I’m one of those people that actually enjoys grocery shopping, even more so now that I have a little companion to bring with me. He’s more of a therapy baby really. Sometimes I get social anxiety and knowing that I have Beau to keep me company puts my mind at ease. Like if I see somebody from high school that I haven’t seen in six years I can easily avoid them by playing pick a boo with my baby or pretending to tend to his needs. I just re-read these first few sentences and I realize that I might not feel this way in a couple years… like at one point I might long to go to the grocery store by myself but right now I am super thankful to have Beau. Before I had him I used to borrow my sister’s kids to go grocery shopping… it’s that bad sometimes. Having someone to go grocery shopping with is the equivalent of putting headphones on and shutting out the world.
Beau has recently been promoted to the big boy seat in the cart. This means a few things; I actually have room to put my groceries now that his infant seat isn’t taking up the entire cart, I have to take the baby out of the car seat which is a major pain in the ass and way less convenient than just taking the entire seat but also less heavy, and now Beau is even more susceptible to his surroundings. Before I could just tuck him away in his infant seat and protect him from the wandering hands of passerbyers. People almost perceive an infant seat as a yield sign. They assume that whatever is in that seat is delicate and small and shouldn’t be crowded…most people assume this. But once you put your still delicate and small baby in the big boy seat it seems that people immediately assume that it’s fair game to touch your baby and breathe all over them.
There’s one person in particular that I expect to take advantage of Beau’s vulnerable position in the shopping cart. She works at the place I grocery shop at and she’s one of the reasons I’m happy to have my therapy baby with me, so I can be more effective at ignoring her. Unfortunately, as much as I would like to be invisible at times, Beau does just the opposite, he attracts people. I guess it’s inevitable when you’re so damn cute, but there are some unwritten rules as to how you are supposed to approach a baby.
This woman in particular always seems to over step her boundaries when I see her. The worst part is, is she comes into my family’s place of business and is never satisfied, but when I see her at her place of employment she wants to be my best friend and practically hump my leg. She always talks about how big the baby is getting and goes on and on pretending to care. She’ll sometimes put her hand on his car seat and touch Beau’s feet, which I’m not super pleased about, but I let it go because I really don’t want to cause a scene in the place that I regularly grocery shop.
I knew that if she saw Beau in is big boy seat, that was going to make him more accessible and inviting to her. I wanted to avoid that at all costs. I swiftly did my grocery shopping and cashed out. So far so good. I decided to test my luck and I went to the bank that was located in the store. I needed to fill out a deposit slip and I could only wedge the shopping cart so close to me so I put my foot on the cart to provide a bit of security. This is something that I do regularly. Even if my back is turned just for a moment to grab a box of cheez-it’s, I always keep a limb attached to the cart. I have precious cargo in there. Anyways, I can hear and feel her approaching us as I’m signing my name on the deposit slip. I hold onto the cart a little tighter and dig my face a little deeper into the privacy wall at the bank in hopes of remaining unseen. No such luck. At this point Beau is bait. I pretend to remain busy as she’s talking to him. It wasn’t until she said, “oh maybe if I take the cart away, your mom will pay attention…oh I guess she is paying attention , she has her foot on the cart.”
I could feel my blood boiling. I never knew what mama bear instincts truly were until that moment. Who in the third circle of hell does this grotesque woman think she is pretending to take my shopping cart away with my baby in it? I’m at the bank, I’m trying to conduct personal business. I’m not standing in line for ice cream. I’m not your waitress. I’m not getting paid to be nice to you. You need to kindly fuck off before I lose my cool and I need to ask the bank to lend me bail money. I was seeing red and clearly that was not being conveyed in my facial expressions or body language because this troll proceeded to stroke my son’s chin and joked that she could probably get him to sleep if she kept doing that. I nearly said under my breath, “no, but I am definitely going to punch you in the face if you keep doing that.”
It’s odd because I always thought I was going to be the type of mother that wouldn’t hesitate to tell somebody to fuck off in a situation like this, but I was rendered speechless. The audacity of this woman nearly crippled me. I was burning up inside, but my thoughts never transpired into actions.
I left the store vowing to find a new grocery store and a different bank. I let it linger for awhile before calling management the next day and filing a complaint.
I’m kind of mad that I didn’t stick up for myself or vocalize how I was feeling at the time. In a way I feel like I didn’t advocate for my son like I should have. At least I know my mama bear instinct has been engaged. Perhaps, next time I won’t be so calm and collected.