Nightmare on Heath Street

I'm enjoying this second time 'round mom business.

With my eldest (henceforth, I shall now call her Pea) we were so in awe of her; watching her grow and change from a helpless baby into capable and bright little girl. With the second, we know what's around the corner so we find ourselves a bit better at being able to stop and savour the stage. We also know what my son's got up his sleeve. Because we've been there and we've done that.

Having said that, I should have known what was in store for me when I had the idiotic idea to take BOTH of my kids and a box to be mailed to Canada to the post office. To Canada is important because it involves a form. A long form that requires the filler outer of the form to describe the package's contents vaguely enough not to ruin a Christmas present for a nephew who can read and accurately enough to satisfy a customs official. (Yup, I could have downloaded the form online but as luck wouldn't have it, I'm out of printer ink).

I thought that by taking Pea, she would be able to help me keep Little Hunter reasonably well behaved.

I pulled into the post office, found great parking, made a wish for a fast moving line and then started piling kids and box out of the car and into the building. 

You see, someone at the post office (someone without kids, I'm sure) thought it was a good idea to install a display rack of greeting cards along the wall. It used to be plain miserable going to the post office with kids. Now it's miserable with a side of irritation as you either:

a) tell your kid for the millionth time to leave the cards alone or, 

b) have to explain to a curious preschooler what a prairie dog is, what a prairie dog is doing on a card, why people send cards with prairie dogs on them, why don't people send cards with prairie dogs on them, who sends cards with prairie dogs on them, how you send a card with a prairie dog on it, why we aren't buying a card with a prairie dog on it, why we really aren't buying a card with a prairie dog on it and why we won't be buying a card with a prairie dog on it anytime soon.

As I orchestrated my exit from the car, a wise woman offered to help carry my parcel into the post office. Clearly, she saw that I was on a fool's errand because when she set my box on the counter, she noticed the address and quickly handed me the dreaded customs form. I could tell by her face that she knew what I was in for. 

With form in hand, I sat Little Hunter next to me on the counter and started writing as fast as I possibly could. Legibility be damned, this was a situation. Little Hunter gleefully grabbed at my pen and then started grabbing forms to chuck on the floor. Not cool. I put him down thinking I'd have time to fill in an address as he signed to get up on the table again. Nope. He was off.

Where was he going? To the card display to gleefully chuck cards on the floor. Now, this is what I should have seen coming: mastery of boneless baby. At some point, kids learn that if they go all limp and throw their arms up in the air, it's really hard to hold on to them. Especially if you're wearing dueling winter coats and friction is your enemy. When I picked him up to move him as far away from the cards as I could, he pulled boneless baby and left me scrambling to hold on to him. Then with a masterful combination of rolling baby and boneless baby, he got to the floor and bolted back to the card display.

Pea? Pea was no help. She found a card with a princess on it and was reading out all the letters on the card: H, A, P, P... When asked if she could corral her brother for me so I could finish this horror form, she grabbed him by the hood of his jacket without looking up from her card and gave him a yank. Of course that set him off, in another direction, toward the envelope display where he started taking mailing envelopes off the racks.

Yet another kind lady in line offered to help. She picked up Little Hunter and tried to engage him in a game of "where's your nose." I thought that was pretty smart of her, he usually likes that game. Not today. He had mayhem on his mind.

He played the I want my mommy card, got set down and once again, took off. I asked Pea to go get him. Gently this time. No dice, she was done with princess cards and wanted to wait her turn to ask the nice lady at the counter for a sticker. She had her own agenda and Little Hunter was not on it.

Finally and mercifully, it was my turn. I threw down my completed customs form and my credit card then dashed out to the lobby to grab Little Hunter. I wrestled that that pitching, boneless, squawking baby back to the counter, retrieved my credit card, receipt and composure and left. 

To the lovely women at the Homer post office this morning, thank you.