So when I said we were no longer very close to a grocery store, I kinda lied. See, there's a Piggly Wiggly about a mile or two from our house. Its the little country grocery store that sells pretty much just the necessities at a price that makes you slap yourself in the forehead for forgetting to get said necessities at the bigger chain store in the first place. I've been inside that Piggly Wiggly exactly TWICE with my boys.
They know its a grocery store.
They know we buy foodstuffs there.
There are no toys. No swing sets. No giant mice walking around in costume.
Yet somehow its the greatest freaking place on earth.
I'm not an anal-retentive person by nature. I'm very easy going. Very "go with it" and very "as long as you're fed and happy I don't care if you wear red sweatpants with a light blue camouflage shirt". But I do do lots of things simply because they're easier.
As soon as my boys were of whatever the correct size and weight it is to safely do so, we moved them from their car seats to booster seats. Unlike the hellish baby car seats which nearly require some sort of advanced college degree that I did not get (I was a journalism student, thankyouverymuch) to fasten and unfasten them in and out of your car, these pretty babies simply sit on the back seat and one pulls a regular humanoid seat belt across their kid to buckle them in. (The belt feeds through an opening near the top so as to guide it across their bodies properly, and not across their face.) Need to hand off a seat to Grandma? Great. Takes 32 and a half seconds, approximately.
What's also great about them is that both boys have the exact same seat. There's no "his seat" and "my seat", its just "get in where you fit in" or wherever the hell Mommy happens to put you.
Until we moved.
We pass the aforementioned Piggly Wiggly (or "Pid Widdly" as Will calls it) every single time we drive into town to do, well, anything. This is where I blame that damn Porky Pig looking douche on the outside of the building for my woes: the kids started calling out when 'Pid Widdly' was on their "side".
As in: HEY! I WIN! PID WIDDLY IS ON MY SIDE!
Which would then be followed up by an, AW! THAT'S NOT FAIR!!! MOOOOOM...HE HAD PID WIDDLY ON HIS SIDE LAAAASSST TIIIIIMMEEEE!
Which was often followed by a WHAAAAAA!
Leading me to curse the very existence of that fat pig and want to shove some play-dough-like substance into my ear canals.
Aha! I thought one day. If I put kid 1 only on the driver's side and kid 2 only on the passenger's side, then each kid will get a turn on the goddamned Pid Widdly side - one on the way to town, the other on the way home!
(I'm so brilliant sometimes I'm in awe of myself.)
And all was well.
Then my stinkin' kid had to go and get, like, all smart and stuff on me. You see one day, after picking up our highly nutritious dinners from Qdoba (I swear all the food groups are in there) we walked back out to the car to find someone had parked their Mercedes juuuuust a bit too close to my car for my comfort.
I saw it and had the typical "Mommy response". I stopped dead in my tracks, picturing my five-year-old happily flinging his door open and climbing inside like a good little boy...oblivious to the fact that he also just gouged the hell out of the paint job on a $75,000 car while doing so.
"WAIT!" I cried. "We're going to all climb in on this side today." Holding both their hands (cuz we were in a parking lot, yo) I juggled my purse, keys and our bag of yummy, healthy, well-balanced dinners.
Nick protested. "No Mom! I can do it myself. See?"
He shook himself free of my grasp and sprinted around to the other side of the car. Before I could say another word, he was reaching up to grab the handle.
"NO! DON'T TOUCH THAT!" I knew I was being one of those Moms. I was slightly too loud and slightly too panicked for the situation, and I was unsuccessfully juggling, um, everything. But there was no way I was going to let this tiny little outing turn into a $5000 lesson.
"But I can just..." and just like that, his car door was opened and I believe I actually clutched at invisible pearls with my full hands, quite possibly hitting the three-year-old in the head with a bag full of burritos.
It was all for naught. My five-year-old is quite skinny, and instead of flinging the door open wide like I imagined he would, the way he always does, it was only open a mere six inches, and before my heart could beat regularly again, he was in his seat, the belt pulled across his lap and the car door was closed.
Well thank God for that.
I put all our goodies on the passenger seat and strapped Will in for the short ride home. Fast forward ten minutes later.
"HA HA! PID WIDDLY'S OUT MY SIDE!!! ITS OUT MY SIDE AGA-AIN!"
There was a short beat of silence, as the reality of what Nick was saying hit home with Will.
"BUT ITS MY TURN. ITS MY PID WIDDLY TURN! THAT'S NOT FAIR!!!" Which was followed by a melt-down from Will of epic proportions.
Nick had taken advantage of my preoccupied state to do the advanced five-year-old math and cheat his way into sitting on the stinkin' Pid Widdly side twice in a row.
I turned and looked at him. He was grinning from ear to ear, swinging his converse-clad feet in little boy joy. He was clearly very proud of himself. To be honest, I was a tad proud that he was able to figure that out as well, but so stinkin' angry that this was what my life had come to. I mean, really? THIS is what they were fighting over? Who gives a CRAP who has a freakin' GROCERY STORE out their car window?!?
I told him that Will was going to get to sit on the Pid Widdly side for the next FIVE trips, which then caused Nick to wail like I'd just set his hair on fire. I ended up finishing that ride with dual sirens bawling away in the back seat.
By the time we pulled into the garage, the cries had subsided into sniffles. We climbed the steps to the house in relative quiet, and the boys sat at the table not uttering a word while I dug out plates and cups and forks and napkins.
I set their food on their plates, cutting into pieces those items that required such, and doling out equal portions of rice and sour cream and guacamole. As the final required item before I could sit down and enjoy my (now lukewarm) food, I opened the fridge to grab the milk and pour them each a glass.
I stopped short - again - in front of the open door. No freakin' milk.
Some days I think I must have been a real a-hole in a past life.
I muttered something about how I wished that "Daddy had mentioned we were out of milk" before grabbing the juice and deciding I no longer cared.
I sighed heavily as I began to pour it into their glasses.
"Well, Mommy," said Nick, his lashes still wet with earlier tears. "We could just go to Pid Widdly..."