Whenever you take your kids out in public ... more specifically, to any place wherein they are likely to come into contact with human beings who aren't genetically programmed to think they are the most adorable, intelligent, sweetly humorous, amazingly adorable beings to ever have walked on the planet ... you are on rented time.
The best of the best have daily errands down to a science.
"I can go grocery shopping between 10 and noon, so long as we are finished at noon so junior can have lunch and a two-hour nap. ...
"If for some reason we can't leave for the supermarket by quarter-past 10, we will have to wait until 2:30 when nap time is over and little pumpkin has had the smallest of wee snacks.
"Of course once we get there we will have to visit the lobsters first thing. Squash blossom really likes to count them, and really, it's not a lot of fun combing through the produce aisle when kids have their hearts (and their constant chatter) set on crustaceans.
"Now, to prevent any potential disruptions in the shopping excursion, we'll make sure junior is occupied with any of the 1,001 tiny distractions I've shrewdly stowed in my bottomless purse."
“Whenever we need to do something IMPORTANT we call a sitter.”
Ah ... to be so prepared.
That scenario is so far from me that the light from “That Scenario” would take 100,000 years to get to the place I am right now, which seems to be located somewhere between “Holding My Breath” and “Winging It.”
Grocery shopping for me -- a time that used to be filled with a moderate amount of welcome revelation when the children were still in arms -- has become a race to gather enough provisions before The Champ, who DEMANDS to use the aisle-wide car cart but REFUSES to sit in its cockpit for longer than it takes to navigate through the produce section, disappears into the bakery department not even glancing back.
Lumbering after him in a cart that barely fits past the pastries without upturning some flaky delight seems like the height of humiliation.
But it gets worse.
Worse are the times when you are forced to explain your child's "completely unusual behavior" to a kindly person who just wanted to strike up a casual conversation with your precious pumpkin and they were snubbed. Maybe even screamed at to "LEAVE ME AWONE!"
All of these things and more go through my head as I took my son to work on Election Day, hoping above hope that he would allow me to get just a few photographs of the candidate and his wife before the boy's head spun around and pea soup started spewing forth.
You hope for the best and prepare for the worst.
Those times when your precious little pea pod actually thanks the grandmotherly pollster for her offer of a cookie or a doughnut are so remote you don't even hope for them anymore. All you can do is apologize profusely when he scowls and hides his face.
"He's just tired."
"He's a little shy."
"He's unusually grumpy today."
None of that is entirely true.
“It’s 9 a.m.”
“He wanted ice cream for breakfast.”
It doesn't really matter what you tell them. Most people understand timing can be everything. They might even understand your kid's meter just ran out.