As I pull my minivan into the farthest spot from the front door in the fully packed parking lot of the Walmart Superstore, my mood begins to slip in a southerly direction at an alarming rate. Weekly grocery shopping is not one of my favorite Nanny duties on a good day, but add torrential downpour, two cranky children with drippy noses and attitudes to match, and the task can slide from tolerable to excruciating in no time flat.
Sighing deeply, I open the car door, step directly into an ankle deep puddle and begin to wrestle with the umbrella that has not been the same since turning inside-out and losing part of its material during the last hurricane. I turn my attention to the job of extricating the children from their car seats. The eldest is a boy of four, who, upon exiting the vehicle, expertly announces, “It’s raining, Nanny,” just in case it has slipped my notice. His younger sister, a two year-old princess takes my hand and wrinkles her nose in distaste. “What is this place, Nanny?”
“Well it’s Hell, dear.” I say in my mind. Outwardly I say, “It’s Walmart, Honey. Now hurry!” The three of us sprint the quarter mile toward the door, only partially covered by our lopsided umbrella with three metal poles awkwardly sticking out of one side like lightning rods.
By the time we make it to the building, we are drenched and my already foul mood dips into the dreadful category. “Good morning,” says the sweet, elderly greeter. “Welcome to Walmart, enjoy your shopping.” I smile and nod in answer, while muttering under my breath, “I’d rather have a rectal exam.”
The two youngsters insist upon riding in an extra-long, double-seater shopping cart. I affectionately call them “Hummers.”
These beasts are notoriously difficult to maneuver around corners, and I may or may not have been the guilty party who once demolished an eight foot tower of Bush’s Baked Beans with the right front bumper of one of these monstrosities – I cannot recall. Thank goodness small eye witnesses can be silenced by stuffing mouths with large lollipops.
I begin shoving the hulking Hummer through crowded aisles, leaving loosely stacked items teetering at every crossroad. I despise this place. The fact that it draws the most curiously dressed herd within a 50 mile radius doesn’t offend me in the least. I am much more bothered by people who amble aimlessly or pose and deliberate for great lengths of time in the middle of crowded aisles. Then there is the Coup de gras – twenty four beautifully stocked check-out lanes with no more than two open at a time.
I am awakened from my trance by the realization that the two tots have been more quiet than usual, which indicates trouble is afoot. They are inspecting a small object with great interest that the boy holds in his hand.
“What are you two juvenile delinquents looking at?” I ask. I should know better. But now it is too late as the small boy looks at me with immense wonder sparkling in his eyes.
“Look at my dinky, Nanny!” He says, bursting with pride. “It’s so big!” I now see that the boy’s miniature man-part has somehow escaped the confines of his pants and Spiderman underwear. He is holding it between his thumb and forefinger, stretching it as far as it will go.
“Oh Dear!” I say, throwing my head around, checking for perverts so fast it makes me dizzy. “I do see your dinky. But, honey – why? Why is your dinky out of your pants?” I ask, trying to cover him with my jacket.
“Sometimes I just like to take it out.” He says calmly. “It’s fun.”
“As much fun as that sounds, Sweetheart, we don’t take our dinkies – or our berries – as a matter of fact – out of our pants, at Walmart.”
“Berries.” His little sister giggles.
“Mommy says we can’t say NUTS!” he says by way of educating his sister. “But Jack at my school calls them NUTS.”
Two elderly women, who have been thumping melons, overhear the conversation and immediately cease thumping, giving me the pinched faced look of disapproval. One of them has her mouth open in utter shock. Great! Now I’m the pervert.
Ignoring the old biddies, I say, “Mommy is right. You have berries.”
“Why don’t I have NUTS?” he asks.
“Because you don’t get those until you are old and wrinkly.” I say.
“OOOOhhhh,” he says, contemplatively. “Does Daddy have NUTS?”
I thought this conversation had already hit rock bottom – but I believe we just found the basement. “Look at Nanny.” I say, stopping the Hummer to look directly into the little boy’s eyes. “I’m not talking about Daddy. I’m talking about why you should not take your dinky out of your pants in Walmart.”
“But Whyyyyy, Nanny?” he whines.
“Because our dinkies and our berries are our very own special private bits and pieces. They are not for the people at Walmart. You don’t see anyone else walking around with their dinky hanging out, do you?”
The moment the words exit my mouth, I am aware that there is at least a forty percent chance of spotting a Walmartian sporting a rogue dinky on any shopping excursion at Walmart. I hold my breath.
The child scans the horizon, and spotting no genitalia, lowers his head and says, “No, but I still like to take it out and look at it.”
“I’m sure you do.” I say. “I’m also sure you will continue to enjoy doing so for many years to come. However, you will just have to remember that Walmart is not the best place for this kind of fun. Now, I would like for you to put your dinky and your berries away and we will talk about what else the two of you would like to do today. A museum? The library?”
The tot stuffs his tiny man-part back into his pants with great effort, as though it is truly the size of a giant anaconda. He then grins mischievously. “How about Target, Nanny?”
I have tears running down my face and my side hurts from the out loud laughter I experienced as I read this I have 2 umbrellas like you described and it sounds like this Wall Mart adventure was worse than dental surgery!
Why, Arlene, do we keep those stupid umbrellas? They don’t keep anybody dry, yet we insist upon saving them.
I’m sorry about your tears and your painful side, but happy you joined me in Walmart hell. Misery loves company.
Dearest Nanny, you have not lost your touch. I think this may be my favorite story so far. Once again, with preschoolers it’s all about poop and penises, with berries thrown in this time : )