Today we went on a field trip to the planetarium at Gettysburg College with the homeschool group. Today’s trip was like the swish-swoosh coats in the Hall of Presidents. Lots of whispers and shuffling and escorting of bored toddlers in and out of the room. Toddlers? Yes. Because when you homeschool, all your kids come with you everywhere you go, like little ducklings.
One of my students from my art class made a point of sitting next to me. He’s a wiggle worm. I like this kid a lot, but I’ve also had to give him the The Look a few times to get him to stop interrupting my art class. Most mothers know how to do The Look. I had to give him The Look today to get him to stop poking his brother during the presentation. He gave me a sweet smile and stopped poking his brother. Kids know you mean business when you give them The Look.
My kids are well acquainted with The Look. We stopped by the local Karate school the other day for information and I told the boys to put down their DSs while we talked with the sensei. They didn’t. I said, “Put them down.” They didn’t. I said, “Look at me.”
They put them down.
The planetarium show itself was great. And the presenters were appreciative of the door opening and shutting as wiggly toddlers were escorted in and out. Each time it opened, the light from the hallway flooded the room and winked out the little stars on the ceiling. They said, “Well, this is a perfect example of light pollution…”
When it was over, I was a little frazzled from being in a room full of wiggly, poking children. Unfortunately my friend with the doctorate in psychotherapy was there with her kids. Psychologists simply cannot help but notice when you’re frazzled and they simply must touch you on the arm and ask if you’re ok. I lied and told her I was fine, but kept my face turned aside so she wouldn’t see the twitching eye.
After the planetarium I had to go grocery shopping. It didn’t rain, sleet or snow. No, it was worse: Darling Husband came with me.
We really needed my psychotherapist friend with us at the grocery store. I do not understand what happens to us at the grocery store. We get along great everywhere else, but not at the grocery store. One time when we grocery shopped together, it got so bad that I ended up crying in the grocery store bathroom.
To be honest, it’s not all my fault or all Darling Husband’s fault. It’s both of us. His Oldest Child and my Only Child personalities come roaring out and try to duke it out. He accuses me of being controlling, and I know he’s controlling.
The tension starts right at the beginning over who gets to push the cart and goes downhill from there.
He tries to move the cart out of someone’s way, at the expense of banging the cart into my ankles. This has happened not once or twice, but pretty much every time we grocery shop together.
He wanders off just when I have all the cold stuff in the cart and now we all have to hang around waiting until he shows up again, eating up the thawing ice cream. Don’t want it to be wasted, after all…
I won’t give him time to browse and bark orders at him through the store, “We don’t need anything in the candy aisle! Get out of the candy aisle! I thought you were trying to lose weight?!” Yes, I’m that woman at the store. My poor man.
I won’t let him help unload the groceries onto the conveyor belt, because I have a ‘special way of doing it.’ Even though he won prizes in his early twenties for being the “Fastest Bagger” at Toys R Us. Really: the man has won actual awards for bagging items, but I just can’t seem to let go and let him help with the unloading and bagging…
By the end of grocery shopping, we’re at the point where we’re refusing to give each other any eye contact, because we might inadvertently give each other The Look. In a marriage, using The Look is a no-no. You do not use The Look on a spouse. Only on the kids.
After today, I am not grocery shopping with Darling Husband ever again. This is wisdom, people, born of almost twenty years of marriage; wisdom.