Our first "kitten kicker" is Denise (sometimes known as dizedd from California). Both of her daughters were diagnosed with autism..
In which Scarlett saves the day:
For those of you who do not have one nearby you, let me describe Trader Joes. It is a small grocery store with a strong emphasis on health foods, and it's main purpose seems to be to make yuppies feel good about themselves when they shop. You can buy free range chickens for $20 bucks a bird, or the leanest, most environmentally conciously raised beef imported from Australia. Of course,the carbon footprint from flying prepackaged beef 7000 miles across the world cancels out whatever 'green' efforts the Australian ranchers are promising, but hey, it's already seasoned! Your friends are going to be so impressed when you serve them the GREATEST bbq tri tip on Earth.
We buypass the meat section, needless to say.
The frozen food aisle is out of this world however. Everything's cheap. Nearly everything is healthy. And the girl's and I are on a diet. [ Ah, Serequel. It's like a mythical jewish grandmother. It calms you, and soothes you, and makes you feel safe and loved. Yet it constantly seems to chide, "Eat, eat, you're too skinny! Have some cake. There's a brisket cooking in the oven."]
I decided to take the girls shopping for goodies last Sunday. They'd been great all day, and I didn't feel like cooking. So we headed to T J's for turkey strombollis, which are just like Hot Pockets. Except that they're bigger. And yummier. And they have lots of fiber and hardly any calories.
We head down the frozen food aisle, and immediatly grab two weeks worth of 'hot pockets'. Janet grabs an opera cake out of the case and throws it in the cart as well. I decide to just let it go and buy the thing, because it's tiny, and she hasn't had any junk food for two weeks. We'll all cheat together.
When we go shopping, Janet pushes the cart, and I steer it by pulling the front, while Scarlett flitters around in between us. I do not need to look behind me to make sure that they are with me, because I can feel if Janet lets go, and Scarlett is so happy that she is 'singing' the entire time we are out. So as we leave the frozen food aisle, and start heading over to the cracker aisle to get Janet's favorite fake cookies [they are compressed fiber and soy protein masquerading as tiny chocolate chip cookies-hard as rocks. But she loves them], I hear someone utter a strange, short yell.Turning my head, I see Janet landing-she'd jumped straight up in the air, two to three feet off the ground, while still holding onto the handle of the cart. The weird barking yell had come from her. But it all happened so quick, no one else has noticed who made the noise. Scarlett looks at me incredulously-Mom, did you see that? That was BIZARRE.
Janet just looks straight ahead, like nothing happened at all. Ooo kay then. I give Scarlett the "look", the one that says, "Your kid sister's about to lose it and act hysterical for twenty minutes or so. Let's hurry."
She agrees, and immediately stands next to Janet and puts her hands on the handle as well. Here Janet, let me help. Through mutual silence, we decide to head straight for the checkout. We get as far as ten feet when Janet dramatically lets go of the cart , and begins backing away, waving her hands in the air and saying, "No, oh no, get away!", in her most actress-like voice. I immediately walk around the cart and put my arm on her shoulder, "Here Janet, it's okay, you're alright. Let's just go and pay for our hotpockets and cake and go home, ok?"
Janet starts to walk slowly with me, and Scarlett is competently steering the cart entirely on her own next to us. We are ALMOST THERE-ten feet from the register
"NO!", Janet screams in her best horror queen imitation. Then she runs, arms flaying, for the door. I am right behind her, yelling, "Janet Curiel, No! You stop. Stop!"
"it's okay-", a sweet, clueless cashier tells me as we run past her, and I think, 'No, lady, it is not ok, I am not chasing her and yelling at her because she is being naughty, she's going to run straight out into the parking lot and get HIT BY A CAR, you idiot!', but I have no time to say this outloud, thankfully. Right at the doorway, Janet stops, and I've got her again.
"Alright Janet, we'll go." I look over to where we were seconds ago, and there's Scarlett still, holding onto the cart handle.
"Scarlett, we have to go. Get my purse and come here, sweetie.", I call out to her.
She looks at my purse, sitting right in front of her in the 'baby seat' part, and starts to reach for it, then stops, and stands up perfectly straight. She looks at me, then looks at the cart, then looks at me again.
Un huh. She came here to get hot pockets. The hot pockets are already in the cart. And there's cake too. She narrows her eyes at us both, then turns the cart straight towards a free register.
'Pull yourselves together! We are NOT leaving here without my hotpockets.'
Her eyes widen as she glares at us across the store, and I softly plead with Janet to go over to the register-"Sissy won't come over here, and we can't leave without her. Look, there's no one in line, the guy's already ringing our stuff up. Let's just go help her pay, then we'll get out of here."
Surprisingly, Janet walks back with me, but she's acting nervous. As soon as I get to the register, Scarlett moves to stand behind Janet, effectively blocking her between me, her, and the cashiers station. Scarlett may be three inches shorter than her little sister now, but she's stocky, and knows how to corral a wild kid. She learned from a pro!
Feet firm on the ground, Scarlett stretches her arm over to grab my purse and hand it to me. I deftly unzip it and swipe my card with one hand-the other hand's patting Janet's shoulder. The cashier's managed to fit all of our boxes of hotpockets into one plain bag, with the cake right on top.
I look at Scarlett, and she nods her head in a slight jerk towards the parking lot, which means:
'You handle her, I'll get the bag.'
So I take Janet's hand, and Scarlett swoops the heavy bag up with both arms. We hustle out, me gently dragging Janet along, and Scarlett shuffling right behind her, ready to drop the bag of groceries at any second and grab her sister before she runs out in traffic, if necessary. We get unloaded and into the car just fine, thankfully, and when we got home five minutes later, there was no further incident. But if Scarlett hadn't been there to help, I would have come home empty handed. Without any delicious cake and 'hot pockets' to nibble on while contemplating how I was just writing online last week that the girls haven't thrown fits in public in forever, and then Janet procedes to act up on our very next shopping trip.
I am happily amazed at how calm and helpful Scarlett's becoming now that she's pretty much 'done' with puberty. Janet's going to be taller than me next year, and it's nice to know that I have Scarlett there to stand right on her other side when she gets anxious and wants to run away. Just five more years, then Janet will be done with puberty, and I won't have to worry about anyone bursting into hysterics or violence for no reason ever again. YEAH!
I felt so 'old' when Scarlett became a teenager. Oh, it's nice to feel old now! The hardest parts are all behind us, and as soon as Janet hits sixteen it will be smooth sailing until we hit menopause. And I get to go first and be the hormonal nutty one then!
Can you just imagine the looks on their faces, when they are my age, if I ran out to the parking lot, saying, "NO, oh no, I can't do this!" I might do it once just for fun, and blame it all on 'hot flashes'.Pay them back for all of their extreme pms tantrums :)