Tropical Storm Tighe takes on Meijer

Patrick recently (as in Monday) got a new Air Soft gun. He’s been hankering for this bad boy for months and worked really hard for the privilege to own it. (As far as I’m concerned, the real test is yet to come; I’m not crazy about the thought of five other kids running around anywhere near him when he’s shooting, but at some point we have to let him try to show us his responsibility factor….right?)

Since Monday, he’s been hounding (is there a word stronger than hounding, perhaps? Pestering? Badgering? I’ll let you choose the best strong verb to insert here.) us to go complete the outfit with AirSoft BBs, because really, what good is any weapon if it just sits there, unable to do anything? It’s taken us a few days to get over to the store–or get up the courage, however you want to lay it out–but this afternoon’s schedule seemed to allow for it. Hannah was babysitting her cousins and I needed to take everyone else over to the allergist for their weekly shots. After a bit more badgering, Patrick convinced me that we could squeeze in a quick trip to Meijer after the shots and before Chloe’s nap. No problem. Besides, I needed a couple grocery items, so we could get it all done in just a few minutes.

Except for rare occasions like the time they had to reformulate vials for all four kids because of a timing problem while we waited, getting shots at the allergist’s is pretty cut and dry. I like that. Thankfully, today was no exception, so we got our injections and scadattled on out to Meijer. I was feeling pretty good when we even managed to get a parking spot close AND next to the cart return. (Wow…I sound really old to be excited about such things, and yet, here I am, proclaiming it to the blogosphere….) Before we got out of the van I quickly reviewed the rules with the kids–look with your eyes, not your hands; stay close to me; I’m not afraid to pile you all in one cart if you get out of hand…the usual. It’s only as we walked into the store that I realized that in order to get to the BBs, we have to walk past the toys. The toys. I avoid walking by the toy aisles like there are communicable diseases on every shelf. I loathe the toy aisles. I even avoid them when shopping alone. Love kids, hate the toys. It’s just the way I am, and I’m OK with that. But we were there to get the blasted BBs and I knew the kids would understand if we couldn’t lounge in every aisle with thoughts of Christmas lists-to-be. I also know I’ve got “older” kids now, so B1, B2, and Andrew had permission to look through the Legos while we got the BBs. I figured with their regular (and loud) shrieks of delight, I’d be able to keep an ear out for them.

Patrick was already at the sacred spot by the time I caught up with him, and he had the hallowed canister of BBs in his hands. He looked over them happily, as if he were inspecting every little blue sphere, so thrilled to finally be holding all 6500 of them safely ensconced in the plastic container. And then, without warning and seemingly without cause, he reached to put the prized posession back on the shelf, holding it by the yellow cap. Instead of setting them on top of the shelf, however, he hit the side of the container against the shelf, which inexplicably caused the top to come off. In an instant, the entire six thousand and five hundred beads escaped from their prison-like vessel and ran free throughout the aisle, rolling here and there and jumping into far-away spots in the time it took Patrick and I to groan in unison. The poor boy was at once both embarrassed and angry. He immediately dropped down and tried to collect the uncollectable. Chloe kicked her legs and shouted “You spilled them, Patrick! Awesome!!” but we (namely, me) were not amused. After trying in vain to pick them up, I had Patrick go and find a friendly Meijer associate whom I thought would surely be grateful for a cleaning project to carry him or her through the next little bit of the work day. Who likes to be bored with nothing to do, right? When he arrived, he was very polite and we were very apologetic. I collected everyone, had them stay close to me, and we scurried away, off to see what trouble we could stir up in the frozen food aisles. I bet those frozen peas are a bear to collect…

As an addendum, while I was checking out, I gave Patrick four pennies to let Chloe and Andrew ride the pony twice each. For some unknown reason, Chloe came unhinged at the thought of *only* getting two rides. Lovely. The woman in front of me tried to hand me a stack of pennies, but I had to politely decline them, explaining that even if I took them, I couldn’t let her ride now that she was having a redheaded moment. (It was nice of her to try and help, though.) It just reinforced my don’t-go-grocery-shopping-at-naptime life goal. I guess I had gotten out of practice….

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