• easpenner

Balloon Rescue

Updated: Jul 28

Grocery store trips.

Yesterday morning confirmed that I officially despise them. Ugh.

Not because I mind actually going to the grocery store. Nope, that’s not it. Really, it is nice to get out of the house. Pick out the needed food for some new recipes. And feel like I can check one thing off my weekly to-do list.

No, sweet friends. This struggle is simply because of one feisty, carefree, toe-headed, fiery ball of energy. Baby Nugget. She is exactly where Monkey was in the past two years. S.t.u.b.b.o.r.n. beyond belief. Ready to tackle the world all. by. herself. “I do it. I do it. I DO IT!!!” All day long. Monkey, on the other hand, has turned into the absolutely quietest and sweetest little being on this planet. And I love them both more than words can say. We are just in one of those epic “phases” at the moment.

Monday morning. In desparate need of a grocery-store run. Should have gone Friday. Saturday. Sunday. But I was running on empty. Two little girls up throughout Wednesday night, led to both missing school (for different reasons) on Thursday. Friday, I just didn’t have it in me. Saturday? Busy. Sunday? Two little girls up again. One wanting to just cuddle. One who got sick. And this mama was backed up on sleep. So, Monday morning it was.


We were running about 20 minutes behind where I want to be. There is this “window”. I am guessing most mamas would totally agree. The we-need-to-get-there-before-lunchtime-and-naptime-and-before-I-lose-my-babes–in-the-superstore-crowd window. And we were missing it. Baby Nugget had already melted down twice. In the mudroom. Before we even stepped foot out of the door. And another in the garage. With shoes flying. I was already sweating.

The ride to the store was filled with “pep” talks. About “how we behave in the grocery store”. And bribes. “Remember, if we have reallllllly good behavior, Mommy brought two suckers for the ride home.” (Yup. I am not perfect. Nowhere near perfect.)

So, when I pulled into the parking lot at 10:30 on Monday morning, only to see that it was fairly empty, I breathed a sigh of relief. And a prayer of thanksgiving. We hopped on out, and off we went. Fifty feet in the door. Baby Nugget meltdown one. In the produce section. Not super busy. I let her hold a kitchen towel that I brought. (Yes, I carry kitchen towels. When we forget a stuffed buddy at home, I always make sure to have one in the diaper bag.) Good to go. We were moving along. Monkey walking quickly. Baby Nugget chasing us down. (I don’t move slow in general. Let alone the supermarket.) Then we hit the meat/cheese section. Monkey got to help put something “bigger” in the cart. Meltdown #2. In the middle of the dairy aisle. Right in front of one of those mega doors. The ones that are always swinging back and forth with store employees hustling to carry stock in-and-out from the back into the store and vice versa.

During the third instance during our time in the store, we saw the local florist (who, by the way, did all of our wedding flowers….gorgeous!). She bent down and talked to Baby Nugget. And between the two of us, and with my coveted grocery list now in her all-over-the-store-floor hands, plus a Halloween dish towel in the other, we were off. We made it ALL the way back across the store. And into the check-out line.


And that’s where e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. fell apart.

Baby Nugget does not do “well” in the checkout line. She must get “bored”. Today, she really let her carefree side shine. As in…she did. not. care. You see, she had conned me into bringing her sucker into the store and holding it, to keep it safe. I needed her to actually get out of the car in order to come home with some groceries, so I put her things into a clean Ziploc baggie, and off we went. She must have figured by check-out time that she earned her sucker, because off came the wrapper, and there she went. Plop. On the floor. In the middle of the self-checkout.

Monkey was all-too-quick to scream at me in alert of what Baby Nugget had done. I should have let it go there. But I couldn’t. The deal was “be super-great in the grocery, enjoy your sucker ON THE RIDE HOME.” Not to mention, that although Monkey is beyond a sweetie, her “fits” when they happen, can be of epic proportion (seeing as she listened and left her sucker in her car seat cup-holder)…I tossed the dice as to whose would be worse, and took the sucker from Baby Nugget. Oh. my. word. I think I tossed those dice a little too quickly.

That was it.

Game over.

Baby with face smashed into the floor. Monkey and I struggling to get her to stand up. (Ummm, yeah…putting her in the grocery cart? Not an option. I cannot push an extra 30 pounds, plus the cart was filled to the brim). So, I did what any momma would have done. I got firm, and then beyond mortified at the scene we were causing, I bribed. Three times. She got my wallet. My diaper bag/purse (to which she dumped the entirety of its contents on the floor). The promise of another sucker if she could pull herself together.

All while, my superior idea of wearing low-rise maternity jeans to the store was probably causing a scene in-and-of-itself, as I continually battled with pulling them up with every lean-over to grab Baby Nugget. Again. And again. And again. Sweat pouring down by face. A sweet chuckle from the super-softhearted lady in charge of the self-checkout section. To whom I suddenly confessed: “I am beyond mortified right. I am so ready to leave. I just want to cry.” Using every ounce of energy to hold the tears back. Wiping sweat from my face with my sleeve.

And then…we saw her again. Our angel-in-disguise-florist. Who had now seen Baby Nugget on the floor for a total of three times (although I am pretty sure we hit double-digits.) She was there to rescue us. Once again, she bent down next to Baby Nugget and Monkey and asked, “Would you girls like to take home a balloon today?”

Silence. Baby Nugget wiped her tears. And looked up at her with her beautiful, can’t-say-no-to-these hazel eyes. And she smiled.

“Well, you’ll have to get up off of the floor.” Said angel-florist.


And up she came. She discussed color-choices. Ribbon choices. And told us to swing by the floral department before we left. All while I scanned said shopping cart, which was now filling up with the fallen contents from my destroyed diaper bag/purse. Less than half-dozen items. “I can do this!” I thought.

We finished. Baby Nugget settled down. Monkey was super-excited to receive such a special treat. And wow, did she ever deserve it. So, with two tired tots in-toe, we pulled into the floral area with our cart maxed out. She put three balloons inside of a big bag for us. (One for Miss Observant too, of course!). And she and I encouraged the girls to each hold a side of the bag as we walked out.

I couldn’t thank her enough.

She was an angel of grace in a moment of breaking down. At five-and-a-half months pregnant, my ability to do what I want when the girls act out is very limited. I can still pick up Baby Nugget, but I can’t carry her around like I normally would. All I wanted to do was take her to the car and put her in there and explain to her how COMPLETELY embarrassed and disappointed I was. But I couldn’t. And this amazing lady knew that. So she stepped in. With a very gracious offering of a free balloon for each girl. She did not have to do that. But, it meant the world to me, in that hectic moment of motherhood. She flew in on her angel wings with a precious “balloon rescue”.

Baby Nugget did not go without consequence. On the way home, she watched her sister enjoy her sucker for being a.m.a.z.i.n.g. in the store. And she cried. She screamed. She kicked. And she became hysterical. Until she got it all out of her system. And I talked to her about her behavior. She apologized. And settled down. When we got home, she had to stay in her car seat while I unloaded groceries. All while Monkey got to get out and play with her balloon. She cried again. She kicked off her shoes. Pulled off her socks. And somehow managed to unscrew a bottle of water and overflow her cup holder (sigh).

After about 10-15 minutes, I went over to her seat and pieced her back together. I asked for an apology, and she gave it to me. She asked for her balloon, and I gave it to her. I was still “steaming” inside. But watching her run around with her “gween bawoon” helped my heart remember…she is only two. She is learning how to communicate. She knows how to push my buttons. Hard. She knows she did something wrong. But, it was probably far out of her mind.


The lesson of this post…take heart, sweet souls. When you see a situation like mine today, try not to be so quick to judge. My girls are not angels, but they are typically sweet, loving and very well-behaved little beings. They have received probably a dozen compliments from staff at that grocery store alone, about their excellent behavior. But today was nowhere near excellent. It was downright embarrassing. Yet, someone saw it in herself to step in and help. Something that each-and-every one of us is capable of doing. E.v.e.r.y. single day. And it isn’t something that has to cost us any money. She could have simply talked to them. While I finished checking out. But, she decided to go above-and-beyond with a simple balloon rescue. And for that, I am more than grateful.

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