Belly: My Child’s Two Week Reign of Terror

July 23, 2014

The minute she hears the jangling of car keys, my daughter perks up and falls to attention, kind of like one of Pavlov’s drooling dogs. She knows I’m going to the grocery store, and she’s not about to be left behind. 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 whackadoodle 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, “BeepBeepMoveit!” 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 along, figuring she’d already committed most of the Deadly Sins of the Grocery Store, so what other mischief was left?

Mommy isn’t smart.

Imagine my surprise when, one fine spring day, 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?

Dana iphone photos 007

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–which would have been quite satisfying at this point–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!” she crowed.  He’d put up with it long enough, and is, of course, thin as an Aspen tree.

“Look,” he growled, grabbing her busy little hands. “You. Need. To. Quit. This. Annoying. Crap.”

Her brown eyes turned saucer-like and, for the first time in several weeks, words seemed to fail her.

And, just like that, it was over.

The Two Week Reign of Terror was over.

I’d lectured, I’d punished, I’d hissed like a pit viper, all to no avail. Clearly, that little pissant doesn’t fear me one lick.

God Bless big brothers.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Liv July 23, 2015 at 4:13 pm

It’s amazing what a little peer pressure can do isn’t it?


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