owie friday night This evening I took the kids to the grocery store that has the carts with the space under the basket that is big enough for a five year old to sit under.
I remember doing this as a kid a few times. Where I grew up there must have been only that one store that had those kinds of carts too. And it must have been a store my own mother didn't go to, too often- making it an infrequent, but especially cool thing. From that level everything looked different- I got to see the lower shelves and the dust bunnies, old wads of gum stuck in interesting places and the bags of dog food on other people's carts. Mostly, it just felt like a special place built just for kids my age- rare and especially nice, since I resented being too big to sit in the front of the basket, occupied at that time by my baby sister.
I'm sure when I found this store with these carts, I suggested it to Awais. "Look, you can sit down there!"
Problems arose when he wanted to skate his feet out front- I could see immediately the possibility of his little foot catching and folding under- spraining his ankle or worse. I told him he could sit down there only if he kept his feet up. "Keep your feet up or you can't sit down there. I don't want to run over your feet".
And I didn't say that just once. If it weren't for the fact that when he walks next to me in the grocery store he hangs on to the side of the cart and I have to wrestle to keep him or me or all of us (including baby brother in front basket) from careening into shelves of produce, or other shoppers, I'd say the "just for the bigger-little kids" cart ride deal wouldn't be worth it.
I sound guilty and defensive don't I?
Every time I stopped and started again, I did look to see where his feet were . . .
But I didn't say a word to him about his hands and after pausing to eye and dismiss a display of "juice-cocktail" (1.99 for 64 oz., but nasty looking) I rolled the shopping cart wheel over my kid's fingers.
And he screamed. And I was annoyed. I said "look, see this is too dangerous- get out from under there". And he did and it was then I could tell he was really hurt and I immediately felt like a total shit. He's a kid who looks in one direction and moves in another. He ricochets off shadows. A gust of air can knock him flat. He comes by it honestly- his momma has yet to correctly work out the best way to walk through a door without bouncing off the door jam. My point- he has a pretty high pain thresh hold. But lordy this was bad.
Nothing was broken, but he's got those deep awful finger bruises- shut in a door kind of bruises. Uhg, it was not good.
We ran cold water over his fingers at the water fountain and huddled in the dairy aisle for a while.
Then we went to the pharmacy aisle and he got to pick out his band-aids- any kind(s) he wanted. I ripped them open and applied them there- thoroughly demolishing my years of tutoring over the need to pay before consuming grocery store items.
His brother, who'd thankfully chosen to stop screaming at the time of the accident- requested and received Band-Aids too. Although his "owies" were only smears of dirt- a fact Awais took great pleasure in reporting to the check-out clerk.
Outside I tell Awais "I am so sorry". "It's not your fault", he tells me. "I forgot to tell you to keep your hands in" "It's not your fault", he repeats. "It was an accident". "I am so sorry you got hurt", I say. "It was the shopping cart. Stupid shopping cart". (He taps the cart with his foot). "I'm sorry", I tell him. "It's not your fault," he says, "And it's not the cart's fault either. It's the stupid wheels. Stupid, dumb wheels."