Always Real

Ugly Rugs And Other Lies

The morning of Christmas Eve, Sean and I were at Wal-Mart gathering up a few last minute things for my mother-in-law’s birthday, which is Christmas Eve.

Sean was really into the concept of celebrating Memaw’s birthday. He wanted to bake a birthday cake for her, so we bought cake mix and icing and sparkly sugar. He wanted to put flowers on the table so I paid $9 for semi-slimy flowers from the Isle of Misfit Flowers. He wanted to buy her a present so he picked out the most hideous rug in the universe from the holiday housewares clearance row. It was the last of its kind and looked as though it might have even been stepped on or run over by a cart a few times.

I tried my best to talk him out of it. I tried to convince him that maybe she would prefer something less rug-like, but his heart was set on this $2 kitchen rug featuring hideously happy little cartoon birds in happy little cartoon birdhouses, the kind of rug that would be perfect for your house – if you have a sofa and/or a toilet in your front yard. So I threw it in the cart. Along with some maraschino cherries that caught his eye and a Lightning McQueen shirt two sizes too small for him and a few other things which I had no intention of buying. And the hearts of all the people in the land swelled with happiness and contentment.

I’m pretty sure I didn’t invent this mothering trick and I’m also pretty sure many of you will think that I’m a pretty rotten mother for wholly embracing this mothering trick, yet I also know that many of you do it yourselves (and you’re the ones I want to party with) —  But! A lot of times when Sean and I are shopping, I let him put stuff in the cart which I have no intention of buying. And then when he is distracted at the checkout with the M&Ms and Britney’s bald head, I take these things out of the cart and put them in the cart of either the lady behind or in front of me. No, not really. I don’t do that other than just that one time with the Pokemon cards.

In an ideal cooperative world, I would put my “heck-no-I’m-not-buying-this” item in the cart of the lady behind me, who would then put it in the cart of the lady behind her, where there would be stationed a permanent Antique Mommy Memorial HNINBT Cart, sponsored by the Antique Mommy Psychiatric Memorial Endowment Fund for frazzled mothers everywhere.

So then, when Sean was busy rehearsing his closing arguments for the large package of M&Ms, I put the rug in an empty cart that was strategically placed behind a big bin of holiday DVDs. Into the stragically placed cart, no doubt put there by another mother, I also put the maraschino cherries and the other HNINBT items.

As I was sliding my credit card, Sean cried out, “Mommy! Where is the rug for Memaw? Where is that beautiful rug!!?”

The young gal behind me in line, who saw me offload the beautiful rug – a young child-free gal wearing makeup, nice clothes and heels, a gal clutching a basket and not a cart, a gal who no doubt had not yet been to the maternal warzone or had her metal tested by a child, gave me a judgmental “I can’t believe you did that” look with the slight raise of an eyebrow. Judgment – it resides in the eyebrows, did you know that?

Luckily for me, I don’t really care what strangers in Wal-Mart think, so I told Sean that it must have fallen off the cart and that we would go shopping later and get her another one. What a shame about that beautiful rug.

So yes. I won’t lie about Santa but I will lie about an ugly rug. And salt. I will definitely lie about salt. And maybe a few other things that are ugly or messy. Or noisy. I will only lie only about things that are ugly, messy or noisy. I have my morals and standards and whatnot. Stop judging me people.  I have more than enough judgment for myself.

Prologue: Later that same day, I went back to Wal-Mart, found the hideous rug and bought it. Sean was thrilled. When Memaw unwrapped it, she pretended to be thrilled.

And the hearts of all the people in the land swelled with happiness and contentment. And a little lot of judgment.

45 thoughts on “Ugly Rugs And Other Lies

  1. Oh I do this all the time. Especially with my one year old. Sometimes with us it’s a trade off though. Contented playing with a toy throughout the entire store swapped for embareseing screaming her head off when I pry it from her fingers and hand it to the less than thrilled person checking me out wincing while I say, “I am not buying this”. One time I actually said “I don’t know how this got in here” which was a boldface lie since I had taken it off the shelf and handed it to her while she was whining. I did feel bad about that lie though, so now I just try to ignore the judgement and stick with “we’re not getting this, we were just germing it up for whomever does” line, that brings with it either laughter or disdain depending on the clerk.

    IT was very sweet though that you went back for the rug. 🙂

  2. Oh CJ, you are such an amateur liar! The secret is to distract them with something you are going to buy and then you stick the toy in the freezer case when they aren’t looking (where the germs will freeze off) and when they ask where it went you tell them Santa came and took it away.

  3. “Sean, we’ll buy one present for Memaw. You can help me choose it.”

    Says he with 7 grandchildren.

    Give Sean a hug for us.

  4. P. S. If my grandchildren choose something for me, it’s always thrilling. Witness the drawings on my office walls — and how long they stay there. It’s the memory, not the thing.

    On the other hand, “You know what Papaw would really like?…”

  5. You’re lucky it was a $2 ugly rug. It could have been a $30 ugly rug. Anyway, grandmas loooove ugly rugs. (And the walmart returns counter).

  6. First, I’ve never even thought of that technique. You are an evil genius.

    Second, you totally caved to the raised eyebrow bitch-in-judgment, didn’t you?

  7. Yes Candy, yes I did. I caved. It was the double whammy of eyebrow girl and broken hearted little boy. No one can stand against that, not even those as evil and heartless as I.

  8. Oh, I have so done that many times in the past. Never thought about putting it in someone else’s cart though! When the kids would discover that their prized item didn’t make it home with us, I would usually say something about it falling out of the cart of the checker forgetting to put it in the bag (I was not above blaming someone else).

    Know what – my kids survived just fine!

  9. Oh my… My personal preference is for providing guidance to children in a more proactive, assertive, and instructional way, rather than in a passive-aggressive way… but I must admit that I’m one of those with the makeup and the basket, as I have not yet been blessed with the ultimate gift of being called ‘Mommy’.

  10. That used to be my personal preference too Christy. And then I had a child. Whereas before I had a child I was just full of myself, now that I am a mother, I am full from having eaten so many of my own words and a whole lot of crow casserole. (*burp*)

  11. Full of myself or empty, depending on which way you look at it. I’m sure you’re right, and I long to have a heaping helping of that same casserole myself one day. 🙂

  12. Trust me on this Christy, you have no idea how low your standards will drop when you have to go one-on-one with a child day in and day out, all day long. You will dream up all kinds of creative ways to avoid even just one or two battle just to save yourself for the important stuff.

    I hope you get to find out because it is the most wonderful thing that can ever happen to you.

  13. CJ when I was a cashier, I always tried to help by telling the youngin’ that I would keep it for them so they could play with it the next time they came in. Sometimes it worked…sometimes it didn’t.

  14. I’m afraid to hand stuff back now. The last time I did it the clerk bit my head off, so now I just wander around and hide stuff on random shelves.

    I’m not afraid on PMS days though. Then I WELCOME some attitude from the store clerk. BRING IT.

  15. I laughed and laughed, such extremes us mothers will stoop to. Keep up with the most excellent words AM, I will be reading this one to my husband for his amusement and to my girls who have joined the ranks of “makeup and baskets” while seemingly sporting the idea of “the great fear of motherhood”.

  16. You are so funny! I thought I was the only one that did this stuff. I know Grandma loved the rug and will use it regardless of the looks.

  17. It is not so easy for me to do this anymore. When I had my first child, and she was an only child for seven years…this was so easy. Now, if I try to get rid of anything that the three-year-old wants me to buy, the seven-and-eight-year-olds rat me out. Shopping has become a scary thing.

  18. Remind me never to get in line behind you! 🙂 I do it too but I dump it off in the candy and magazine section before the check out.

  19. Oh, now I know why I paid $9.97 for Yo-Gi-Mon (sp) cards last week at Wal-Mart. 🙂

    Happy New Year Antique Mommy to you and yours!

  20. Oh you guys are so funny. I totally always hand it back to the cashier. I have four kids though and have become much braver as my level of insanity as increased. But man, if a clerk had bit my head off I might act differently.

    And what is it about put together women (particularly in shoes way too stylish to chase after children) that makes me cower? I think it’s that I used to be them and am collectively proud and mortified at the sweats wearing master of the toddler universe that I have become.

  21. In all my 25+ years of parenting, I could have NEVER gotten away with taking stuff out of the cart and not buying it, after I said I would and put it into the cart to begin with. My kids would have never trusted me again, as long as I was alive! >:-)

    So, I just told them “no” right up front, before anything even went into the cart so there were no misunderstandings about *anything* once we got to the cashier.

    Honesty is the best policy, oh Antique Mommy, or your son will learn from you REAL quick!!

    Your son at 16 yrs old: “Yes, Mom, I’m going straight to Suzy’s house and yes, her parents ARE going to be home all evening.”

    Son says stuff to Mom to keep her pacified… until he leaves and then sneaks the stuff out of the cart… uhhhh, I mean… until he leaves and then goes to Suzy’s house for a party (with Suzy’s parents away for the weekend)!!

    That sneaky stuff comes back to bite ya in the butt, my friend. Every. Single. Time. Best to not even start it.

    Cos as the old sayings goes… what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. 🙂

    Unsolicited advice from old Pearl

  22. I was going to comment that I’m sure you were thoughtful enough to include the “gift receipt”, but I supppose she wouldn’t consider it, being that it was from Sean and all…

    For gifts for others I usually try to get DD1 to think she came up with the idea herself BEFORE we leave the house. I convinced her that a BBQ light was such a great idea for a gift for Daddy at X-mas, however did she think of that? She was beaming! We’ll see how long I can keep that one going with her AND DD2 is a whole different story; what do you do when your 20 month old seems to have an understanding of sarcasm already? I mean how can that be good? She’s obviously going to be smarter than the rest of us put together. We’re screwed.

  23. I’m ok with saying “no” a lot when shopping with the kids, just because I’m not made of money. But occasionally I do go ahead and buy whatever it is, especially if it’s a gift for somebody else, EVEN WHEN I think it’s hideous or cheesy. Kids’ perceptions of things are so amazingly different from ours, and sometimes I have to try to stop and remember to try to see things from their unfettered point of view. I still wince occasionally at some of their choices, however.

    I do hope it really is the thought that counts – my 15-year-old just purchased for his first real girlfriend (a black punk-looking “Hello Kitty” shirt and blue hair coloring). She’s a very nice girl with interesting taste.

    My 4-yr-old is still fascinated with the most commonplace items. He’ll sit and study any object from all angles and comment on its general prettiness or cool factor, while I’m wondering what I’m missing that he sees in the thing. I kind of wish I still had his vision. On the other hand, he’s obsessed with making sure his outfits match…no idea where he got THAT from.

  24. No raised eyebrow — I’m beyond that point in life.

    It’s a genuine pleasure to see Sean enjoy life.

    He’s at an age where he can learn that limits matter, and he can learn to enjoy the activity of making choices within those limits, especially when it involves interaction with people he loves.

    Loved the story though.

  25. Oh that is good! I am so going to slip something in someone’s cart! Insert evil cackle.

    I think the Whatever, dude policy is code for I’m trying to keep my sanity. Judgement is so in the eyebrows. Having twins I had judgement galore every where! Didn’t matter if they were good or not someone always had a comment. My fav – make them do a twin thing. Uh, what?? I’m just glad they didn’t give her the finger twin style.
    You gotta live with him so whatever dude you’ll understand when you are older – and have your own spawn. 🙂 I’ve always heard pick your battles so ugly rug is a small thing. If you were truly evil you would have slipped something in childess woman’s basket.

  26. Yes, we have been through this before!!!! One time my youngest daughter put a can of cat food in our shopping cart. We did not own a cat at the time, but she wanted to adopt the stray that had been hanging around our house. I meant to remove the cat food from the cart before checking out, but I forgot, and since she was the one who unloaded the cart, I didn’t notice that I had purchased the cat food until we got home!! Several weeks later that cat appeared on our front porch all beat up and very ill, in too bad of shape to even walk, so my daughter made up a box with a blanket in it for him to lie on and gave him the cat food to eat, which he did. It became apparent that he needed immediate medical attention and so we took him to the vet. $300 later, I made the decision that we were going to have to keep him because we had spent too much money on him to turn him loose again. We have had him for 7 years now. My point to all of this is that my daugher has never let me forget that the can of cat food she put in our cart saved his life!!!!

  27. I don’t think anyone has properly appreciated this rug. You went back to WALMART on CHRISTMAS EVE!! That’s a special brand of mommy-insanity that I can really get behind, with 4 & 2 yr old girls. (That was typed with the usual crow casserole all over my face & fingers, only I’m from MN — so it’s crow hotdish.)

  28. We actaully had the distraction of all distractions, we saw Santa Claus at Wal-Mart, I mentioned it to my 3 year-old in the hopes that I could get a few things out of the cart, the man really could have been Santa, white hair, beard and handle bar mustache! So, then my son wanted to “talk” to Santa, I tried to beg off saying we had already given him the list at the mall when he got his picture taken, he replied “I no want picture, I want talk” So here I am, stalking Santa to the frozen food section with an increasingly lighter cart, all kinds of things going out as my son kept a keen eye out for Santa. We caught up with him and he couldn’t have been nicer. He picked up on the likelyhood that we had a cat, cat food in the cart, and asked my son what his cats name was, to which my proud boy started to rattle off the names of the cats that he can remember, we feed at least 7 cats that we know of, maybe a few more (live on a small farm), and I think Santa was actually happy to be conversing with my boy as Mrs. Claus continued to shop for their provisions. Anyway, that little run in when a long way in the “good-boy” / “bad-boy” department (something we started a few months before Christmas, not wanting the boy to make the naughty list I thought he might benefit from some coaching), also solidifying my little white lie that Santa is everywhere, remember when we ran into him at Wal-Mart?

    Happy New Year.

  29. I’m going to have to chime in with Pearl on this one. She hit the nail on the head. A lot of times with kids the things you do to make life easier in the short-run make life harder in the long-run. Not a rebuke, just another voice of experience. The great thing about this blogging business is the exchange of ideas/experiences! And you know you’re doing something right if he wants to give as well as receive.

  30. This is exactly why I like to party with you. That’s a mother’s greatest trick. Well, that and bribery.

    (And I give you extra kudos for going back to get the rug, especially on Christmas Eve when everyone and their brother is there to get something that they forgot to get earlier.)

  31. “Thanks for the public rebuke Pearl. It was really edifying.”


    I’m sorry, Antique Mommy. It wasn’t meant as a “rebuke”. I was just giving my opinion and talkin’ with ya. Or at least that’s what I thought I was doing.

    I didn’t mean any harm. I apologize if I caused any.

    Sincerely~ Pearl

  32. The worst is when you forget that you put an item in the cart just to “drive it around”… then you find it when you’re unloading your bags!

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