It is widely understood, I believe, that mom's to young kids develop "mommy brain." The most responsible among us becomes forgetful and irresponsible. I once was a very dependable person. I arrived early - not just on time - to events and meetings, kept appointments, returned calls in a timely manner, remembered birthday's and other important dates. Not anymore. I'm not sure when the shift took place. Was it due to new motherhood and overwhelming fatigue with boy 1? Was it the shockingly early arrival and subsequent health issues of boy 2? Was it the surprise of boy 3 and his feisty spirit? I dunno, it is cumulative I guess. I write all the important things down in my time key. But then I forget to look at it.

It is not just the ordinary forgetfulness that has crept into my life. I seem to have this profound amnesia when it comes to the realities of going into public with all three boys. Like going out to eat or shopping at Target. I don't know how else to explain why I keep taking them, all three, into public. I did it again earlier in the week. We went to the grocery store. Simple enough, right? They will be fine, I thought to myself. We will run in and out, I will get them a cookie to keep them quiet while I race around the store, they will be content in the race car cart. Please let there be a race car cart available. And there was. You know the one? With the big green double seat attached to the front of the cart. Steering wheels for the kids to turn. Impossible for mom to navigate. It took us five minutes just to get in the store though. Luke is fine. I am carrying Wil and trying to hold Timothy's hand. Timothy does not want his hand held and keeps yanking it away, threatening to dash into the parking lot. He thought it was a game, despite the sternness in my voice. Finally I had to get him on my other hip. So with 60 lbs in my arms I make my way inside and get them settled in the race car cart while calling out for Luke to wait on me.

And then the fun began. After the cookie pit stop I started making my way through the store. We didn't even get through the produce section, where Luke insisted on putting every piece of produce within reach on the scales, before Timothy started antagonizing Wil. Wil, who really can't handle that kind of thing. First T takes off Wil's glasses. Wil screams and screams. I calm him down in front of the strawberries, clean his glasses, get them back on and give Timothy another stern "no." He grins. As Luke is taking off down the next aisle I notice Wil putting his finger in Timothy's mouth. Before I could stop what was coming Timothy bites down hard on Wil's finger. Wil screams again. I mean really screams. One of his mad screams with hands up and out and head down. This one, I realized, was going to require a cuddle. So I get Wil out while trying to beckon Luke, nuzzle him, sing to him, tell him it is going to be okay. I have only three items in the cart. When I try to put Wil back in his seat he screams. So I try to push the 'hard to push' race car cart with one hand while holding Wil. This doesn't work. I put Wil in the main part of the cart to keep him away from Timothy. Wil, who clears any surface he sits on, begins throwing items from the cart overboard. Sigh. I try to put the items with Timothy but he won't have it either.

At this point I seriously consider going home without my groceries, wondering what I was thinking in the first place, but I just can't bring myself to do it. I decided to take my pain. With my new resolve, Wil in the deep end of the cart, Timothy driving, groceries on the bottom and Luke promising to stay with me and keep his hands to himself I press forward. Then a man on the same aisle that had witnessed a good portion of our show turned to me and asked, "Is he Down's?" Resisting the temptation to correct him outright I simply reply, "He has Down syndrome, yes." He gives me the standard comment about how I have my hands full (I can't imagine where he got that idea!) and moves on.

Timothy is irritable as we move through the store because he wants to get out. He is letting everyone know how frustrated he is and nothing I give him keeps him quiet. I have made my way to frozen foods by now and decide to just let Timothy walk. Again, what was I thinking?! He takes off. I reign him in. He screams in anger. I ask Luke to please hold T's hand and stay with him, we are almost done. But Luke runs into a friend from school and disappears into the "book and random items" section. I couldn't see him but I could hear him. What did I hear? Luke laughing hysterically as he jumped on a whoopie cushion. Over and over and over again. And then there was Timothy pulling book after book off the shelves. And then The Man reappears. He begins talking to me about Wil. I try to interact while attempting to regain control over Luke and Timothy and quietly vowing to never, ever bring them all to the grocery store again.

We make it to check out where the folks in line ahead of me part like the red sea and insist that I go to the front of the line. Hmmm, maybe there is some advantage to having them with me? Nope, not worth it.

But somehow I know that I will forget just how taxing a simple trip to the grocery store can be for all of us and I will attempt it again. It is easy to forget when 30 minutes later everyone is happy and laughing and dancing to Ryan Shupe and the Rubber Band. And those moments, thankfully, are unforgettable!


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