I was at the pharmacy this morning filling two amoxicillin prescriptions for four infected ears. The three of us strolled up to the drop-off window. Correction, I strolled, J wobbled and M sprinted.
I looked down and immediately got nervous. I could see J's eyes flashing and his lips curling as he glanced around at all the destroy options within his reach -- pregnancy test boxes (wouldn't that be poetic for him to knock a whole row of those over), antacid bottles, vitamin containers, band-aid boxes. A couple of swift moves and they'd all be gonners. He made a couple of pre-emptive grunts, and I headed him off by scooping him up.
There are times I wish I was in better shape or just plain bigger and stronger. This was one of those times. Upon being thwarted from his seek-and-destroy mission, J immediately threw his head back, catapulting both of us backwards and nearly hitting the shelf behind us.
"Fuck!" I screamed (in my head).
I quickly regained my composure and put J down, holding onto the back of his shirt and, in essence, turning his tee into a choke collar. Meanwhile, M was perusing the crap toy wall nearby and I could hear her periodically whining, "Mama, I reeeeeeallly like this jump rope. Can I pleeeeeeease have it? Just this oooooone? Paaaaaaalease?" I pretended I didn't know who she was.
Please note, at this point, I have not even been able to GIVE the prescriptions to the pharmacist who was standing and waiting for me to give her even the slightest hint that I'd be able to pull my shit together. I finally make eye contact.
"I have a couple of prescriptions to drop off," I say. It's just to let her know that I am getting THERE. I'm not there yet, but I'm working on it.
I start digging in my purse with one hand (other hand maneuvering the choke collar), which could actually be a carry-on suitcase, it's so gd huge. I'm rifling through diapers, two wipey containers, crumbs, a sippy cup, loose change, a few loose wipes (nothing more disconcerting than reaching in your purse and finding a wet wipe hangin' out and wondering if you just stuck your hand in some toxic combo of saliva, snot and sanitizer), a Matchbox car, a Goldfish, an unopened juice box (thank GOD), three cottonballs (no idea), and a bottle of water. Finally, I pull them out.
"Here they are," I gasp. She takes them from me. I look down. The choke collar seems to not be having any sort of effect on J as he's pulling from my slowly weakening grip. M walks up right as he pulls away.
"Mooooo-ooooomy. I think this jump rope is ADORABLE. Don't you?"
You've got to me kidding me. "Yes, it's very cute, honey, but we are not buying any toys today. We are just here to get medicine." I hope she hears the edge in my voice and throws me a bone. No such luck.
"But, maaaamaaaa. It's just so adorable. Just look. I only want this one thing and I won't ask for anything else..."
Wait, where's J? I scan the perimeter of the pharmacy counter just in time to see him rounding the corner of the vitamin aisle. I take off after him. "It will be 15 minutes, Miss!" the pharmacist yells after me. "Thanks!" I holler back. "Come on M!"
"BAAAAAGAAA! MAMAMAMAMAMAMA! LADAAAAAFAAAAAMAMAMAMA!" he screams just as I start seeing bottles go flying.
"Fuck me!" I yell (inside my head).
It's amazing how much damage can be done in less than 30 seconds. I drop to my hands and knees, holding Jack with one hand, and start putting the bottles back. "Jacky! NO! No, Jacky!" M starts scolding. He starts crying.
Great. Did she say 15 MINUTES???
We walk back up to the front of the pharmacy. I'm hoping that by seeing the chaos, the pharmacist will have mercy (or want us out of there, stat) and get us our medicine in maybe five instead of 15?
I'm holding J on my hip and he's just nonstop wiggling and I'm nonstop sweating. M picks up a tube of Chapstick. "Mama. I want my own Chapstick. This is sooooooo adorable. Please can I, please, please, please have it?" Again, who are you?
I put J down because...well, because I have to if I want my arm to remain attached. He takes off. Again. I sigh and run after him, hearing M in the background crying, "But Maaaaamaaaa! Look at this adorable Chapstick!"
We hit the butt and stomach aisle and he goes straight for the bottles of antacid, which is perfect because I'm starting to need one. Did I mention the kid has gotten fast? I mean, he's still stumbling around but somehow he's able to stumble forward at lightening speed.
So, I run toward him and then it happens: I TRIP OVER MY OWN FEET. I've never fallen face-first into the ground, but this time I actually ate carpet.
"Oh MY GOSH, Mama! Oh my gosh!" I look up and even J has paused to survey what has just taken place. The two of them look at me with a strange curiosity as if they just can't believe their eyes. Both of them have fallen, but to have Mommy fall? No way. But, there I was, on the ground and I think I may have actually scraped my knees too. (Do they make drugstore carpet by weaving together brillo pads?)
"Mommy's ok. It's fine," I say as I glance around to see if there were any other witnesses. None. Sigh.
"Vollmeerhoooosen is ready," I hear over the intercom. I pick myself up. I take a deep breath, brush the hair out of my face, hoist J onto my hip, and take the Chapstick from M.
"Thank fucking GOD," I say (to myself).