I needed to run to Wal-Mart today, just a short little jog for some essentials. So while Toby was napping, with Matt working at home, I hearded Hannah and Emma toward the front door. On the way out the door I reached for the diaper bag then thought to myself, "No..they're both potty trained! But what about the sippy cups we drag everywhere we go lest someone should suddenly become dehydrated? No! It's a twenty minute trip and for once in my life I'm going to go shopping with a purse, not a diaper bag." I redirected the girls for a last potty stop and water drink while I proudly placed my wallet in a purse and slung it over my shoulder.
Unfortunately we'd only loaded one item into the Wal-Mart cart before Hannah noticed something missing. "Hey, Mama, where's my cup?" she asked, "I'm thirsty."
"Yeah I ir ee ooh, (Yeah, I thirsty too)" Emma echoed.
"Mommy didn't bring the cups this time," I answered, "and you will be fine. We'll be home in a few minutes." But my speech was less than convincing to Hannah. Suddenly she was trapped under the blazing Wal-Mart lights, and with no oasis in sight, her throat became more parched by the minute.
"I want to go now," she sulked, "I'm so thirsty. I just need a drink right now." I'm not accustomed to whining children. Generally they're thrilled to get out of the house, and I fully expected Hannah to be enraptured by the beautiful Christmas decorations surrounding us, but today her melodrama turned an entirely sour direction. I reminded her that it was her choice to come. I threatened to let her take a nap with Toby the next time, but the whining would not subside. "When can we go home?" she persisted as I placed our items on the check-out belt a full five minutes later, "I don't think you're ever ever ever going to take us home. You never will!"
Much to Hannah's dismay, I announced that we had to make another quick stop at a nearby craft store for some embroidery floss that Wal-Mart suddenly no longer carried. She sulked in the car, stomped into the store, and whined all the way to the embroidery floss. I quickly picked out the three I needed then turned to Hannah with a touch of sarcasm, "What? You're still alive? Well good, now we can go home and you can drink all the water in the world."
"I nee go pah-ee!" Emma announced. I really didn't want to delay our return, especially after promising Hannah we were on our way home. I glanced Emma over: no dancing, no look of urgency; then I factored in that she hadn't had one accident in the three weeks she'd been wearing underwear, and I decided to call her bluff. "You can wait, Emma, we're leaving."
By the time we made it to the parking lot Hannah was in a parched frenzy of dehydrated delirium. "Mommy, I'm going to die of thirst! I'm going to die right here in the parking lot! And the cars will run me over! I just can't keep waiting all day, and you're never going to take me home!" At this point I wasn't answering. Just survive, just survive.
When we arrived home Hannah bolted into the house and ran to her water cup with little dramatic sobs, like the marathon runner urging himself toward the finish line just ahead. She took two swallows, set the cup down with a huge, "Ahhhh!" and happily skipped to the Little People toys she had left an hour earlier. I had to remind Emma to use the potty.
Maybe the diaper bag wouldn't be so bad after all.