“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.”Gilda Radner

Monday, June 3, 2013

Red Gatorade

One of my larger personality flaws is that I have a terrible intolerance for being made to feel like I'm somehow less than others. This has a broad range of situations it can affect, and while you may generously tell me, "Oh, everyone has that issue!" I'm quite sure I take it to a whole new level. For example, when I was registering for my baby shower eight years ago, I asked the salesman at the baby-stuff store whether they had a stroller with an adjustable handle. They make these now, but they didn't then. I was terribly troubled by the idea that when my baby was in the stroller, he wouldn't be able to see me.

"OH," said the salesman, as if he was about to tell me the most unfortunate news. "We do have one, but it's VERY expensive."

So there I was, having my own personal Pretty Woman moment. I could feel my heart start to race and my face get all hot and hands all sweaty as I prepared to shout, "I'll take FIVE!"

Luckily, I was with my sister who knows all the signs of such disasters, and she firmly grasped my shoulders to steer me away, all the while listening to my huffy rage over the nerve of that salesman. I mean, really! How does he know I'm not Mrs. Moneybags, ready to dole out whatever it takes to be sure my baby can see me from the walks I probably wouldn't take him on?

Anyway. Today I had another one of those moments while I was on the phone with my sister and Noah appeared before me with a drenched polo shirt. "Mommy," he said, "I spilled my drink."

Normally, I don't get very upset about spills because of all the things that can happen, they really are among the most harmless. But this was red Gatorade.

"Did it spill on to the rug, or just you?"

"Oh," he said casually, "I don't know."

I tucked the phone between my ear and shoulder as I grabbed towels and carpet stain remover and dashed into the family room.

"Oh! It really is everywhere!" I relayed to my sister.

"Is it red Gatorade?" she asked. "Why would you buy red Gatorade?"

It's a fair enough question, and the answer starts off simple. Because Noah has a lot of upset-stomach problems and Gatorade makes it better and he best likes the fruit punch flavor. But what irked me was my sister's tone. The question that began with the words, "Why would you..."

Not only was I gritting my teeth in preparation for what was surely going to be a know-it-all lecture from my know-it-all big sister, but I was also recalling a recent ruffling of my feathers at Wegmans. It was a rare shopping trip where I had to bring both of my children, which means I was trying to make it last the least amount of time possible. (If you're wondering, the fabulous Wegmans grocery stores do offer a convenient little childcare service which I promptly walk right past because that's entirely too germy for my crazy.)

As I was placing some Gatorade in my cart, a random man stopped me and said, "Excuse me, ma'am. That's awfully sugary for your children." Whoa now. Stepping on the Mommy Toes. He continued, "These kinds over here don't have sugar."

Once again, my face grew hot and my hands were sweaty and my heart began to race as I said calmly, "Actually, those drinks have artificial sweeteners, which is a chemical I'd prefer to not give my children. But thank you."

When we walked away, I remember Joey commenting, "Wow, Mom, you were really nice to that guy!" I love his moral support.

This means, though, that when my sister was seeming like she might go criticizing my Gatorade choices, I became a little sensitive.

Instead becoming critical, however, she said, "Because they actually make clear Gatorade."

What??? Out loud, I said, "What???"

I have to be honest, though. The real reason I was so annoyed is because a few days ago, Noah said, "Mom, can I have some Gatorade while I watch TV?" and I'd said, "Sure!" and filled a cup and brought it into him.

He'd frowned at the cup and then at me. "Mom, this doesn't have a top. I'd like my cup to have a top because I don't want to spill."

My response? My cheerful response? "Oh, honey, I'm sure you won't spill!"

Then yesterday, Joe caught me bringing both boys Gatorade in the family room with lidless cups.

"Mar," he'd said to me, "are you sure it's a good idea to give them red Gatorade with no tops?"

And I'd said confidently, "Of course! I do this all the time!" I was more than confident, too. I was also offended that he was questioning my choice.

Because, you see, I couldn't possibly be wrong.

And then, well, today happened. So mostly, I wasn't mad at my sister, or at the guy from my Wegmans, or Joe, or Noah. I was mad at me. Two notes to self: 1) Lids on cups are a good idea. 2) Buy the clear Gatorade.

And if that guy was trying to be helpful, why didn't he point me in the direction of the colorless beverages?? Jerk. Actually, you know what? I am mad at the Wegmans guy. All that meddling and he didn't even tell me the useful information. I blame him.

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