Some shopping trips with the Mad Madster are better than others and some are downright painful.
Sometimes a series a events collide leading a father to abandon $60 worth of groceries in a store parking lot to deal with his mischievous one-shoed daughter.
There is one grocery store in Jersey City that we shop at for only a few items at a time. The reason for this is that the shopping carts can’t go more than ten feet out of the entrance because they are blocked in by metal barricades. This critical fact seemed to have slipped my mind as Maddie and I were checking out with far too much to carry.
It all started with a BAD checkout. The rocket scientist bagging the groceries only single-bagged a sack containing a 2-liter bottle and some other items with sharp corners. I failed to notice this because Maddie was trying to pull every item off the belt before the cashier could scan it.
I knew I was in trouble the second we got outside where there was a homeless gentleman was asking to carry my bags. I declined his kind offer and set off into the parking lot with a sense of purpose.
We made it about 20 steps when the shopping bag with the the 2-liter bottle blew apart showering the contents all over the parking lot.
For some reason, this sent Maddie into a kicking frenzy. Her right foot scored a direct hit on a second bag blasting it apart with more items showering the ground along with her sneaker.
It’s a party now!
Maddie wants to get down and play in the carnage below and the car is no closer than 100 yards away.
Time to leave the groceries where they were (bye bye Maddie and I said together) as we walked away to get in the car.
Once the Mads was safely strapped in, we drove over to the mess where there was a nice man defending our pile of groceries from some curious homeless helpers.
I thanked him, hoping our adventure was over, but Maddie had more games to share with her dad.
Of course there were no parking spaces near our home, so we had to park across the busy street. We parked and the only shopping bag I grabbed to take upstairs with Maddie was her milk. We took two steps from the car when the one-shoed girl seized the bag and swung it towards her head. I had to adjust quickly, but Maddie had a death grip on the bag. I put her down to free the bag, when she whipped the sack across the sidewalk rupturing the third bag of the young morning.
At that point, there was really nothing left to do but take a few pictures.
Until this week, Maddie’s bedtime bath had always been full of smiles and splashes. But during this particular trip, bathtime has been a bust. Maddie has kind of spoiled us with her lack of fear for new experiences. She hit the pool for the first time yesterday like Michael Phelps. That’s why this sudden anxiety surrounding bathtime has taken her parents by complete surprise.
We’re not sure what the issue is, but Maddie seems to be afraid of the blowup tub. Bathtime has morphed into sheer chaos complete with screaming, crying and multiple early exits from the tub. Bathing the baby before bed has always been a way to soothe Maddie. Now bathtime is revving her up like a honey badger trying to remove the head from a live snake.
Take away the hard edges and confines of the hard plastic tub at home and the baby is obviously breaking down. As soon as she hits the water, she’s like a cat on the hot tin roof. She doing all she can to pivot and claw her way away from the water. The cushiony feel of the tub has Maddie believing that it might swallow her up at any moment.
So this evening we applied Jedi mind tricks to lure Maddie into the tub without having her erupt into hysterics. First we ran the tub before bringing the baby in. Second, we brought her into the bathroom with her clothes still on. And finally, once we got her undressed, I let her stand in the tub instead of lowering her into the water.
Once her feet hit the water, she went right back off the deep end. However, I kept just her feet barely in the water while assuring her that everything was under control. Realizing that she didn’t have to sit in the tub provided a great deal of relief.
The crying stopped, but she remained standing for almost a full minute. It was a very gradual process, but the baby finally trusted the tub enough to continue her normal bathing routine. She reverted back to the baby who loved bathtime right before our eyes. Hopefully we turned the corned on this little speed bump, but with Maddie, you just never know.
One of the enduring gifts Maddie’s grandparents left with her was a new desire to bang on multiple flat surfaces like a bongo drum. Since that time, the baby has banged on cans, counter tops and even her dear old dad. But as you might have guessed from the title of this article, Maddie is now drumming water right out of the tub.
There’s always been a great deal of kicking that automatically came with bath time. However, with the recent addition of repeatedly smacking her flat hands on the surface of the water, bath time is now more like a day at the water park.
The entire smacking of the water is on par with the way a beaver warns other varmints that danger is near. The beaver takes its large flat tail and pounds it into the water before submerging. This tail meets water action sends up a large plume of water very similar to what Maddie is achieving in the bathtub.
So how does one defeat a Varmint? In Caddyshack, the wise and wily Bill Murray spoke about the difficulties of dealing with Varmints, “My enemy is a varmint and a varmint will never quit. They’re like the Vietcong. The varmint kong! You gotta fall back on superior firepower and superior intelligence.”
Since neither of those attributes are at my disposal, I obviously have a slew of long wet days ahead of me. Once Maddie watches that water rain down around her and the person tasked with bathing her, the fun for her is just beginning. Even though she’s inadvertently firing sharp blasts of water into her own eyes and nose, Maddie continues to smack at the water again and again (Honey Badger don’t care!)
At this point, I’m only making things worse. Every time the baby busts the water and douses us, we both laugh with unfettered delight. This is no doubt encouraging the problem rather than solving it. It may get old at some point, but for now, I’m more than content to participate in Maddie’s Water Games.