So it should come as no surprise that when Tall was a toddler, I was reluctant to take him a lot of places.Movies and plays were no longer options. No one wants to pay good money to sit behind a small child who asks questions (loudly) every two minutes. Shopping was out. I was not about to try on dresses at Nordstrom with a toddler whining. Fancy restaurants? Just a blip in the rearview mirror of my life.
But the post office? That seemed relatively benign.When Tall was not quite 2 ½ and I was pregnant with Short, I had some sort of errand at the post office. I am sure that I begged The Husband to go to the post office on his lunch break to save me from having to pack up the stroller, toys, books, diapers, wipes, five outfit changes (one for me), a sippy cup, a back-up sippy cup, pacifier, and snacks. This suggestion was most likely received with great enthusiasm:
“MOV, you are a stay-at-home mom! You can go to the post office, for Pete’s sake. What do you do all day, anyway? It’s not like the house is ever clean or dinner is made when I come home.”Right after he said that, I vowed to buy only ultra-feminine flower stamps, absolutely no manly airplane or car stamps, no matter what.
So off to the post office Tall and I went.And really, how bad could it be? I decided that we didn’t even need to take the stroller out of the car, Tall could just walk or I could carry him. I planned ahead and chose a time when I thought the post office would not be too crowded, and I made sure the time coincided with right after Tall’s snack so that he would be fed and happy.
We got there with the package I had to mail or whatever my reason for going there was (I forget now) and we stood in line.And then I saw her walk in.
And Tall saw her, too.The most morbidly obese woman you have ever seen in your life. She must’ve weighed 500 pounds and she looked like a "Before" ad for gastric-bypass surgery. She stood right behind us in line, and Tall stared at her.
I tried to distract him with some random plastic truck I had in my purse, but it was too late. Tall was absolutely mesmerized by this very large individual.I knew what was coming next. I had heard horror stories from friends that when they were in the grocery store with their preschool offspring, said offspring decided to ask why girls have “baginas” and boys have penises. Or ask if the cashier was a man or a woman because “I can’t really tell, Mommy—she looks like a girl, but then there is a lot of hair on her chin!”
Of course I could predict that Tall was going to make some comment like “Why is that lady so fat?” or “Mommy, does that lady have a baby in her tummy? Or maybe five babies?”I told myself that I would just apologize to the woman as soon as it happened. I would say that he is only 2 ½ and he really doesn’t know any better … and that he is adopted and not even really my child.
Yeah, I had the whole speech mentally rehearsed. Because I knew it was just a matter of time.Then, unfortunately, the woman noticed that Tall was staring at her so she began to engage him. “Hello, Sweetheart! What is your name?”
Tall got a strange scowl on his face. He looked at the poor woman with a mix of contempt and disgust. I braced myself for the inevitable.Tall pulled on the edge of my sleeve, implying that he wanted me to pick him up. Then he turned to the obese woman and (while clutching tightly to my neck) said,
“This is my Mommy!” He patted my shoulder for extra emphasis.I was utterly bewildered. He did not care that the woman was fat, he merely did not want to talk to a stranger. And when she spoke to him, he simply wanted to clarify that the chick he came to this post office party with was the same one he would be going home with later.
She smiled at him and said to me, “What a cute little boy!”Tall met her gaze, and merely repeated, “THIS IS MY MOMMY!!!!”
And then when we got to the car, he asked me why she was so fat.MOV