Almost every trip to the grocery store goes the same way: I start out optimistic and tell myself that I will be patient with the kids, and within 5 minutes, I have already lost it. Having a three-year-old who will run away if not confined to the cart and a one-year-old who just wants to be held makes for a difficult time.
This trip to Walmart wasn’t much different. I had three large totes in the cart though, making space more limited. Probably a mistake on my part. My kid was not confined. Tears were being shed and I was avoiding eye contact with everyone.
By the time we finally made it to the cashier, things were actually going smoothly, but I was ready to be done and get home. As I was in the process of paying, I looked over and saw my three-year-old with his pants down, holding his penis for all who were looking in his direction to see!
Any parent of a child who has done this can relate. At that moment, I felt like I had pulled my own pants down and exposed myself, feeling so oddly connected to him.
I rushed over to him and pulled his pants up and asked him why on earth he was doing that, obviously not expecting an answer because there is no excuse good enough to justify pulling out your penis in public.
I think I blacked out after that because I didn’t really see any faces. I just needed to get out of there! I wanted to cry from the embarrassment!
We managed to get to the car and get the groceries loaded. I sat in the car for a few minutes processing what had just happened.
It didn’t really happen, did it?
I was fully clothed the whole time, right?
That poor cashier looked to be younger than 20, had she ever even seen a boy’s privates before?
My head was racing.
I started backing up and noticed, just in time, that I was about to hit a man walking behind my car. I don’t think I hit him but was probably very close because he stared at me with an evil look in his eye. He obviously wanted to fight me for not seeing him and almost running him over! It felt like he glared at me for 5 minutes, though it was probably only 10 seconds. He then kept walking and as I backed up, I sort of yelled out the window, “Geez, I’m sorry!” Good thing he didn’t turn around because I was certain he was going to commit some act of violence. Wow, being embarrassed makes me really paranoid, doesn’t it?
As soon as I started driving, the tears came. They were the loud ones too! My son asked me why I was crying. I yelled, “Because you showed everyone in Walmart your penis and that guy was mad at me for almost hitting him, and being a mom is hard!” He didn’t respond to that because, well, what do you say to someone in that state.
Now, normally something like that would take a long time for me to get over. I dwell on things and stress about why I react in certain ways. But on this day, I moved on. I knew I couldn’t have predicted that he would expose himself. I knew it wouldn’t be the last time (and he walked around butt naked at the park just a week later, so there’s that). And you know what, I laughed about it only an hour later!
It’s actually super funny, isn’t it? Kids have strange minds and we never know why they do certain things. If I had seen another kid do the same thing, I think I would laugh. I had to call my mom and husband to tell them what had just happened.
I’ve gone to the grocery store a few times since this day, and most of the time it goes about the same, apart from the stripping part. But I’m trying to be less worried that people are staring at me because having kids that are loud isn’t really out of the ordinary. A child pulling his penis out of his pants, on the other hand… that’s something that catches people’s attention.