May 24, 2012

One of the prompts for MamaKat’s Writing Workshop this week was: Tell us about a time your child embarrassed you in public. Geez, how to pick just one? For more mischief, hop on over to MamaKat and join the fun!


Okay, so you all know the ultimate embarrassing story already, and honestly, I can’t top that.  And truly, most of the other tales of humiliation do involve Miss D., that minxy first-born.

But, Miss M. gets her time in the sun today, because for two weeks straight, she developed a nasty little habit that made me wish I had the power to evaporate into thin air.  So while Miss D. gets the gold medal for naughtiness in a single day, Miss M. gets the medal for duration. Two. Weeks. Of. Wanting. To. Die.

The first time it happened, we were at the grocery store (aka:my second home). I spend way too much time at the grocery store, partly because I am (sorta) a food blogger, but also because my mind is pathetic and weak and I always forget at least two items that I’d meant to pick up the day before. Naturally, these are necessary items (eg: ketchup, frozen waffles, Pirate Booty), so I have to return to the store or else suffer the consequences.

I’m there so much that I know far too much about the employees. There’s Batman Bob, who is obsessed with the Dark Knight and even has a personalized license plate to display his devotion wherever he goes. There’s Marvin, who used to always call me “Diane” until he finally got it right, but he still calls me “Diane” as a joke. He’s a Jehovah’s Witness and doesn’t celebrate holidays. There’s Richard, who loves the snow and cold, so when it’s shitty outside, I blame him. And don’t even ask me about the guys who work the deli. Those guys are perverts and renegades.

As much as I hate going to the grocery store, Miss M. loves it. She perks up and begs to accompany me whenever she hears my keys rattle, kind of like one of Pavlov’s drooling dogs. More often than not, I indulge her.  Which used to not be a problem when she was small enough to fit in the little front part of the cart. She’d smile and laugh and charm the other shoppers and happily eat her free cookie from the bakery.

But then, dammit, she grew.

She grew so much that she couldn’t even fit into those funky carts that have the little cars attached to the front. At first, I was happy about this because those car carts suck and are impossible to maneuver through the aisles and M. would yell, “BeepBeep!” at the top of her lungs the entire time.

My joy was short lived though, because once your kid outgrows the car cart, you suddenly realize that they are uncontained. Uncontained children in the grocery store are a menace. They assault the bananas. They manhandle the grapes. They sneak off to the toy aisle while you are inspecting the lettuce. It’s ugly, I tell ya.

Suddenly, it was not so fun to have a companion at the grocery store. Especially because M. grew tall early, so while other mothers were happily toting their 4 year olds around in the sucky car carts, my 4 year old was pillaging the kiosk where they keep the cold Snapple and lemonade. In glass containers.

As bad as that was, I still indulged her and brought her with me, figuring she’d already committed most of the grocery store offenses already, so what other mischief was left?

Imagine my horror when–and I swear I have no idea where she got this–my very mobile 4 year old walked up to a man in the bread aisle, smiled winsomely at him, and then began smacking him in the stomach repeatedly, chanting, “Big Fat Belly! Big Fat Belly!”

Now indeed, he did have a big, fat belly, but that’s beside the point. I apologized to the man, who clearly was unamused, grabbed her roughly and took her aside. She was still laughing her wee butt off. In mean mommy mode, I crouched down at eye level and hissed my admonitions at her, giving her the ugly face.

“We don’t say things like that. It isn’t nice.”  “Okay, I ‘know’ he had a big belly, but that is a very personal comment and we do not comment on other people’s appearances.”  “Okay, yes you can comment if you think someone is pretty or you like their shoes, but those are nice things. We don’t comment on other things.”  “Yes, I know I told you that it is important to tell the truth, but sometimes you need to just think things and not say them.”

Surely, this motherly wisdom sunk in. I mean, this was serious mean mommy mode in the bread aisle. That’s wicked big impact, yes?

When we got home from the grocery store, I bent over to slide the industrial-sized pack of toilet paper into the pantry and suddenly was abdominally assaulted. Wham! Wham! “Big Fat Belly! Big Fat Belly!” Miss M. howled, pumping her little feet up and down in glee.

Mommy was not amused.

Neither was Daddy, when he got home from work and got the same treatment.

Nor was the lady behind us in line at the Post Office, the woman in the greeting card section of SuperTarget, the pediatric dentist, the nose-ring girl working at SuperCuts.

That little devil even did it to Grandpa, her best buddy. Of course, he laughed it off, but I was heartbroken. Who raises such a callous child?  Even stick-thin people were assaulted; the child had no boundaries.

Every time she did it, mean mommy raised her ugly head. Lectures were given. Time-outs, too.  I considered beating her, but even I can’t go that far.

This went on for two whole weeks. After the first week, I got smart and decided not to take her anywhere in public, but it got pretty ugly near the end of week two. Wilted lettuce, canned chili, questionable chicken.  But what was I to do? I didn’t have childcare, so I was hostage to my 4 year old Joan Rivers.

And then, she whapped Awesome Stepkid Ro for about the fifth time. “Big Fat Belly! Big Fat Belly!”  He’d put up with it long enough, and is, of course, thin as an Aspen tree.

“Look,” he said, grabbing her busy little hands. “You gotta quit doing this annoying crap.”

And that was the end of the two week Reign of Terror. God Bless big brothers.

{ 52 comments… read them below or add one }

Lyndsey@TheTinySkillet May 24, 2012 at 6:37 am

Lokk at that “angel” face!! Omg, I am so lucky my daugher was extremely shy…she wouldn’t even say hi to her kindergarten teacher when we ran into her at the store.


TKW May 24, 2012 at 8:05 am


Shy is good. Ah,yes. Shy is good.


@MryJhnsn from iNeedaPlaydate May 24, 2012 at 7:31 am

Got to love big brother logic :)


TKW May 24, 2012 at 8:06 am


He is 13 years her senior, so he has impact!


Diane May 24, 2012 at 7:31 am

I’m SO glad I came over from the Writer’s Workshop! This had me laughing out loud… I love your writing style!


TKW May 24, 2012 at 8:07 am


Thanks for coming! I’m glad it gave you a laugh!


Jenna May 24, 2012 at 8:34 am

I’m amazed at the power of the big brother. Wow. Does he still exert such influence over the two wild thangs, or is it waning as they grow older?


TKW May 24, 2012 at 11:55 am


They do, and always will, worship him. :)


Arnebya May 24, 2012 at 8:54 am

I literally, absolutely positively, snorted at this. Oh, as it continued, my giggles subsided (b/c really, two weeks of it? No.). But the initial jiggly belly slap in the grocery store? Mortification, yes, but hilarity too. I am filled with inappropriateness!


TKW May 24, 2012 at 11:55 am

Inappropriateness is always welcome here!


BigLittleWolf May 24, 2012 at 9:01 am

Your “four year old Joan Rivers.”

You crack me up. And I could think of a lot worse things.

(As long as I’m not in the vicinity as she sings her refrain: Big Fat Belly – and I’m not pregnant!)

It was always my older son who spoke up (all too candidly) with observations – age 5 and 6, mostly… Sheesh. You raise your kids to be honest and say what they think, and then – they do!


TKW May 24, 2012 at 11:56 am


I have NO idea where those girls got their mouths. :)


Jennifer May 24, 2012 at 9:14 am

When Cady was about two we were in the store waiting to check out. The line was very, very long and she was SO tired and just wanted to leave. I had let her out of the cart and David was following her around to make sure she didn’t get into anything. She walked up to the lady in front of us, smacked her on the butt, and yelled “MOVE!” It was just as horrible as you are imagining. I was horrified. David scooped her up and practically ran out of the store with her. I’m not sure if it was to get her away from the other customers or to protect her from my wrath.


TKW May 24, 2012 at 11:57 am


The girl just said what you were thinkin’, eh? :)


Tiffany May 24, 2012 at 9:33 am

OMG…she is too cute to have done that! Olivia went up to my BIL’s BIL (got that?) at a party…and he is big…and patted his belly and said “BABY!”. So embarrassing.


TKW May 24, 2012 at 11:58 am

I’ll take “Baby” over “Big Fat Belly!” any day! Ack!


Contemporary Troubadour May 24, 2012 at 1:07 pm

I’m dying here, Kitch. Of laughs and sympathetic mortification. TWO WEEKS?!?

As for knowing too much about your grocery store employees, I think some of that is also being naturally observant as a writer. We only go to our store once a week, but the stories I’ve gleaned … it’s like you can’t help assembling the narrative with every tidbit of information they happen to drop.


TKW May 24, 2012 at 1:27 pm


She really was a horrid little wretch. Thank God for those big brown eyes or she’d be hanging from a rafter somewhere…


elizabeth May 24, 2012 at 3:36 pm

You don’t even know the concept of spending too much time at the grocery store until not only the employees know your usual schedule (and invite you to their weekly soccer game) but other customers recognize you and question why you’re there two days in a row. Like it’s a bad thing.

And as mortifying as her behavior was, at least you were, you know, mortified. Earlier this week we went to see The Avengers in the evening and the two toddlers behind us could not stop babbling or coughing or squealing. And the parents did nothing save for shushing them (ineffective and also disruptive) and shaking food in front of them (also ineffective and disruptive). UGH.


Mary Lee May 24, 2012 at 4:10 pm

Two weeks, huh?

My youngest got her hand stuck in a gumball machine while I was in the checkout line. At least it was only once.


TKW May 24, 2012 at 6:21 pm

Mary Lee,

Sorry, but I’m laughing!


suzicate May 24, 2012 at 5:09 pm

Who could stay mad at that pretty little innocent face? (Maybe that’s her secret weapon!)


TKW May 24, 2012 at 6:22 pm


She knows it, too. :)


Maria May 24, 2012 at 6:41 pm

Oh. My. God. I actually snorted. Because I also have wholly honest, completely mortifying boys. Who are usually to loud to be misunderstood. Luckily, they also are quite good looking and know how to bat those beautiful eyes to save them from Mommy Armageddon. At least it ran it’s course…

Thank you so much for the laugh tonight. It’s been a shit week…


TKW May 24, 2012 at 7:25 pm


Shit week here, too. Sorry about yours. Hoping for only two barf bags this trip!


Jane May 24, 2012 at 7:09 pm

You have me beat. But that adorable face? So angelic. So sweet. I almost don’t believe you.


TKW May 24, 2012 at 7:27 pm


Don’t let those big brown eyes fool you; although she counts on it. Little Wicked Minx.


Heather May 24, 2012 at 8:11 pm

Once again you have proven to me that we could totally swap kids and we would barely notice that they were not the correct sex! With every minx post you write I breathe a little calmer because my life is not so different. Misery loves company :)


Michelle @ Changed By The Maker May 24, 2012 at 8:25 pm

Oh my! So funny I cried, and I can’t remember the last time I did that — maybe reading a Dave Barry book! Thanks for the laugh! Your daughter is beautiful, by the way. Found you at Mama Kats!


TKW May 25, 2012 at 6:24 am


That’s a high compliment! Hope to see you back!


Katybeth May 24, 2012 at 10:01 pm

There is a reason God made children and puppies very cute. Very funny and I totally get how embarrassing those moments are …people are evil and look at you like their child, parent, spouse, dog would never do such an awful thing!! The world would be so much fun if we could just laugh with one another or give each other a secret look/handshare that says….yep I have been in your shoes so many times and I am thanking my lucky stars that today is your turn.
Have a great trip. Bring us some stories.


Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes May 25, 2012 at 4:27 am

You would think kids are contained when they are in the cart wouldn’t you? Not mine though, I was forced to buy a pinapple the other day because it had been molested my little miss bendy-wendy n°2 , who was seated in the cart.
And most embarassin moment to date: n°1 who yanked my t-shirt down to show the village priest that mommy had boobs. Ouch…


TKW May 25, 2012 at 6:25 am


I hope you had your best bra on! LOL!


idiosyncratic eye May 25, 2012 at 5:09 am

Aw, bless! And what an angelic face in that photo! ;)


Dawn May 26, 2012 at 5:11 am

Ahhhh I can always count on you to make me smile! Great story…and you can use it to blackmail her when she’s a teenager.


Lana May 26, 2012 at 11:43 am

Oh, the fine balance between telling the truth and having tact: ) So hard to teach. I still shudder when I think of all the embarrassing moments my three girls put me through. Loved the story, as usual:)
It might not be much, but I nominated you for Food Stories Award for Excellence in Storytelling. I hope the link works, if you want to go and claim it:)


TKW June 2, 2012 at 9:52 pm


It’s 11pm and I am just back from vacation, but thank you so very much!


Kat May 26, 2012 at 3:25 pm

Perhaps it’s time to turn the parenting reigns over to big brother…he can start putting her to bed at night, fix her breakfast in the morning…babysit her while you go grocery shopping. Now that we know how valuable he is there’s not reason not to lay a little more responsibility on him! ;)


Liz May 31, 2012 at 3:04 am

These are always my favorite kinds of posts of yours (but then again, that probably says more about my allergy to cooking than anything else).
It’s always nice to know that even the nice kids of the nice moms do horrid things.


koreen June 1, 2012 at 6:29 pm

Awesome! Sorry, but yes, that story is awesome. :D


kelly June 4, 2012 at 1:03 pm

Well thank god our kids are not friends. Mine has no fear, twice now I have had incidences in the checkout line, it’s like they know we are trapped. The first time she was in the cart (thankfully she still fits) and she swung her leg out and kicked a drink out of the hand of a gentleman standing behind us. I was of course putting the groceries on the conveyor belt and only turned when I heard the bottle hit the floor. Needless to say, I was mortified and offered to buy the man’s soda, he declined and was quite amused by it while I was not. Another time she smacked the bagger on the arm when he was putting a bag into our card. He was not amused and when I asked her to say she was sorry denied doing it at all, so that always makes for a longer stand-off. So now, if possible I plan my grocery store runs for after bed hours. I will shop with the weirdoes just to be child free!


TKW June 4, 2012 at 3:01 pm


How did I know that our girls were kindred spirits in the naughty department?


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