You know how shopping always brings out the best behavior in your children, and the best mother in you? And not just any shopping, no. I'm referring to Christmas shopping. Late at night. With all the boys together, the youngest of which is a very bossy and tired three year old, and oldest is a bully teenager of a brother. Where you don't have too much time because it's late and it's a school night, but you just had to run out for a few things or it will never all get done? Yeah, that kind of shopping. Well, that was me. And my three boys. Just a few nights ago.
Just a warning for those who do not live here in southern California, but may one day live here, or may one day visit and go out in public:
They're hunting you down.
It's happened to me several times. Casting scouts. Those who are hired by television shows to comb the streets and stores of Normalville and look for those who stand out in the crowd. Maybe you're beautiful. Maybe your baby is just too deliciously chubby and wide-eyed. Maybe your daughter won't stop dancing in the aisles. I've been stopped a few times and invited for casting calls for Disney shows, especially when I'm out with Aiden. But maybe they stop you because you are that frantic and crazed mother of three--well, two, Aiden's usually a victim--overly-stimulated boys and you're losing your mind in the parking lot, in the dark, in the freezing wind.
The shopping cart, in which Conor was sitting, had one stuck wheel. (Don't they always?) It would randomly just stop and the cart would too. Conor would fly forward and back in a whiplash fashion, while he was trying to scavenge the remaining blue raspberry Slurpee that his brother had given him. Dylan thought this was extremely amusing. I was a little tired of Dylan finding everything amusing in his mischievous ways. I was picturing Conor's little skeleton with his top two vertebrae, the atlas and the axis, with the little bony dens pointing up from the posterior side, just so close to the occipital lobe of his brain, and I was hearing in my mind about how whiplash can kill a person if that dens snaps just so, right into that brain tissue. I know, I know, just be quiet. If you don't like that image, then go with Shaken Baby Syndrome. Either one is sufficiently horrifying. I was struggling to dig my keys out of the black hole of my purse, in the dark and the wind, trying to keep up with Dylan running with the cart hoping for that immediate stop, which would send Conor's head careening forth and then back with a snap. It wasn't funny to me.
"Get him out of the cart." I must have said it five times. So I said it meaner. "Get him out of the cart! He's going to get whiplash! Stop it!"
And then I hear, "Excuse me, ma'am?"
So, in my ticked-off, frustrated, freezing, state, I snapped my head around and said (in my sweetest voice, of course) "Can I help you?"
"Hi, I'm casting for Super Nanny, and you guys just look like a really nice family (shove it, lady) and I was wondering if I could put you on a list to be called for possible participation on our show?"
"Super Nanny? You mean the show with the mean British lady?"
Yep, that's the one. And you know, sure I was stopped because we look like a nice family. Because that's the kind of thing people like to watch on reality television. It wasn't because I'm losing my mind and control of my kids. No.
I tried to smooth over my expression and my tone of voice as best I could. Fighting off embarrassment and humiliation. Isn't this just the way life works? A little Youuuuuuu-Whoooooo from above reminding me that I look as crazy and frantic as I feel inside and may need to pull in the reins a bit?
Well, thanks, Super Nanny. The irony of the whole thing definitely captured my attention. But if you do call, I could seriously use that mean British lady's help with Conor at bedtime. For real.