Would You Like to Hear All About My Dog's Bladder Functions?
Gymboree Took My Stapler

I should not be allowed out of the house without adult supervision.


Also maybe a helmet.

I wish I could tell you that this:


...was further evidence that I am simply some poor hapless guppy caught up in the powerful circular flush of the universe, but the boring truth is I simply make very bad decisions regarding shopping carts.

There was a brief moment, right as the bag ripped and sent my groceries spilling out across the sidewalk, right as I caught the eyes of the woman who saw what happened and then BOLTED into the nearest Pier One, right as I dove for the back of Noah's shirt to prevent him from dashing out into traffic, when I honestly thought that if I just waited there a few minutes, SOMEONE would pop out with a hidden camera and some release forms, and I was deeply comforted by the thought of not signing those release forms and suing the shit out of them instead.

No hidden cameras. Just the amused look on the face of the guy spinning a big promotional cardboard arrow a few feet away, which: Yes. His life has probably not really gone the way he planned it either, but maybe snickering at strangers in desperate need of just the tiniest bit of assistance has something to do with that fact, you know?

Oh, who am I kidding. Karma seems to be spending a lot of time in the tub these days.

(Also, do I really need to interject a mention that yesterday was Gymboree day?)

The good news is that I drove! My car! I got there in 10 minutes!

Of course, I was also about 10 minutes late. Because...well. Yes. Of course I was.

Since I was late, I decided to just snag the first parking spot out on the street instead of dealing with the adjacent parking garage. Please stick one of those little sticky Post-It flags right here for future reference.

Gymboree was...Gymboree. Our babies must have flunked last week's class because we were "learning about loud and quiet sounds!" for the second week in a row. Which meant activities like, "climbing up a ramp and then rolling different-sized balls back down the ramp!" Which may sound similar to past activities like, "climbing up a ramp and then rolling different-sized balls back down the ramp!" But it's actually totally different, because this time we were listening to the SOUNDS the balls make instead of their COLORS or SIZE or DOWNWARD-ROLLING QUALITIES. 

Regardless, none of the kids ever want to roll balls down the ramp because that would require taking them out of their mouths, so the grown-ups roll the balls instead and are rewarded with some polite applause from the 22-year-old teacher.

The good news is I totally scored a phone number and email address from one of the other moms. TOTALLY. SCORED.

Amy: (waving paper) Look! Look what I got! She wants to have a playdate!

Jason: So have you emailed her yet?

Amy: (horrified) Oh my God, no! I don't want to seem desperate or anything. 

Anyway, while on this total Queen of the Stay-At-Home Mom With a Working Automobile Universe high, I decided to stop at a nearby grocery store for some milk. And hummus. And yogurt. And crackers, since other than hummus and yogurt, Noah will only ingest food in cracker form.  (Oh, and the yogurt must be mixed with milk in a sippy cup and the hummus must be dumped directly on his tray for maximum mess potential, because SPOONS ARE EVIL. Go near his face with a spoon and he'll twist around and scream and then do a faceplant directly into his hummus.)

I ended up with two very full bags of groceries (mostly consisting of stuff Noah has already thrown on the floor because it is NOT A CRACKER).  Then the check-out clerk offered Noah a balloon. And I gritted my teeth and said stupid shit like, "SAY THANK YOU NOAH! WHAT A NICE BALLOON!" while secretly thinking, "God, what the fucking fuck am I supposed to do with a damned balloon?"

I tied the balloon to the handle of one of the bags, just out of Noah's reach so he couldn't chew on it and pop it and blow out his retinas or something. (I feel the same way about balloons as I do about free crayons at restaurants -- thanks, really, but you've just now put me the awkward position of preventing bowel obstructions or looking ungrateful, so I generally color a little myself before banishing the crayons to the other side of the table. MY GOD, I am so weird.)

And then I...oh hell, this is so embarassing...took complete leave of my senses and opted to abandon my shopping cart directly outside of the store, since you know, I was parked down the street instead of in the parking garage. (Which was five feet away.)

I knew I couldn't take the cart outside of the shopping center, and this is where my thought processes stopped dead: Don't Break The Shopping Cart Rules, Go To Your Inevitable Doom Instead.

This meant I needed to wrangle the following items:

1) an exhausted toddler who would not relinquish control of his empty sippy cup.

2) an overpacked diaper bag, because you know, what if someone invited me for lunch somewhere and I had to decline because I didn't pack enough crackers? Just because it hasn't happened yet doesn't mean it won't, some people actually find me kind of charming you know, GOD.

3) two paper bags of groceries, only one of which was double-bagged because the goddamned hippies have taken over the food industry.

4) a balloon. Argh.

Through the following obstacles:

1) an elevator back to the street level of the World's Weirdest Shopping Center (seriously, the Gymboree is like, UNDERGROUND, BELOW SEA LEVEL, and there's this weird subterranean courtyard thing and I'm sorry, I'm making this whole operation sound incredibly sketchy, like I'm taking Noah to some knock-off JIMBOREE in the hood or something).

2) a walk to the main street spanning the length of one Halloween Superstore and one Healthy Back store (which was having a sale, by the way, according to the big spinning cardboard arrow guy).

3) approximately seven steps up from "street level" to "actual street level."

4) a walk to my actual car spanning the length of about three or four other storefronts, including Pier One, alongside a major road with very fast-moving traffic.

I made it to the elevator when the first bag handle broke. It was the handle I tied the balloon to, and I had this frantic moment of panic as I lunged for the balloon -- THE BALLOON I DID NOT WANT -- before it flew away.

At this point, my shopping cart was less than 10 feet away. The grocery store AND EXTRA BAGS THAT I'M SURE THEY WOULD HAVE GIVEN ME were 12 feet away.

I got in the elevator instead. That's when I smacked my forehead and realized that I see people bring their shopping carts in the elevator all the damn time.

That is also when the other handle broke.

Back at street level, I retied the balloon to a different bag handle, wrapped the diaper bag around my torso, hoisted the broken bag up on my hip, grabbed the other bag by the handles and...stared after my toddler, who was running off in the opposite direction, like: I KNEW I FORGOT SOMETHING.

May I remind you: At this point, my shopping cart was one elevator ride and 10 feet away. The grocery store AND EXTRA BAGS THAT I'M SURE THEY WOULD HAVE GIVEN ME were one elevator ride and 12 feet away.

Noah's sippy cup? Hurled 15 feet away. The boy has an ARM.

I kept walking towards the car, pleading with Noah to follow me before more bag handles gave out.

(Number of months before issuing a complete retraction of every mocking word I've ever said about toddler leashes: 13, on the nose)

We got to the steps and bumped into someone else's empty shopping cart. I would have smacked myself again but by now my aching, burning arms had completely locked up at the elbows.

Out on the wilds of the sidewalk, I tried to do some fancy jockeying: put ripped back of groceries down, pick up Noah and other bag, dash to the car, drop groceries on ground, dash back to other bag before...I don't know...roving bands of teenagers stole my yogurt and frozen chicken taquitos?

Problem was that I was still carrying Noah when I dashed back to the handle-less bag, which required two arms to pick up.

I tried using one arm anyway.

And...this is about where you came in, with the snickering cardboard arrow guy and the woman with some sort of dire rattan furniture emergency.

I left the groceries lying there and put Noah in his carseat, then BOLTED back to collect everything while keeping a frantic eye on my car because I AM NOT ENDING UP ON THE NEWS for letting my baby get carjacked because I refused to leave my chicken taquitos behind.

(Bonus Extra Laugh For Local Readers: I swear to God, this is BETHESDA I'm talking about, not Anacostia.)

I shoved everything (including the balloon, which was now tied to a lone bagless bag handle) into the car and took a few deep breaths.

That's when I saw a woman breezily pushing her shopping cart down the sidewalk to her car, which was parked behind mine. And I remembered about the...ramp. On the other side of elevator. The one I'd used every week before with Noah's stroller.

The Invisible Shopping Cart Enforcement Police were nowhere in sight, and I wondered if it was time to maybe consider getting a CAT scan or something.

I drove home and fried up a couple taquitos. They were gross so I ate a box of cheese crackers instead.


The balloon lasted about 12 hours, and was disposed off after I caught the dog trying to ingest the string.

The end, oh my fucking lands.



I don't miss the days of having toddlers. Just imagine if you had twins like me, it was all the more fun!!! And since I am a local I know all about the B.S. you had to deal with in our friendly neck of the woods!! :) Have a better weekend!


I can sympathize! Been there, done that - and in the same shopping center no less!!

BTW- word of caution to all who might not already know this: Ingested balloon string in either the feline or canine digestive tract will result in a VERY costly emergency trip to the vet. I found this out the hard way...twice. :-)


Thank you for making me feel better about my own life in the midwest. Here in Podunk Town USA, we get to take our shopping carts out to the parking lot. :-)
And just so you know, you are not the only mom with a child who will only eat crackers (and hotdogs). My youngest is a month older than Noah. I can't tell you the number of times he has had Nilla wafers for breakfast and cheese crackers for lunch, because that was all that he would eat. He also has spoonaphobia. He will either a) scream and turn completely around to face the back of his highchair, b) scream, make a sour face and push the spoon away, spilling the contents of the spoon all over the place, or c) scream, try to grab the spoon from you, get the food all over his hand, and then rub the food in his hair.
I love being a mom!


Been there, done that. The joys of motherhood. Whenever we go somewhere that has balloons, I get the balloon when we arrive and upon leaving, tell my son that it needs to be set free.


I grew up in Bethesda and as a teenager, I would have definitely stole your taquitos.

My brother and sisters attended those classes at Gymboree and I know exactly where you are. Feel you pain but GOD it makes for a fucking fantastic story!!

Jackie Joy

Haaa, I know exactly where you were. Now I can stalk you and eat Noah's cheeks for dinner!

Or, maybe I'll follow you home and buy your condo. It could end well. You never know.

I always have to ~ask~ for a balloon at the stupid TJ's in Silver Spring, then I feel like a moron. And guess what? WHen he's two and a half and can hold conversations like a pro? He still won't say thank you. It's just too delightful to see you squirm!


So I went to the new harris teeter in gaithersburg today which I love, love, love but the minute I walked in they handed me a balloon for my 19 month old and I thought of you immediately. But, HT had parent parking close to the store so I could take my cart!


You know that Internet Celebrity Money Couch and Queen of Everything Tiara?

Keep it up, and they will be yours.

I know it sucked for you, but your writing is hilarious.


Ohmygosh, you poor thing! What a day!

Stephanie A.

You are like the Bridget Jones of parenthood with these Gymboree classes!! I can't help but laugh hysterically at this and my comment is meant in a totally loving way. After all, I feel your 13 month old pain on this. Too big, too mobile, not mobile enough or able to follow directions or carry things. In-fucking-sanity.

Her Bad Mother

Oooh... playgroup pick-up. HOTT. Gymboree moms gettin' together. Ooh.

(Am jealous. Am lonely. Ish.)


I have no idea where you were. But I'm mighty damn glad you're back here.

"...dire rattan furniture emergency." - only you can consistently come up with these things.

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Coffee all over damn desk! Snort residue on computer display! Stop it!

No don't - it's so worth it. Welcome back.


I <3 Amalah!

"And I gritted my teeth and said stupid shit like, "SAY THANK YOU NOAH! WHAT A NICE BALLOON!" while secretly thinking, "God, what the fucking fuck am I supposed to do with a damned balloon?"

This made me laugh. Your whole was amusing. This sounds like something that would (and probably will) happen to me in the future. I'm sure you were frustrated so



Hahahaha, husbands. I just told mine that Noah's fav food is hummus (to which his reaction was all "Hum-moose?!" (the Jordanian way to say it just for Dad gone mad) and then grilled me as to where this could be purchased, like OMG when he finally gets here he will not be completely surrounded by heathen, inedible food!)

Then I told him about the whole face-planting into the tray/spoonphobia and he said (laughing at least to his credit because he thought himself so funny) that you should be thankful that he only wants his hummus spread on the tray and not the big table because then it would just get everywhere! And I kinda laughed and then said, so you've, like, never fed a toddler/baby, have you?


Is that a GEO/Chevy Tracker? Oh, how I miss my Tracker!!

Thanks for the nostalgia. It burns.


I don't know you, and I just stumbled across your blog from a link on Laura's Life at 45 Degrees, and I am so far behind at work I am still here at work in downtown DC at 6:30 on a Friday night -- but I have tears of laughter running down my face. My kids are now 19 and 14 and this post brought back so many memories -- THANK YOU!!!! and you've got another dedicated reader to entertain now!

Maria P.

LMAO! I have had days like that.


it's amazing isn't it? How quickly we run out to buy that toddler leash? especially when you are toting another baby...uh yeah.


I had a similar experience recently, only it involved a *very* sharp, *very* shiny, *very* new razor, and a seriously bangin' shower (the one in my parents' basement, oh dear god but it is GOOD, the shower head pre-dates the whole energy-saving concept, god bless the thing and its phenomenal water-wasting blessedness). And a brainless nitwit in said shower, holding said sharp, shiny, new razor. Aiming it at flesh.

It didn't end well.


I laugh, but only because I've been there. Who hasn't. Somehow, we survive. And the baloon survived too. Impressive!

FYI, being the professional frozen taquito eater that I am, it's probably best to stick them in the oven. The taquitos were probably fried before they were frozen, so frying them again is probably too much. That might be why they were gross.


I'm sorry your day was crappy like that. So been there. Well, let's be honest. I'm usually there. I'm glad to see that others make the same damn stupid split-second decisions I do. (Not that I'm glad it happened to you, just glad to see that I'm not alone.) What? I could bring the cart to my car? I should have brought the baby into the store in her stroller? I should have bought the diaper bag with the diapers and extra clothes with me? I should have turned down the side street to avoid waiting in 20 minutes of traffic when I saw I had the chance? Why do I think "It won't be so bad."? Yes. Yes, it will. It will be that bad.


But it's so funny when it happens to someone else.

Someone who isn't me.


I have terrible grocery bag karma. However it always strikes me on a walk (walk!) home from the store, with no car in sight to save me. Yeah, that's always fun.

But cheese crackers do always make things better, don't they?


I HATE days like that. The other day I had the wild hair to take myself and the 3 kids to Ross. THAT was a mistake. My three year old screamed bloody murder when I told her to "come on, we're leaving!!!" (she was hiding down one of the isles instead of being a good little girl and staying with me) So everyone had to turn and look and make sure she wasn't getting childnapped and I turned into crazy yelling parent...."Hurry up and get over here or you're gonna go in the cart!" Oh the joys of parenting!

the bee

I am from Bethesda and shop there all the time. Why do they unload your cart for you at the register but then you cannot get out of the tiny parking lot? I took my nieces and nephews everywhere with me as babies. I left trucks, dolls, bottles and balloons in every store in Bethesda over the years. My siblings were just grateful if I remmebered to bring the kids home in 1 piece . BTW, your son is adorable.


Hilarious. Really. But, oh my. My, my, my...


They never! make paper bags strong enough. And the flimsy handles? Ug.

But wait. I think I see Cheetohs in one of those bags. And now I am utterly distracted.

Maddux Sports Blog

I am so jealous that you have a TJ's by your Gymboree. I could go every week then. Mine is 1/2 hour away, which as you know with a toddler in the car is not the most fun. Funny story :)

Snickrsnack Katie

Woah, that sounded awful. The worst part had to be the ignorant asses who wouldn't help you! I have been in the same predicament many a time. Ugh.

Oh, and balloons? They are the devil.

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