Wal-Mart’s Revenge.

Sam’s Club.

Despite my feelings toward his mother Wal-Mart that I shared without reserve last week, I’ve always found Sam to be a delightful fellow.

Big quantities, cheap prices, more locations than Costco, adorable little old ladies handing out samples…

Actually that last point is starting to change. Because my third to last visit brought me in contact with three different types of sample distribution methods:

1. A vending machine that requested I swipe my Sam’s card in exchange for it to spit out my sample into a receptacle with a complete lack of warmth and care,

2. A scowl-faced teenager sitting at the Pizza Sample Table who LIT-RALLY never looked up from his phone the entire time my children, with much analysis, picked out their many samples, and

3. The delightful vintage-Sam’s smiling old lady handing out peach samples – which were so good that we bought some – for which she thanked us profusely, because delightful old ladies are only paid commission. We ate two, then threw the rest away because they were complete mush and nothing like her samples. Two weeks later, we read all of the recall articles clearly implicating our Mush Peaches as being contaminated with Listeria.

I hope she enjoyed her trip to the bank compliments of our disease-ridden peach charity.

But that’s not the point of today’s post.

Today’s post is about the friendliness of other Sam’s shoppers. After all, we all paid to be there. We’re all in this together. We are, for sure, A CLUB.

Actually, friendliness might also not always be true. On my second to last visit, I was coming around a corner when an elderly shopper caned me.

No seriously – she had been carrying her four-pronged cane around in her jumbo-sized shopping cart and picked that exact second to remove her cane from its place of resting and swing it around her head like a cowboy wrangling cattle before setting it on the ground with the nice addition of a piece of my skull.

I was her cow that day.

But that’s not the point of today’s post, either.

Today’s post is about our very last visit to Sam’s Club – Thursday night.

Chris was going to quickly run in and get the two items he needed, but Noah had to pee and I always have to pee, so we drug Ali along with us and turned it into a family affair.

We bathroomed, we shopped, we avoided delightful old sample ladies handing out plagues like candy, and we paid for our purchases.

But Chris wanted to get a fountain drink, so after we paid, we hauled our purchases and our progeny over to the refreshment counter.

As they thought they had done their Sam’s duty, the children were restless, running circles around our legs and such.

The lady directly behind Chris caught a glimpse of Noah on one of his go-rounds.

She gasped.

“Ohhhh mah. Doesn’t he just have the purtiest eyes???”

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Then Ali came around the corner of my right thigh.

“AND HERS TOO!!! Mah goodness. So lovely.”

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She turned her attention to squinting at my eyes, as they always do. I gave my typical muttered response of, “Yes, they got all of the recessive genes – I’m not sure how.”

She replied, “Well maybe they got their Daddy’s eyes!”, and motioned to Chris, who had his back to us.

(As if I might have forgotten to consider him in the explanation of the genetic makeup of our children.)

“No, his eyes are just like mine. They got their Grandparent’s eyes, actually.”

“Oh, I see. Well, they’re just lovely.”

We paid, she paid, and we moved on.

As we were juggling our purchases at a table so that Chris could fill his drink, the lady that was behind the eye-noticing lady walked up to us.

She patted us both on the shoulders simultaneously and said,

“I tell you what. Y’all sure do look good to be grandparents.”

I laughed, thinking she was making a weird joke that I didn’t quite understand.

I choked, when I looked into her eyes and saw her genuineness.

I died on the inside, when I realized that THAT LADY ACTUALLY THOUGHT I COULD POSSIBLY BE A GRANDMOTHER.

OF A THREE AND SEVEN YEAR OLD.

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Did Wal-Mart plant this lady here to pay me back for last week’s blog post? Or is Karma just actually that real and swift?

You win, Wal-Mart. You. Win.

I obsessively did the math in my head. Assuming I look like my age of 32, which is a generous assumption, apparently, I would have had to have been twelve and a half, and my daughter would have had to have been twelve and a half – at delivery, not conception – for me to be Ali’s grandmother.

Chris walked to the drink machine and our new friend followed him before I could share these figures with her because I had accidentally swallowed and digested my tongue.

She patted him again and said, “Aren’t grandchildren just tha best?! I’m a grandmother also. And I look purty good too, dontcha think?”

He smiled and agreed.

SMILED. AND AGREED.

Because yes.

Why not?

Sure.

Let’s play Grandparents.

Because that doesn’t at all make me feel like I need to buy every wrinkle cream in the western hemisphere.

Luckily, Sam’s Club has them all – in jumbo sizes.

Toddler, Interrupted.

I woke up yesterday morning holding a handful of vomit.

I quickly took in my surroundings, trying to orient myself as to how I had come into possession of someone else’s stomach contents. There was a screaming toddler sitting on his bed in front of me, his carpeted floor was dotted with stepping stones of puke, mysteriously going to the door and back, leaving one to wonder where his journey of bile might have taken him. And myself – I was in the center. Holding puke, puke on the bottom of my foot, sitting in puke.

It was 6:14am.

This was not what I had in mind for an alarm clock. In fact, I had asked Chris the night before to move my phone to my bedside table when he woke up so that I didn’t have to jump up and run in the bathroom when my rare alarm clock did go off at 7:30.

[I can’t sleep with my phone in the same room. We need space for our co-dependent relationship to function.]

Jumping up to turn off my alarm clock now sounded delightful compared to my current frozen position. Because what exactly does one do when they awaken to realize they are coated in a potentially pandemic contagion? One does not move.

“Maybe this is to save Noah from becoming the next Brad Pitt,” I reasoned to myself in my sleepy subconscious.

Earlier in the week I had rather inexplicably volunteered my son to be in a local commercial. I had been confused by my turn of events – it wasn’t really my thing to attempt to go out of my way to make my life difficult, as I certainly had done to my Father when my own childhood movie debut consisted of me riding on the same Merry-Go-Round for four hours straight with a doll that I despised.

The thirty minute screen test for this potential four-hour commercial shoot of Noah’s was scheduled for The Morning of Puke, hence my alarm clock in the first place. And clearly this commercial would have skyrocketed Noah’s career instantaneously, propelling him to become The Male Shirley Temple of the twenty-teens, and would’ve led to a life of screaming tween girls, Disney Channel sitcoms, addiction, ten million SnapChat followers, stringy hair, and being not-married to a scary woman with giant lips that could certainly beat him up if she pulled out her Lara Croft outfit.

(I know Mr. Pitt wasn’t a child-star but this is Noah’s story, not Brad’s. Keep up.)

So it was best that I was holding a handful of vomit. Because nobody wants Angelina as a daughter-in-law – I can’t compete with that. Even if I was the one who had held his vomit.

Chris had been downstairs about to exercise then leave for work, and he’d heard the guttural screams (whether coming from myself or Noah, no one will ever know), and thankfully trailed my sleepwalking puke-catching self and had the presence of mind to bring a trash can. I shook the contents of my hands into the receptacle and muttered something about Knox being a gelatin and Zahara being a desert and neither being a proper name for a grandchild anyway.

My second thought was my weekend. My enablingly-doting husband had arranged to take me away for a day and night, as I had been feeling suffocated by my children and hiding from them on a more regular basis than typically necessary. This hiding had been sponsored by a six-day nap-strike on the part of Noah, who would follow his non-naps with extreme sleep-deprived grumpiness and then fall asleep immediately upon entrance to an automobile.

And now he was potentially contagious. Ready to spread his lovingkindness to every family member and stretch this particular breed of hell out until we were no longer able to escape his toddler grips this weekend.

Was it a stomach virus or food poisoning? I secretly hoped for a mild case of food poisoning – food that he had picked up off the sidewalk and eaten alone.

I ran the list of possible pick-up points…

1. Chick-Fil-A PlayPlace (In which he blessedly didn’t require a rescue – but was that because he was too busy licking every surface?)
2. The Neighborhood Playground
3. Playing with Bird Placentas (That’s on everyone’s list of why-is-my-child-sick, right?)
4. Sunday School
5. Drinking out of a sippy cup he found under the car seat or under a park bench or in the trash can

I spent the rest of the day attempting to catch the remains of Chicken Nuggets as well as I had whilst sleepwalking. And with any energy left over, I obsessively crafted slipcovers for my valuables to protect them from my Valuable’s bodily fluids.

Puking Toddler

 

And then naptime came. I curled up next to him in his bed to get him settled in, and he immediately started snoring.

Nap. The sweet sweet aroma of nap. It took an upside-down stomach to bring it back, but…you get what you pray for.

Three Teeth and a Babysitter.

Back of Letter

Upon the loss of one’s eldest child’s first tooth, parental discussion has to take place.

Are we going to do the Tooth Fairy thing?

How far does our willingness to “Fairy It Up” go?

How much does the Tooth Fairy pay for teeth these days?

We agreed that yes, we would do the Tooth Fairy, but most likely half-heartedly, much like we do Santa.

And plus – Ali was always quick to tell us, “Silly. Fairies aren’t REAL. Everyone knows that!”

But then one of our babysitters told Ali that fairies were totally real and she’d even seen one, giving Ali the boost she needed to believe.

Like seriously BELIEVE.

So then Ali somewhat cornered us further into Fairying It Up by always writing a note to the Tooth Fairy – and I couldn’t help but respond.

(So really, everything is the babysitter’s fault.)

(Or at least I will frame it that way when Ali finds out the truth and has to work her way through the Five Stages of Feeling Deceived. Or Ninety-Five, when you’re as black and white as Ali. I think we’ll hire a babysitter that night.)

As for the last question, Chris and I discussed the price of our own teeth in the 80’s, reviewed inflation graphs, and ran an amortization schedule to come up with the highly scientific price tag of $5 a tooth.

After all – each kid only has 20 teeth. So that’s a $100 investment in the loss of their entire mouth, spread out over a couple of years. And we only have two kids, so how bad could it be?

We did not, however, take into account the difficulties of staying stocked in $5 bills if Ali ever went on a toothing spree. Note the dates on my Tooth Fairy Letters.

Tooth Fairy Documents

That’s right. After a six month hiatus following The Fangs From Hell, she has lost three teeth in less than a week – and a fourth is quite loose.

Three Teeth Lost in One Week

Her mouth is beginning to look like a nearly-finished Jenga Game and the news about the Federal Reserve’s shortage of $5 bills is totally her fault.

But something happened during that six-month break: a flash of skepticism.

After the first loss of Tooth Week, she wrote her note while in my company before bedtime. When Chris went to tuck her in, she had added a penciled addendum:

First Letter

“Can I meet you tonit?”

Chris offhandedly told me about the addition, so I addressed it in my note back.

TF Letter Four

She fell asleep with her note firmly under her arm, so I had to pry it out with the precision of a neurosurgeon to swap it for mine without waking her and ruining my life.

The next morning, Ali ran into my room and said, “I even added that last part onto the note without telling you! …just to see.”

Oh Crap.

She’s gonna hate me so hard when she does find out. What have I done. I better line up that babysitter.

Five days later I pulled the next tooth. Two teeth now, on the first yank, no tears. I was elated, as was she.

Second Letter

Chris and I debated whether the Tooth Fairy’s favorite color should indeed be white (Ali also assumes my Grandmother’s favorite color is white based solely on the fact that her hair is.) Ultimately, Chris left it up to me.

 

TF Letter Two

As I headed into her room for what would probably be another note-prying, I said to Chris,

“Wait a minute. How is tooth-fairying all my deal? Why don’t you ever have to retrieve a tooth? Or pull them, for that matter?”

“We have a good system.”

“You mean that I do all the work?”

“Well, you started the note thing. I would never do that. So it’s on you.”

“Whaddya mean?? You don’t approve of my notes? She loves it!”

“I could never keep up with that kind of continuity. As I said, we have a good system.”

I pondered, remembering that this was pretty much the only familial duty that he’s not constantly offering to do for me or just doing it for me without asking. We do indeed have a good system.

The very next night, the third tooth was begging to be pulled.

Third Letter

And this time, although her note was retrievable, Ali had the tooth in a Ziploc bag firmly in her fist under her pillow.

I left my note and her money, but also left the tooth bag.

TF Letter Three

Chris was worried. “You – I mean the Tooth Fairy – told her that you would always put the teeth in my body part box. This may be it for you – it may all blow up in your face tomorrow.”

Out of guilt, I went back and attempted another retrieval. But it wasn’t happening. She was making a fist pearl out of that baggied tooth.

“You should leave another letter then. Explaining why you left it.”

“I’m too tired.”

“Okaaaaay….”

The next morning, Ali came in with the Tooth Fairy note and the tooth.

“Look what I found under my pillow! Why would she have left the note? She PROMISED to ALWAYS put them in Daddy’s collection!”

“Hmm…I don’t know! Maybe she was just busy.”

“But she PROMISED!! And no one should EVER break their promises.”

Yup. It’s time to have the babysitter over to clear things up.