girl needed a nap. That was obvious. She looked the way I feel after doing 900 loads of laundry, vacuuming, changing the bed, scrubbing toilets and making dinner; bored, tired and cranky. Throw in a good jonesin' for some chocolate when there isn't so much as a chip to be had in the house, and I can get temperamental too.

"Cawamel, mommeeeeee! I want de one wif cawamelllllllll!" This, her tear-choked reply to the suggestion that she had lots and lots of Easter chocolate at home.

Because come on, everyone knows nothing tastes better than the chocolate you don't have.

In the end they left the store with promises of sweet cawamel dreams shattered behind them.

The cashier and I shared a smile and a giggle when they were both out of earshot.

"How could she not buy the cawamel?", I said jokingly, knowing full well that the mom most certainly did the right thing, given that the tantrum was fueled more by fatigue than true desire.

The cashier chuckled.

The weird thing is that no sooner were the words out of my mouth then, to my shock and horror, my eyes inexplicably filled with tears. I blinked them back, paid and scurried out of the store with my dinner fixings.

Oh that wacky grief.


Ruby said...

My eyes did too, and I wasn't even there.

When I go through that with my little one (he gets waaayyy more dramatic than she did) I do 'the right thing' most of the time...yet...inside I sob too. I think "Just give the live baby ANYTHING he wants!"

Katie said...

This post first made me laugh (I can sympathize so much with that mother, having a three year old of my own) and then it made me cry - for the very reason you had the tears.

It gets you at the strangest times sometimes, doesn't it? It seems to me that no place or situation, however "safe" it may seem, really is.

rob said...


I found your site today and have been reading through most of your posts - I like your writing style, even though most of it is pretty heart-wrenching.

Welcome to my blogroll.

Rob Scott

niobe said...

It's as though the grief is always there, lurking in the background. Almost anything can make me sad and your story certainly did.

Rosepetal said...

*tears* and (((hugs)))

wannabe mom said...

*lump in throat*

This reminds me of a dance competition that we attended a few months back for our nephew. The team with 40 girls aged 5-15 came on stage, and while I was ooh-ing and aahing on their cuteness it happened to me too. Good thing I had wrapped my Sbucks brownie in several napkins...

kate said...

tears in my eyes, too...grief hits at the oddest moments sometimes.

By the way, i am impressed with the mom...i would have given in and bought the cawamel...