In the middle of my grocery shopping yesterday, I was alarmed by a child’s ear-piercing gurgling scream of terror coming from one aisle over. It worried me enough to rush to investigate, thinking some kid had fallen from a shopping cart or, worse, was being attacked by a pack of rabid badgers (hey, you never know). With phone in hand, ready to dial 911, I ran around the corner into the cereal aisle.
Well, like they say, if you hear hoofbeats, don’t think zebras.
It was what you’d expect. A toddler wanted the box of chocolatey candy-coated sugar puff cereal, and mom was opting for the much healthier Cheerios.
It had been awhile since I’d experienced a grocery store meltdown, so it took me by surprise.
My own children were above such things.
No, they had their meltdowns at Toys R Us, like any respectable toddler should.
The grocery store incident reminded me of one time, however, when my daughter went off script and had a bunch of people worried.
It was ten years ago, when she was three…
We were in Sandpoint, Idaho, poking around the touristy downtown area. We stopped at the Cedar Street Bridge to browse the Coldwater Creek store there. I don’t know about you, but we don’t buy stuff at Coldwater Creek, we only browse… It’s much easier on the checkbook.
Anyway, in the middle of our browsing, our daughter started her little dance and whispered, “Mommy, I have to go…” so off to the nearest bathroom on the upper level of the bridge. My son and I looked at old photos on the wall while we waited. Soon a middle-aged couple and their friend stopped to look at the photos too. Just then, the screaming began.
“No no no! Aiiiieeee! Bwaaaaggghh! Gurgle! Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeek!” Something like that anyway. I didn’t react at all. Why should I? I hear this stuff practically every day. But the couple next to us became very concerned, probably because of a recent child abduction that had brought national attention to our area. The woman didn’t waste much time and announced that she was “going to investigate!”
We waited a few moments, with a small crowd gathering, and me pretending not to know what’s going on. Pretty soon the woman emerged from the bathroom, spread her arms, palms out to calm the masses, and authoritatively stated, “It’s okay! Everything’s alright. She saw a spider web!”
Audible sighs of relief followed, and the crowd dispersed, glad in the knowledge that the screams of terror coming from the public restroom were simply a little girl freaking out over a dusty old spider web.
I’m glad those days are long over.