I had two sobering incidents
I went to my favorite

I had just finished a

I had just finished a particularly disastrous trip through Costco. Did you know they don’t take Visa? Neither did I. I was very displeased to discover this fact, even more displeased than the nice checker guy who had to put back my cart full of super-sized groceries. Heh, heh. Sorry, nice checker guy.
Anyhow, I was annoyed. I had just succeeded in dragging three boys through the wasteland that is Costco, successfully hunted down all the required items, hauled the lot up to the counter, only to have them snatched from my grasp by a cruel twist of fate. Or a cruel twist of Costco, I suppose. I was annoyed.
Irritation like that has a way of leaking out, infecting the children of the host. Plus it was lunch time, and the boys were crushed by the loss of the 24 pack of Go-Gurt that was almost theirs. We were all irritable.
We got in line at the lunch counter. I may have been annoyed at Costco, but not too annoyed to eat their cheap pizza. In front of me was a man who kept turning around and grinning at the boys. Raphael darted away from me and I called out, “Raphael, come here. Stand right here. Here. Look at me. Right here.”
Grinning man said to me, “How old is Raphael?”
I sighed as Raphael started edging away from his assigned spot. “Two and a half.”
“I just had one. I mean my wife did. A son. November 24.” I looked at him; he was nodding and smiling so big I thought he’d pull a cheek muscle. A besotted new dad. Ya gotta love that.
“Well,” I advised in my best experienced mother tone, “buckle your seat belt, you’re in for an adventure.” Just then Max decided to break up the monotony of waiting in line by tackling Tre, causing the two of them to careen across the aisle. This forced a few heavily loaded carts to swerve to miss them, earning me some well deserved “control your children” glares. As I opened my mouth to order them to my side, Raphael made a break from his spot and freed the tape stretched between two poles. You know, that tape they use to give a line some definition. It was retractable, and as it zinged back into its retracted position, it startled several people waiting in line. Turned heads. Well earned glares.
I sat Max down on one side of me for a time out, Raphael on the other side. Believe it or not, this particular issue of messing with the stretchy tape is one we’ve discussed before. He’s been in time out in Borders, the bank, and now Costco over that very issue. He sat down with a satisfied look, as though the experience had been worth the punishment. Max, on the other hand, did not feel his time out was at all deserved, since Tre had said something to him in the car, and it was mean, and Max had just remembered it and that was why he tackled him and Tre should be the one in time out. When I failed to see his logic he resorted to wailing loudly and slumping over on the floor. Large tears and tortured tones earned me yet more looks, this time of the “what have you done to that sweet child?” variety.
I sighed (more of a Lamaze breathing exercise, really) and turned back, to discover New Dad still grinning like a fool. “They’re so cool, boys, aren’t they?” he enthused. I couldn’t help but smile back. “Yes they are,” I replied, “Congratulations on your son. Good luck.”
New dads. They’re just adorable.


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