The grandparents came to visit for
Thanksgiving and as a surprise, Granny gave each child $20 to buy
whatever toy he or she just couldn't wait until Christmas to get.
Zeb knew exactly what he wanted. He has carried around a catalog with
a picture of the toy in question, just in case someone needs to know
what he wants for Christmas.
On the day I took them shopping, I
understood that I would be allowed to get the things on my list (i.e.
groceries) only AFTER we visited the toy aisles. Before we could get
to the store, my husband, Will, called and asked me to pick up a roll
of barbed wire - not exactly something you get at the grocery
And so, before we could spend our
pre-Christmas money, we had to go and buy barbed wire. I loaded it
into the back of my car, simultaneously ripping my shirt and
wondering if it would be OK to mix barbed wire and kids and
We finally got to the store and ran to
the toy aisle. There, on the bottom shelf, where Zeb's toy was
supposed to be, it was empty. They were sold out.
The only thing to do was run right back
out and drive to another store. I felt the cold wind hit my now
exposed mid-section as the doors opened.
The little angel on my shoulder
reminded me that I had told the Salvation Army volunteer outside
ringing the bell that I would make a donation on the way out. She
shouted to me as we went rushing to the car.
"I'm sure we'll be back!" I
shouted back. My little shoulder devil assured me that this visit
didn't really count. Surely I didn't have to make a donation when
we were only in there one minute and we didn't even buy anything!
We got to the second store and there
was another Salvation Army lady. Fine, shoulder angel, I'll give
her a donation, IF they have the toy.
They did, and, it was on sale! My luck
was changing! Or was it?
Zeb got his toy as soon as we walked in
but it took my 2-year-old, Taylor, about an hour to finally settle on
a baby doll in a bathtub. Then my shopping took forever. I couldn't
find anything since this wasn't a store where we usually shopped.
We were in there so long, Zeb had to go to the bathroom, twice!
He's getting bigger now and I had a
cart full of groceries, purse, diaper bag, baby, etc., so I let him
go in the men's room alone. It was a small bathroom and I was
pretty sure no one else was in there.
Lately Zeb has been drinking a lot (perhaps too much) of sugar-free, blue lemonade. During his first
trip to the bathroom, he yelled from inside the bathroom, "Mom, my
pee is blue!" Of course the bathroom is right beside the "layaway" desk and there was a crowd of people to hear him. I cracked the door
and little and said, "That's great Hon, don't forget to wash
I heard a flush, and then the sink
turned on. I stood at the door getting ready to help push it open. It
swung swiftly and there I was, bent down, looking at about the
bellybutton of a not-too-amused older gentleman. Whoops!
"Sir, did you wash your hands?" I
giggled as he pushed past me.
I won't go into details about Zeb's
second trip to the bathroom but suffice it to say I ended up
abandoning cart, purse, diaper bag, baby and dignity and walking
right in the men's room to get him out. Luckily this time he was
alone in there.
We were finally headed home. I stopped
long enough to stuff a dollar into the Salvation Army lady's
When I got to the car, I laid the baby
down in the back to do a quick diaper change. Her diaper had LEAKED! Pants, shirt, everything was soaking wet.
"Why didn't you tell Mommy!?!?" I
shrieked. Taylor chomped her pacifier a few times, looked at me and
blinked. Luckily I had a change of clothes in the diaper bag. I
stripped her down right there in the parking lot and changed her.
I got the kids belted into their car
seats and then I started opening stuff. The candy I bought on the way
out of the store was easy; the doll was a little harder, but Zeb's
dream toy? That thing was inside a box with 40 straps holding it
down. What on earth? Were they afraid it might escape?
I cut my hand. It matched my shirt. I
was sweating. It was 40 degrees.
After about 30 minutes in the parking
lot, I was finally ready to load my groceries into the car.
Everything was sitting inside the two,
49-gallon storage tubs I just had to have. I knew I had to lift a few
of the heavier bags out of the tubs before I could hoist the tubs
into the back. I carefully selected a bag with a two-liter beverage
inside and sat it on the roll of barbed wire. I grabbed a couple more
sacks and tried to lift the tubs. They wouldn't fit. I was going to
have to move the wire.
As I was taking everything back out of
the car, I kept hearing a hissing sound. It was coming from the sack
on top of the barbed wire - the sharp, barbed wire, that ripped my
shirt... I peaked inside the hissing sack and soda began to spew (from a tiny, barb-sized hole) all over my car, the groceries, the
roll of wire, and me.
I heard a little laugh as I slicked my
hair back and gritted my teeth.
The Salvation Army lady.
She had watched me indignantly toss a
dollar at her as I rolled a buggy full of storage bins and leaky
pants (not to mention the kid stretched out on the bottom rack of the
cart, holding his hands up to keep me from running over his fingers) across the parking lot. She saw the clothes changing, the toy
opening/stabbing, the loading and unloading the car, the beverage
Somebody was really having fun at my
I knew it! Those Salvation Army bell
ringers have some kind of "in" with the big guy - and I don't
mean Santa. That's what I get for not giving the first time. Heed
my warning; give generously this Christmas!
Melissa Kinton is a stay-at-home mom.
She is currently rearing one son, one daughter, two cats, two horses,
three dogs, and one husband. She may be reached at