When I was pregnant with the twins, lots of people told me lots of things about what to expect from parenting. They said that children were expensive. Okay. They said that I wouldn't sleep again until the children were 12. Perfect. They said that children are nothing but grief and heartache. Got it.
What wasn't mentioned was that I would be humiliated over and over and over again. No one mentioned that people lined up behind me at the bank would stare at me with puzzled expressions on their faces. No one told me that other drivers who were stopped next to me at red lights would laugh at the sight of me interacting with my children. No one told me that I would become the center of attention wherever I went, be it the park or the mall. I was left to discover this on my own (much to the amusement of my trusty sidekick, Dan).
The last time I went grocery shopping, Katie gave me her "order". She wanted Oreo cookies. I said that I would definitely get these for her. Anything for my baby. And then I forgot. Katie was heartbroken. I had broken my promise to her, and this was an obvious sign of my lack of love and affection for her. That night, after dinner, Dan and I packed up the children and headed to the grocery store so we could buy Katie some cookies.
We put the children in one cart to make it easier to get in and out of the store as quickly as possible. As soon as the Oreos were spotted, all three children were climbing over each other trying to gain access to the delightful treats. I was prepared to give each child an Oreo right then and there, but this always upsets Dan. He prefers that we pay for the food before consuming it (don't get me started on Dan and his "rules"!). To prevent an argument with Dan, I told the girls that they could have the cookies after we had paid for them. Everyone was pacified and we headed for the self-checkout.
Dan pushed the children in the cart while I paid. I handed the bag to Dan, and the children started whining for cookies. Dan, who was annoyed by the shameless begging of our children, handed the Oreo bag back to me and instructed me to "open it!". And I did. I stood at the self-checkout, waiting for my receipt to print, opening the bag of Oreos as fast as I possibly could. I even ripped the bag a little in my haste. I got the bag opened, reached in and pulled out three cookies. I turned around to hand the cookies to my little girls and realised that I was all by myself! Dan, being thoroughly frustrated with the whole situation, had started pushing the cart full of kids to the car without my knowledge! It must of appeared to the other shoppers that I was soooooo desperate for these Oreo cookies that I had to eat them the moment I purchased them. I couldn't even wait until I was in the car! I was humiliated... but not as humiliated as I was the day before.
We had taken the children to a lovely little island nearby to feed the "ducks" (they were mostly geese, but the children didn't know any better). The twins would feed the ducks a little bit of bread, and then feed themselves some. Whatever, everybody was happy.
When all the bread was gone, we started heading back to the car. In front of us were a family setting up for a picnic. Actually, only two members of the family were left to set up the picnic, both male and both about 25 years old. The girls saw this and announced that they were hungry. Lucky break for them, we were only about 5 minutes from home and I would give them a snack the moment we arrived (bear in mind that they had snacks before we left and had eaten lots of bread that was intended for the ducks). This, apparently, would not be fast enough. As we were passing the soon to be picnic site, the warnings of imminent starvation coming from the twins increased to almost panic levels.
One of the men was leaving the picnic site to join the rest of his family at the water. He overheard the desperate cries for food. Very kindly, he said to me "Go and grab a piece of watermelon for your daughters". The twins overheard this and were now Hell-bent on having some watermelon. I thanked the man and went to get some of the watermelon for the children. I approached the table where the last man was remaining. I smiled and said "I'm soooo sorry!" as I reached for some slices. He looked up at me, we made eye contact, and it was at that moment that I realised that he hadn't heard the first man offer me some watermelon! To him, I appeared to be some random woman swiping his family's picnic. I tried to explain and motioned to the first man who was now GONE! The only person behind me was Dan who was absolutely horrified by my behaviour because he, too, hadn't heard the first man make the offer. He was just as shocked as the watermelon guy!
It was at this point that the watermelon guy asked me if my oldest daughters were twins. I was too wrapped up in my own humiliation to even hear him talking to me. I just took the watermelon and left. It wasn't until later that Dan told me that not only had I swiped his food, but I ignored his pleasantries!