It seems that ever since I started going to the grocery store with K & O (which was, basically, very soon after they came home from Haiti), there is always a story to tell about each and every trip we make. For some reason it is in the grocery store that we have our most interesting (read between the lines) experiences. Today was no exception. Today, in addition to all the normal mundane stuff that occurs when you bring two three year old boys to the grocery store with you, not just one but two interesting things happened!
Setting the scene-- Huge grocery store. The boys were in the kind of cart where in between the actual food bin part of the cart and the part that you push, there is a small bench that fits two kids. K & O are sitting squeezed together and with me pushing the cart their heads were just below my head. These stories are true stories.
About mid-way through the trip, at the end of one of the middle aisles, I was concentrating on trying to search an upper shelf for a specific thing on my list. I was lost in the task, not really focused on anything except trying to find this thing as quick as possible. My concentration is broken when I hear, "Hey!" Then again, "Hey?!" I look up. About halfway down the aisle is a well dressed middle aged white woman, standing with no cart or basket or anything in her hands. There are several people in between us, but she's looking directly at me saying loudly, "Hey?!!" -- apparently trying to get my attention. She's got everybody else's attention in the aisle, including K & O's. I look at her (my head just above K & O's) with a startled look of 'Are you talking to me?' on my face. She says (loud enough for me to hear, with half a long aisle and several other shoppers separating us), "Are those your kids?" I totally hear her, but do what I always do in these situations... I act like I can't hear her in order to buy myself some time to think quick (remember, in addition to the audience of other shoppers, my most important audience -- K & O -- are right there just inches away from my mouth). She belts it out louder, "Are THOSE your kids?" I nod as proudly and confidently as I can given that I'm totally nervous about what is about to unfold. She starts walking toward me very quickly and aggressively, weaving in and out of people (who are all staring at me and her) as she approaches. I conscientiously lean my body and head in tight with K & O's. As she gets within a few steps of me she suddenly stops. Looks me right in the eye. Point blank says, "Are they YOUR CHILDREN????" I say, "Yes." She says, "I thought I was hearing them call you 'mom'? Are they your kids?" I say, "Yes, they are my kids." She says, "Like, you had them???" I do what I always do in such moments (I'm pretty sure I know exactly what she's asking but I want her to be the one to feel like an idiot, not me, and definitely not K & O), I ask with a look of sincere confusion on my face, "What do you mean?" She says, "YOU had THEM?" I said, "I did not give birth to them, if that's what you mean. I adopted them, they are my kids, they were adopted." She looks at me in total shock. "Oh," she says, "I couldn't figure it out. I kept hearing them call you 'mom' and I just couldn't figure it out." I stand there silently. K & O are looking straight at her. Everyone around us now starts to pretend to be shopping in the aisle again. She says, "I know about bi-racial kids, but I've never seen kids that dark come out of a person as white as you." I smiled as sweet-fake as I possibly could and said, "Oh." She says, "I mean, they are really dark. What do they call that? Pigment? They have very dark pigment. And you're so white. I couldn't figure out how they were your kids." I looked at her and said, "They are my kids." And that was that. We kept on moving (and when I got home and was unpacking the bags I realized that I had forgotten the item I had been looking for when that whole interaction began).
Totally other kind of 'story'... So, we're toward the end of the trip. The boys have been behaving very well, all things considered. I've been very focused on getting out as quickly as possible so I haven't really been watching too closely what they're doing since they're not seeming to cause any problems. We're in the bread and dairy aisle, the widest aisle. It is crowded with people and carts. I sort of anchor our cart toward the middle of the aisle and from there I start quickly gathering each item we need and then placing it in the cart. I'm going back and forth, back and forth. I start to notice some people snickering, some people openly laughing out loud, some people giving each other looks of disgust. I get nervous it is something regarding my boys. A random shopper walks by me and says, "They're twins?" I say, "Yes." He says flatly, "Wow." Another random shopper nearby says cheerily, "I had three boys who almost sent me to the insane asylum, but I'd take three boys of different ages over two twin boys any day!!!" I laugh. She says, "I'm not kidding!" From the cheese section I bend around another customer to try to peer down the aisle to check on K & O. They are sitting on the cart bench, with their bodies turned so that they are face to face. At first I think they are cutely kissing. But no. To my horror I can clearly see that they have their mouths wide open and they are french kissing. People are staring. Some people have even stopped dead in their tracks to stare. I run over to them and start pushing the cart forward. "Guys! Please! No tongues!!!" That gets a big rise out of them. They start laughing and doing it more. As I move as quickly as possible through the rest of the dairy aisle I periodically look down to see them giggling, french kissing, and licking each other all over their faces. "Guys! Guys! Please!!" I say. "What mommy? We like it!!!" they say in unison. "Who wants a cookie?!!!!!!" I say as I frantically break open a package of fig newtons from our cart.