The balance of the universe has been upset.
Can you feel it? Has everything been a little askew for you since last weekend?
Here's what happened:
I was sick last weekend.
We needed food.
My husband went to the grocery store and took the kids with him.
Now, my husband does not get to the grocery store very often at all and almost never with the kids. He was like a babe in the woods . . . a babe in the woods escorted by two sharks.
A few years ago, when my children were preschool age and in the middle of a raging sibling rivalry, I established some ground rules for grocery store conduct.
1. No one pushes the cart, but me.
2. No one rides on the cart. (My daughter can't stay on, and my son is so tall I can't see past him.)
3. No one grabs anything off the shelf, but me.
4. No one puts anything in the cart unless I expressly ask them to. (Grabbing things out of my hand while offering to put them in the cart is not helpful and not appreciated, because it only provokes the other one to grab more quickly next time resulting in my virtual mugging every time I pick an item off the shelf.)
And 5. My daughter (as the chief offender) must walk slightly behind my son. (This method makes racing impossible and reduces cut-offs drastically.)
These rules may sound harsh, but they are not as harsh as my tone of voice and mood upon exiting the grocery store before said rules were invoked. Harmony for all, that's my motto.
So my poor, innocent, naive husband returned from the grocery store, the kids sheepishly following behind him. Once I confirmed that he did, indeed, get my juice and cough drops, I remarked on the notable tension in the room.
My husband choked out, through gritted teeth, "These two were just terrible. They drove me nuts the entire time."
I looked at them. They averted my gaze.
I looked back at my husband. "You didn't let them push the cart, did you?"
"Well, yeah, why?"
All the things I have worked so hard for . . . the peace, the harmony, the order . . . all down the drain . . .
My son pushed the cart.
My daughter "helped" by putting things in the cart.
My son began "correcting" the order of things in the cart.
My daughter resented said correction.
Toes run over.
Mayhem. Just may.hem.
All rules thrown over.
Power has shifted back to the sharks.
All in one innocent trip to the grocery store.