How to Survive Running Errands

August 3, 2012 · 9:39 am

Yesterday I was busy.  So busy that I was not sure I would finish everything that absolutely and with no exceptions HAD to be finished by the end of the day. Which is why it was daunting and not a little inconvenient when I realized I had to run to the bank in the middle of the day. So I packed up the kids and headed for the bank.

I chose pay-by-the-hour parking because there was none available near the Bank of America downtown.  Then I unloaded the kids and hiked the short distance to the bank…only to remember as I saw the vacant windows that this Bank of America had been shut down. In March. I guess it’s been a while since I was at the bank.

So I hiked back to our car, loaded the kids back up, and paid $2 for our wasted trip. Then we drove to the nearest bank and made our deposit.  Yohannes suggested that while I was out, I should take Nati to the park since it was such a busy day and Nati wouldn’t get another chance to play outside.  So we stopped at the park on our way home.

Everything was okay until we got ready to leave.  Nati wanted to have a drink at the water fountain (which was broken and was spraying water everywhere like a…um…fountain.)  I finally relented and pushed the button for him, but he didn’t want to get all wet, so he stood back.  I coaxed him close enough to get splashed a bit, which he thought it was great fun, but he still wouldn’t get close enough to actually take a drink.

Since it was such a busy, busy day, I finally told him he’d have to get a drink at home and I headed toward the car. This is when the full atomic-scale melt-down occurred.  He wailed and screamed and refused to come with me.  He came to me at one point, but when I didn’t let him drag me back to the fountain, he fell to the ground and continued his tirade.  I walked to the car and told him we were leaving.

Enter crazy drunk man.  He came around the corner and was suddenly on the sidewalk between me and Nati.  He started cursing and looking wildly at us, and saying, “That’s not my F***ing kid! I didn’t do it!”  Then he walked toward me and started to reach for Lily.

What do I do in this situation?  Should I swat his hand away? No sudden movements.  Wait, is that for drunk people, or bears? He seemed about to snap and I didn’t want to upset him, seeing as I was holding Lily, and he was still standing between me and Nati.  So with every muscle in my body tensed, I waited to see what he would do.  He touched her cheek, smiled, and then kept walking.

I didn’t have time to breathe a sigh of relief before he turned around and asked if I wanted him to help with Nati, who was still on the ground screaming a few yards away.  I noticed that he was now standing on the grass because of his failed attempts to walk in a straight line up the sidewalk.  “No, thank you.” I said very politely and loudly and quickly.    Apparently he was also hearing impaired, or obstinate, or a very determined helper because he started muttering to Nati and headed in his direction with his arms alternately waving around and reaching for Nati.

What do I do in this situation? Run? Climb a tree? Don’t get between a mama bear and her cub?  Why does all my survival knowledge have to do with bears?!  I’ve never even been close to a wild bear! I started walking toward Nati, who thankfully took that moment to notice that loud man stumbling towards him and decided that I was the safer bet.  I grabbed him with my free arm and dumped him the car seat as fast as I could. I looked over my shoulder to see the overly helpful drunk man was walking away.

Nati continued to scream at a glass-shattering pitch for the whole ride home.  When he finally calmed down, I decided that now was a very important time to have a lesson about making good choices.

Me: “Nati, did you make a good choice at the park?”

Nati: “Yes.”

Me: “No. Was it a good choice when you didn’t listen to your mommy and come to the car?”

Nati: “Yes. It was a good choice and a bad choice. It was a good choice because I wanted to play at the park. It was a bad choice because I didn’t get a drink of water.”

Me: “Nati, it was not a good choice when you didn’t listen.  Next time will you make a better choice and listen to me?”

Nati: “No.”

Me: “Nati, it hurts my feeling when you don’t make a good choice and listen to Mommy.”

Nati: “Mommy, it hurts my feelings when you make a bad choice and don’t listen to me.”


How do you survive bear attacks? drunk men? two year olds? running errands?

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