The other morning, I was at the grocery store with Max and Maggie. It was about two degrees hotter than the sun outside, so I was trying to get finished quickly and get home before it got any hotter. Maggie was seated in that little seat that they have in the front of grocery carts, and Max was walking alongside me, because he is a self-declared Big Boy, and mustn't suffer the indignity of riding in the cart any more. Max was trying to talk me into buying more milk, and I was trying to resist his sales pitch, when Maggie suddenly started BELLOWING. The earth shook, people. I looked over and saw that she had somehow worked her leg out of the grocery cart leg hole and into a much smaller space between two of the bars of the cart, where her foot was now stuck. As luck would have it, a trembly, tiny little old lady happened to be walking by right as all of this hit the fan, and I spent a purgatorial five minutes simultaneously trying to soothe Maggie, wrestle her fleshy little ankle out of the grocery cart, stop Max from piling milk cartons and other dairy products in the aisle for my consideration ("Look, Mama! Green milk! We need that kind, I think! Look, Mama! Pink milk! I better choose some of that! Oh, see, Mama, we need yogurt!"), and reassure the little old lady, who palsied her way around our cart in nervous circles, wringing her hands and chanting at me, "Oh, no! The poor baby! Should I get the manager? How did it happen? Can you get it out? Should I find some help? Oh, no, oh, dear!" and etc. Maggie was making a lot of noise, and no one likes to see a baby in distress, but seriously? You would think that this woman was at the scene of a forty-car pile up with carnage everywhere. And what the hell is a grocery store manager going to do to free Maggie that I wasn't already doing? Do they keep the Jaws of Life in the back, in case of grocery cart-ankle-related emergencies? And if so, they need to really consider redesigning their grocery carts.
Anyhoo, I untangled Maggie eventually, although she blamed the grocery cart (unfairly, I think. I mean who wedged her foot in the too-small hole?)and insisted on being carried for the rest of the trip, so that she could yell directly into my ear and thus share her displeasure with me with no cart separating us. I shook off the little old lady (who is probably telling all her little old friends about the horrific baby-crippling she witnessed and her own heroic role in the proceedings as we speak), and I unburied Max from the dairy section. I then decided that we had earned a smoothie (the deli at our grocery store sells these all-fruit frozen smoothies, and Max would walk through fire for them). I got Max a smoothie, a bagel for Max and Maggie to share, and a giant coffee for myself. With a shot of whiskey. (I am, of course, kidding about the whiskey. I would never drink whiskey in the middle of the day when I had children in my care. Also they don't sell whiskey at the deli counter of the grocery store.) I had to put Maggie back in the grocery seat in order to put milk in my coffee, and she put up with it, grudgingly, because she had a bagel to gnaw. As we were wheeling ourselves on out, I was waylaid by a middle-aged woman with very long white hair, dressed, it appeared, entirely in strategically knotted flowy scarves in a variety of colors. She was Davis, personified.
"Your children are lovely," she breathed at me. "Your daughter has such a golden, mellow aura about her. She must be a very peaceful person to have around."
I tried to find the nervous little old lady, so that I could have a witness to back up the hearty and sarcastic "HA!" that I uttered, but she had disappeared.