So today Squirt and I headed out to do some (very much-needed) groceries. I went before his afternoon nap because we didn’t have any milk for his after lunch bottle (usually we go when he gets up, so he’s all rested up and cheery (well, I hope he’s cheery, it doesn’t always work out that way!)). Today, of course, we were there right before lunch, so he was cranky. He was hungry (even though I gave him a snack before we left) and tried! And the screaming began. As usual for ill-humored Squirt in public, it wasn’t screaming crying, it was just very loud, annoyed, piercing screams.
We rounded a corner, and something distracted him, so he was quiet again. Some guy (I’d say around 45) in the aisle all of a sudden leans over Squirt (I was a couple of steps away looking at pasta) and asks him if he was the one making all the noise. It didn’t really bother me because he didn’t touch Squirt at all, he was clearly trying to cheer him up, and he was being gentle about it (some people get all screechy when trying to cheer up a toddler, and pretty much just frighten them). But instead of getting Squirt to smile, my (finally) quiet toddler was scared, and did his über dramatic cover his face with his hands and cry like he’s in some sappy play (which, of course, I don’t find funny one bit, because, you know, that would be wrong, finding your child’s fear funny. Not at all funny. right.).
The man had the common sense to step away immediately, and go back to his own grocery cart. For some reason though Squirt doing this made me blush (I’m a super blusher! Like even a memory, when I’m all by myself will make my whole face go beet red!). I don’t know why I blushed, I mean, he was behaving totally normal for a toddler. I said something like ‘oh! he’s so dramatic!’. And the guy said ‘He must get it from his mom, you’re blushing’. And then he said ‘It’s very becoming.’ Now. I’ll admit, I’ve got a rack. One that guys tend to look at. But I think that I look ugly when I blush. No really, it’s ugly. Plus, I’m so totally not used to guys even looking twice when I have Squirt with me, usually all they see is baby… I really didn’t know what to say. I mean, he was old. And, oh, I don’t know it was just all so odd.
I kinda mumbled something and took off. I was just so taken aback. Even now I’m not sure how I should have reacted. I mean. He didn’t really say anything vulgar. But it was just… weird.
Anyway, Squirt and I finished the shopping (thankfully with minimal screeching). When we got to the checkout we ran into a friend of my mom’s who hadn’t seen us in months. She wanted to now what Pte Goof was up to and where he was, and when we’d be moving and blah blah blah. All the same questions I get all the time, most of which I don’t have any concrete answers for. While I was chatting with her I picked a lane, and totally didn’t realize that I pulled in right behind the guy from earlier. He was clearly listening to my conversation with this friend. I looked right at him once to let him know I knew he was eavesdropping, but he kept on listening.
Mt mom’s friend just stayed long enough to get caught up, then continued on with her shopping. I turned back to Squirt, and all of a sudden this guy asks me ‘So how far away is daddy?’. Like really, not only are you not even going to try to hide your eaves dropping? You’re going to stick your nose in and ask questions? I answered where Pte goof is anyway, despite my annoyance. Then I said to Squirt ‘Daddy’s training to be a soldier, right?’
Thankfully then the cashier was ringing through this guys stuff, so he was busy with that and left us be. As my items were going thorough I noticed him digging around in his pocket. I honestly thought that he was clearly just stalling so he could make some other bizarre comment, as his groceries were boxed and ready to go. He waited for me to pay, and then he said ‘Did you say his daddy’s in the armed forces’ ‘yes’ ‘well here’ and he took the change out of his pocket and thrust it at me ‘Get the little guy a treat, just because of that’. I said he really didn’t have to do that, but he insisted. ‘Just make sure it’s for him’ he said, indicating Squirt.
I’ve heard of people doing this kind of thing before. Giving guys in their greens free meals and such. This is the very first time it ever happened to me. And it totally touched me. Even from this guy who had pissed me off. It’s nice to know that somebody gets it. That it’s hard on kids (even toddlers who don’t understand yet). That we, as a family, all serve.