A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

I might have to change grocery stores after this.

Sometimes I forget to lay down the rules (yet again) before we head into the grocery store. Those are never fun trips.

Yesterday was one of those days.

First it was “No, you can’t have a cookie. We haven’t eaten lunch yet.”

Then it was “No, Mommy doesn’t like to buy the mini-cartons of Goldfish Crackers…it’s not a good deal. But I’ll buy the big carton next time we’re at Costco, m’kay?”

Followed by “Honey, please put that down. We have ‘Spectifyers‘ at home you can play with.”

And “You can’t just disappear like that! It’s dangerous! You have to stay next to me at all times or I will make you ride in the cart like a baby. Is that what you want?”

And “Please. Stop. TOUCHING. Everything. You are going to bruise that fruit, honey!”

And “I don’t care that Daddy buys you those things. There is no way I’m spending $3.99 on a stretchy green lizard that Ike will end up eating before the end of the day.”

And by the time we were in the checkout line and I had to physically prevent him from opening a bag of M&Ms that had been very strategically placed right at his eye level, I thought poor Bucket Head was going to lose. his. shit.

“PLEASE MOMMY! I really want to buy something! How about something yiddle (sic) from those gum ball machines!!! (placed right next to the checkout) PLEASE?”

“Sweetie, you know those things are junk. Let’s save our money for something we really want.”

“But MaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhM, I really WANT a toy.”

“No. Final answer.”

That’s when Francis, the elderly checkout lady who has watched Bucket Head grow from the time he was a fetus, reached into her work apron and pulled out two quarters.

“Here sweetie. Miss Francis has some money you can have. He reminds me of my grandson! That HAIR! Is it okay if I give him some money?”

Fucking great. That is one Bad Ass Ninja Grandma move right there…ask the mom permission AFTER you tell the kid he can have it.

Bucket Head looked at me with these pleading puppy dog eyes like: Please! Don’t ruin it, Mom (like you always do). Let her buy me something!  

I just couldn’t fight it anymore. I was completely spent.

{Giant sigh of defeat and shoulder slump} “Sure, Francis. That’s awfully sweet of you.”

So we walked over to the wall of gum ball machines, Bucket Head with a renewed bounce in his step and a sparkle in his eyes.

He picked the “Feelin’ Ducky” machine. Okay, that’s cool. At least it’s not one of those “I hope you know the Heimlich, lady” pharynx-sized gobstoppers.

“I want a green gyow-in-the-dart Ninja duttie!” (sic)

“Well honey, you don’t get to pick. You just get what you get and don’t pitch a fit, right?”

“Right! Get whatcha get, don’t pitch a fit. Got it.”

This, dear reader, is what we call foreshadowing.

Oh, wait for it.

Of course he wanted to do it himself.


In went the money. Crank went the handle.

Oh boy, oh boy, oh BOY!


Francis, Jimmy the bag boy, Bucket Head, and I were all teeming with excitement, practically holding our collective breath…

Bucket Head took one look and quickly handed me the impenetrable plastic ball of doom.

What? What’s this?

A sticker?

Wait! That’s not a duckie! That’s a sticker of a duckie. A fifty cent ducky sticker. A MOTHER FUCKING DUCKY STICKER.

Uh oh.

Instinctively, my body tensed up. I knew what was coming next. It would be loud, and embarrassing. My ears don’t like noises like that. Especially in public.

The tears. The wailing. The gnashing of teeth. It would be a doozy.

I couldn’t blame him. Holy bait and switch, Batman! We were mentally prepared for it to not be the green glow-in-the-dark ninja rubber duckie. We could have handled that. We were NOT expecting a sticker.

Francis, fully accepting her role in Bucket Head’s meltdown, quickly reached into her apron and pulled out two more quarters. “It’s okay honey. Let’s try again!”

Oh sweet Jesus. No more. I can’t take it.

I glanced over at Jimmy, the teenaged bag boy. He looked scared, bless his heart. I feel ya, dawg.

“Maybe Miss Francis will have better luck…” She inserted the quarters. Turned the crank. We all held our breath, and BOOM…

Another. Motherfucking. Sticker.

But worse.

A glittery “girl” sticker…with flowers.

Jesus H. Christ on a cracker. Why doesn’t this gum ball machine just go for it and dole out cat turds?

Now we had two duckie stickers, zero rubber duckies, and one sobbing child.

Thanks, Francis, you dirty whore.

(No, I didn’t. But I was THINKIN’ it.)

Other patrons were turning to look. What is that God-awful noise? Is a child being kidnapped? Is that woman beating her child?

Nothing to see here, people.

I swooped him up and carried him toward the door, motioning with my head to the bag boy to grab the cart and follow me out to the car.

On the way past the customer service desk, still holding my wailing child, I hissed at the manager “Nice job on the gum ball machines. Really helps to end my shopping trip on a good note.” (Asshole.)

And my husband is mystified why I never seem to enjoy grocery shopping with the kids.

This is why, honey. This. is. why.

Oh look, it’s wine o’clock.



Addendum: due to popular request, I’ve set up a way for all the well-meaning grannies in the hizzy to just go ahead and give Bucket Head some money. Whether or not I spend it on gum ball machines is none of your business.

Linking this to Yeah Write (formerly known as Love Links)…first time there! Hi guys!

Addendum #2:

Please don’t comment until you’ve read my new house rules for commenting.

Also, huge heartfelt thanks to Erica and the entire Yeah Write community for the incredible support and fabulous awards!



  1. Stacy @bklynstacy

    This was an absolute PERFECT way to start a cranky day. I fucking hate vending machines. They are the bane of my existence and my 8-year-old son’s idea of Pure Happiness. Until he gets a piece of shit, yo. Your son’s face? Impossibly cute. But only because I wasn’t there to see what came after…. Solidarity, sister!

    • The Bearded Iris

      Ha! Solidarity, sister! Thank you for your support. 🙂

      • Kristen Kotrlik

        I like Stacy.

        Fuck vending machines, and also, fuck those impulse items at the registers. I will not buy another bag of fucking m&ms. Fuck that fucking shit.

  2. Naps Happen

    I would be dejected (and feel inferior – well, I do anyway) if you if you didn’t have a good grocery store story for me – this one does not disappoint! I’m about to head to the store now (gulp).

    • The Bearded Iris

      Thanks girl. Don’t forget to lay down the rules BEFORE you go in!

      • Naps Happen

        We survived, but it didn’t occur to me to lay down the rule “don’t leave your stuffed puppy on the salad dressing shelf.”

  3. Lady Estrogen

    Oh my crap on a cracker!
    That’s awesomely horrific.
    I hope grannie whore has learned her lesson.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Thanks, Lady E. ME TOO! I don’t want to have to sock that slut in the dentures with my brass knuckles.

  4. El


  5. megryansmom

    WTF! It looks like all those balls have stickers in them. Where can I mail 2 quarters so you can try again honey? I’m a grandma you know.

    • The Bearded Iris

      WHAT? You’re a grandma? Damn, the way you proudly displayed your beaver all over the Internet last December made me think you were much younger. 😉 Yes, sadly we didn’t notice the sticker thing until it was too late. Don’t worry, his Grandma is visiting this weekend…she’ll hook him UP!

  6. Julie

    Oh hell no. Grocery time is ME time. I have two hours every Friday where I get to roam the aisles and let my mind wander with no interruptions from small, needy people. (Unless there’s a dwarf who wants help with something from the top shelf. In which case I smile and hail a stockboy with a ladder, because I can’t reach the top shelf EITHER.)

    I am actually on my way to the grocery store in an hour. I will flip off the gumball machines in your honor on my way out.

    • The Bearded Iris

      I am liking your husband more and more. And thanks for the gum ball flip off! I can always count on you to have my back.

  7. Victoria

    *wipes tears from eyes* and THAT is why I get my groceries delivered.

    • The Bearded Iris

      What? You can do that? We did that when I was pregnant for the first time in California, but that was a lifetime ago…didn’t realize that service still existed.

  8. Jessica

    I wish I could say I’m vowing to never take my yet to be born son to the grocery store…but as we all know that’s impossible, I’ll brace myself for the duckie.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Oh just you wait honey. My advice? Just stop after one. And never let your husband take him to the store. The menfolk…they ruin it for the rest of us with their impulse buys and affinity for chips.

      • Zori

        My husband has been banned from the grocery store by me.Every single time I give in,he comes home with bags of junk that he didn’t even see the price on,and our son comes home with toys or gumball machine crap.He’s just not allowed!

        • The Bearded Iris

          Brilliant. The grocery store for my husband is like the proverbial kid in the candy store.

  9. Melissa

    LMFAO. This is precisely why I rush home after work so I can steal a half hour or so to run into the store to pick up groceries before I pick the kiddos up from after-school daycare. 😛 Also, when bringing them to the store is unavoidable, it is usually just for a few necessities I forgot to pick up – in which case I explicitly state before we enter the store what’s on the list. (“Okay, we are here for watermelon, kidney beans and mustard – THAT’S IT. Now help me find them. WATERMELON, KIDNEY BEANS, MUSTARD.”) And I am not beyond using the tactic of saying “Every time you ask for something again after I’ve already told you ‘No’, you get one less Christmas present.” (or if it’s spring/summer, one less birthday present.) 😛 I’ve found that to be the most effective threat for my kiddos. 😉

    • The Bearded Iris

      Oooh, the “one less present” tactic. Me likee.

    • Crista

      “One less present” is my new mantra. Your work here is done.

  10. Bucket Head's Grandma

    H’mmmmmmm do ‘ya know that big bucket of quarters that we keep for the parking meters in the summer? I may have to bring it and find Bucket Head a real place to try for a toy! I wonder where I can find a GREEN GLOW-IN-THE-DARK NINJA DUCKIE this afternoon??!!

    • Kristen Kotrlik

      Too late Grandma…. his favorite stranger already found it for him!

      BOO YAH! That’s right.

      • Kate

        And that’s why Kristen is DA BOMB!

        That and she let my son use her Eye Clops to look at her leg hair on her television because it made him laugh.

  11. Helen

    Its minus a gazillion degrees here and my son has to wear snow pants and boots or he will freeze his patootie off. I was only going to get the prescription and a few other things. I got there right when it opened. Place was dead except for one lady in front of me who had a million prescriptions to pick up. Im waiting patiently when my son throws a fit about getting his snow pants and boots off. He wants to be a hockey player and skate around the store in his socks. So meltdown in play and then a “helpful” lady has to put her two cents in. “I have one of those too – I find its usually easier on me if I take the snowpants off”. So I find myself trying to explain that I really just want to get my stuff and go and don’t want to spend a half hour at the door putting all this stuff back on because he will be screaming about it there too. But she cant hear me over the horrible noise coming from my sons mouth. I hate those mums. I just want to say “Good for you that you have one too. I think every mother who has a child has had one of “those”. Just leave me to deal with it. I would rather “that look” then your two fucking cents. Sigh!!!! I hate grocery shopping

    • The Bearded Iris

      OMG. Those “helpful mums” need to just back the F off. It’s not helpful. And thank you for the snowpants story; you just reminded me why we moved to HOTlanta.

  12. Julie the Wife

    Oh dear God, this is HI-larious. WTF with the stickers? Seriously, are they TRYING to start a shooting? I had an awkward post with oversharing today, so I reposted your post on my wall and all of my readers are sighing with relief. Thanks!

    • The Bearded Iris

      Oh I love a good oversharing! It makes me feel so normal.

  13. Allison @ Motherhood, WTF?

    Ugh. I feel ya. My favorite part of this post is the image of you snapping pictures of it all as it unfolds. There’s no bigger insult to my kids than me taking photos of them when they’re PISSED. As for Frances giving your kid money before asking permission? It would take all my restraint not to tackle her.

    Yesterday a grandma gave my 2-year-old a mini 3 Musketeers bar without asking me first. Just reached into her purse and handed it over. WTF? Back when they had young kids did they condition their children to take candy from strangers? What if my kid had an allergy or something? Incredibly, instead of killing the bitch I smiled and said thank you.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Now what kind of a blogger would I be if I didn’t have my camera at the ready for such a situation?! I did have the decency to stop snapping once he burst into tears…I mean, I don’t want to TOTALLY scar the kid for life.

      That is unbelievable that a stranger would give your 2 year old candy like that! Maybe we should stop being so polite to these old biddies and teach them some life lessons!

  14. Mel

    Oh, Francis, you stealthy, kindly old bat! Step AWAY Francis, before one of us gets hurt!

    • The Bearded Iris

      WORD. Francis might need a 12 step group…”Boundary-less Grannies Anonymous.”

  15. muffintopmommy

    GIRLFRIEND!!!!!!!!!!!!! I hope you did a shot when you got home—Franzia ain’t gonna cut it after a trip like that. I so feel your pain–I was just at the em effing store yesterday where 3 year old had a run in with some Handy Manny candy. Thanks for making me pee my pants though….it was totally worth it! It’s always funnier when it ain’t your kid!

    • The Bearded Iris

      Ha – so true. You’re welcome Franzia sister.

  16. Selena

    OH MY GOD. I absolutely REFUSE to let Lila EVER do those goddamned machines ever again. Because she has NEVER EVER EVER not absolutely HATED whatever she got. And I don’t know when they started pulling this “lets show cool stuff and then pack the machine with everything BUT the stuff we show” bullshit, but it makes me homocidal. The final straw for me was when she really wanted some bullshit tiny sparkly horse thing and she put the quarters in and got….a cheap plastice orange SPIDER RING… Not even vaguely related.

    Next time you go to the grocery store, bring a little post it to stick on the machine warning parents that the bullshit stickers may cause utter disappointment.

    • The Bearded Iris

      That is such a great idea. I really need to do my civic duty and warn other parents. Those machines really are utter bullshit. Thanks for having my back!

  17. Clare @ it's all good in the motherhood

    Abso-friggin’-hilarious! LOVE IT! My kids are always suckers for the claw machine, which usually run a whole dollar to play. I always refuse, and I have even lectured them on the riskiness of gambling. Ahem. (Yes, the claw machine is gambling!) Anyway, a few years ago, my oldest son brought $2.00 of his own hard-earned money to the grocery store one week to “play the slots”, aka “The Claw Machine”. I tried to talk him out of it, but he was DETERMINED to win the cheap-ass, Made In China, probably flammable Super Mario stuffed toy. Did he win? Absolutely not. Were there tears? Of course. Were some of them mine? Probably. Did I consider reaching my hand up into the claw machine just to grab something out? Of course. Was a lesson learned? Hopefully.
    I heard a rumor from my good buddy, Muffintopmommy, that you are going to EBWW. Me too! Can’t wait to meet you! 🙂

    • The Bearded Iris

      My oldest (12 y.o.) brings his own money too and it infuriates me. “Why don’t you just throw those quarters down the gutter? Same thing.” At least I can count on him to NOT throw a fit when he gets something crappy.

      YES! I am going to EBWW (Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop)! Yay, another “Ermie”! Can’t wait to meet you too Clare.

  18. Gwen

    Amen Sister!: “And never let your husband take him to the store. The menfolk…they ruin it for the rest of us with their impulse buys and affinity for chips.”

    • muffintopmommy

      Right you are, woman! When hub’s takes my boys to the store, it’s a guaranteed $200 trip complete with all things craptastic!

  19. Skinny Jean Colleen

    Thanks for the laugh. I feel your pain. I watched in horror at my friend’s son pitch a fit over candy with my dear sweet baby in the backpack. Well, 10 years and 1,000 meltdowns later, I now understand.
    I would have taken a baseball bat to the vending machine screaming “My son just wants a ducky!”, and worried about the cops later.
    My mom was genius, she gave us $5 to buy our cereal and fruit and cookies we wanted. Anything left over we had to give back but it let us ‘buy’ stuff, kept us busy in the cereal isle, and kept us from having meltdowns. Works well for my kids too but our little local grocery store doesn’t even have the evil vending machines.
    And wine o’clock should begin right after the ice cream is put away. . .the pasta will keep.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Wow, your Mom IS a genius. That is such a great way to teach them so many skills! Sadly, back then, our moms could just leave us in the cereal aisle while they finished the rest of the shopping without worrying about seeing our faces on the milk carton the next day. Sick.


  20. Heather

    Uggh. I feel your pain, sista’. Our downfall right now are those fucking “claw” machines. How many times can you explain the “I could go BUY you a shitty-ass-made-in-China stuffed bear for 2 bucks or I can spend $75 effing dollars on trying to win THIS one?!?! Oh, little miss, I think NOT.” That flies until some little brat walks up, puts the quarter in and drops a brand new fucking iPod down the shoot. Last time we actually did win two crappy stuffed animals in one shot (after $14.00 went into that money pit) but one was a super creepy clown that scares the ba-jesus out of all of us. We prop up it up in the backseat of Daddy’s car so it can greet him in the dark when he leaves work… Fun for the WHOLE FAMILY!!

    • The Bearded Iris

      You are my kind of people, Heather. LMAO!

  21. Jellyhead

    Should I feel better or worse that I have experienced much the same thing, except with my 40 year old husband instead of sweet, innocent Bucket Head?

    • The Bearded Iris

      Oh Jelly – that is rich! Do they have gum ball machines at REI?

  22. Amy

    Oh dear Lord how I HATE those machines. I have twins who have radar for those damn things. Inevitably, Grandma will give each of them 2 quarters. My daughter will promptly go to the machine that only costs 25 cents so she can get 2 pieces of crap, while my son chooses the 50 cent machine and then proceeds to throw a holy fit because he only got one toy while his sister got two and “THAT’S NOT FAIR!” – even though the economics of his choices have been fully explained prior to picking his machine. I feel your pain!

    • The Bearded Iris

      WOW – your daughter is so smart!! I love this story (sorry for your pain though) because it so perfectly demonstrates the difference between siblings and boys/girls and moms/grandmas.

      Remember in Little House on the Prairie when the kids played with corn cobs? I kinda wish I lived back then.

  23. Whateverkaty

    Muhahaha. Er, sorry about that, I lost control for a minute. Does it make you feel better that with three teenagers the problem with grocery shopping is buying enough food to last longer than 12 hours – even when the cart is overflowing? No? Well then, I got nuthin’ for ya. It gets better maybe?


    • The Bearded Iris

      Dude. Are you that lady who likes telling episiotomy stories to the preggers in the waiting room? I will take you down BITCH. 😉

      • Michelle

        BAHAHAHA! Holy shitballs that reply is hilarious, Iris!

  24. Jen Has A Pen

    Oh Iris. My heart is breaking for that poor child. Francis is an idiot. I think you need a complaint line to call or something!

    • The Bearded Iris

      I know it. Sweet little Bucket Head! Poor thing is probably scarred for life. Thanks Francis.

  25. Emily

    What a bitch.

    I am so thankful that Trader Joe’s doesn’t have that crap in their stores. I quit shopping at “mainstream grocery stores” with the hopes of avoiding these types of situations.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Our nearest TJs is 35 minutes away, DAMN IT! I love that place. I never made the connection before, but you are so right! They totally don’t have gum ball machines or toys scattered at eye level throughout the store. Shit. I might have to start making that drive every week.

  26. Cookie's Mom

    Oh, so funny. (sorry!) Why is it that the people with their hearts in the right place are so often the ones that mess us up!

    • The Bearded Iris

      Isn’t that the truth! Poor Francis. I know she meant well (that dirty whore). People need to back the F away from a mom who is laying down the law though. She heard me say “no” to the boy. I had a reason for saying no. I KNEW those machines would only lead to heartbreak. But noooooooooo. 😉

      • Cookie's Mom

        Ya, true. I think Francis may have learned a lesson courtesy of your son tht day! Silver lining? 😀

  27. By Word of Mouth Musings

    and the most evil machine of all … The Claw.
    Don’t get me started ….

    • The Bearded Iris

      WORD! My kids know how Mama feels about The Claw. They don’t even ask anymore.

  28. Allysgrandma

    I confess, I am Francis, the elderly checker. I love her. She was trying to love that sweet child of yours.

    In fact yesterday a woman came into the shop to get a patch sewn on her little boy’s judo thing. Her little 3 year old daughter started throwing a fit about something….I looked around wildly for something to entertain her, but alas, it is an alteration store…..there was NOTHING….. She wanted the pins and I was about ready to give them to her stuck in that cute little heart shaped pin cushion…….Yes I am Francis……sorry…..

    PS DH got to shop alone so he never had to endure any of that stuff. I think you should get up Saturday morning early and go shopping ALONE!

    • The Bearded Iris

      That is great advice, “Francis.” 🙂 I might have to try that.

  29. Bernie Bickers

    Could be worse, he could be asking to buy balloons from that machine in the Men’s Room…

    • The Bearded Iris

      WHAT? There are balloons in the Men’s Room?! Totally not fair. Oh wait, are they the long slippery ones? Someone gave me a balloon animal made out of one of those once. (Married him.)

  30. Salena

    LOL love this! I so wish I could have been there so that me and my kids could not be THAT FAMILY at least one trip!! Hilarious.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Oh snap. We totally were THAT FAMILY, and usually are. Perhaps a selling point for this neighborhood? Realtors should put that on their brochures: “Move here! The Beards will make your family look normal!” LOL!

      • Meili

        No, Iris, the Brady’s already have that title down in our little cul de sac of chaos. You stay in Atlanta where you can wear the crown of crazy for your hood, ‘k?

  31. Rachel Fruitloop

    We get this with the individually packaged Lego minifigures. No matter how well he feels the package, he doesn’t get the one he was hoping for! Cue total meltdown. I didn’t realize the extent of his Lego addiction when I married him! 😉

    • The Bearded Iris

      OMG. Hilarious!

      • Kristen K

        You don’t have the codes for them on your cell phone??? You mean, you don’t stand in the aisle looking for the raised dots so that you don’t end up with another FUCKING BRITISH SOLDIER??? (I’m willing to trade if you’re interested… )

  32. Cha

    Oh, sweet Jesus! LMFAO! Poor little Bucket Head (and Mama)

    • The Bearded Iris

      Thank you! Yes, “poor Mama” is right! Kids are resilient. It’s the traumatized moms who have to drown the memories in cheap wine and guacamole.

  33. Karen

    OMG. Just found your blog. And this post.

    Thank you for not posting the same old crap and using actual FOUL LANGUAGE that certainly floats around in my head constantly and occasionally escapes my mouth.

    Welcome me to the fold, sisters.

    • Kristen K

      Oh Karen,
      You’ll fit in juuuuuuuust fine!!!

    • The Bearded Iris

      I hope you know that by “fold,” we mean labia, also known as “flippy flappy.” And yes, you are so welcome here honey. Get on the SMUT BUS with us, Bitch. You’ll be receiving your membership card, welcome packet, and Old El Paso coupons for broken motherfucking taco shells shortly.

      • Karen


        Is there a handshake? A secret password? An oath?
        (clapping hands gleefully)

        • Kristen K

          We prefer not to touch each other’s hands….. nor do we make eye contact.

          But we will likely have a drunken make out once in a while…. Damn Franzia induced Lesbianism.

  34. Ninja Mom

    Cat turds!!!! Yes, why don’t they. And why don’t they change them from gumball machines to Lessons in Let Downs: Fitty-cent?

    I LURVE this story. Because it makes me feel hatefully evil toward what should be a simply pleasure. Thanks for ruining EVERYTHING gumball fuckers.

    I want to share a post about our gumball machine experience, but I don’t want to be “that” blogger. It was fraught. Fraught!

    • The Bearded Iris

      God bless you, my child. I effing despise “that” blogger. (But go ahead and email me that story, m’kay?) Or better yet, write your OWN post and link to me. I’ll mail you an autographed cat turd sculpture for your trouble. 😉

  35. Laura

    Gosh that reminds me of the time we paid 75cents not twice but 3 times and our sticker was even smaller than bucketheads! So frustrating!

  36. Snappy the Turtle Tamer

    Where the hell are the duckies? And I think I would have slapped the checkout lady for handing my kid money.

  37. Michele

    Every. D@mn. Time. Yep. I do not EVER take them with, ever. Ever ever ever ever ever ever…. aw hells no. No.

  38. JD @ Honest Mom

    I hate old ladies at the grocery store. Without fail, while I am trying to wrangle my impossible 3yo, who is tantruming because I won’t buy her a Dora book she spied in aisle 7, an old lady:

    1) tries to give my kid candy (WTF?)
    2) tells me to enjoy these days because they fly by (Seriously? Do you SEE how UNenjoyable my life is right now?)
    3) shoots me dirty looks because I am obviously the worst mother in the world and can’t control my kid (Which means obviously SHE has dementia and doesn’t remember how little kids can be non-listening, irrational monsters)

    Nowadays, I pony up the delivery fee bucks to get Peapod grocery delivery. Worth. Every. Penny.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Oh I HATE when people give me the “enjoy every minute…it will be over before you know it” routine. I’m always like “promise?”

  39. Teresa

    Loved, loved, loved the entry with ONE exception – calling the bag boy “mentally challenged” – doesn’t matter if he is or isn’t – still hurtful to read. My oldest son is severely disabled and incapable of AT LEAST being a bag boy at a grocery store. Every time I see these individuals at grocery stores – I think – I wish Danny was well enough to have your job, or, a greeter at Wal-Mart, or, a ticket taker at the movie theater – anything other than just sitting in a chair, silent, almost blind, watching the world go by. I’m sure this bag boy’s Mom is proud of him. Sorry. Obviously hit a nerve. Actually. Not Sorry – you wouldn’t apologize! Hit a FUCKIN’ nerve! Ha!

    • The Bearded Iris

      Oh, man, Teresa – thank you SO MUCH. What an incredible comment. I truly appreciate your willingness to educate me and help others to be more aware of this issue as well. I actually struggled with whether or not to keep that phrase; and in the end I decided that it might help explain why Jimmy looked so scared about the freaking-out 4 year old. But you’re right, it didn’t matter, and doesn’t matter. I will delete it. I definitely didn’t intend it as hurtful. But I can see how it could be just that, particularly to a mom in your shoes. I go out of my way to call the bag boys/girls by their first names and smile and thank them for their work. Please forgive my insensitivity! (Or should I say, please FUCKING forgive me!) Thank you for being here and being such a loving mother.

      • Teresa

        Oh, I didn’t mean to edit you, but if you insist ;-). The reason I even found your blog is because a friend shared your Speech Pathology entry – which, I, in turn, forwarded to 3 other Speech Pathologist friends (I’m not a S.L.P. by trade, I just know a lot of them). So far, LOTS OF PRAISE AND GREAT REVIEWS!

        • The Bearded Iris

          It’s okay! You’re not editing me – you are helping me to be a better writer. Every little bit helps. I appreciate it. 🙂

  40. Meili

    Hmmm…. Iris & all… I have SO MANY grocery store stories that I could regale you with from the horrors of the last dozen years of motherhood, but let’s bullet point it, shall we?
    – All 5 of us in the store and girls are begging to do the claw and Daddy, in his infinite wisdom says, “Oh, girls, let me show you what a total fraud this is” and proceeds to accidentally win ONE Care Bear. 50 cents + 3 girls + ONE Care Bear = SERIOUS DRAMATICS AND CHILDHOOD TRAUMA.
    – There was the time the cops got called on me for abusing my ADHD/PDD kid in the store because she was laying on the floor screaming, and hey, let’s face it… most people don’t “get it” when a kid does that. Surely her mother is harming her in some way??? (Not that I wouldn’t have been subject to the most extreme penalties of law if they could have read my mind while Spazzy Girl was hollering that I was killing her or when I was attempting to calmly explain my kid’s diagnosis to the 2 patrol officers who followed my ass home).
    – And one of my all time favorites: after being warned at least 900 times not to hang on the cart, 2 year old pulls the entire frigging thing, complete with $200 worth of groceries, over on herself. And then, she has the gall to stand up in the midst of the produce & frozen food carnage and say, “It’s okay, Momma! I’m not hurt!” Well, you’re gonna be now, little missy!!!!
    So, if you’re at my house and I’m offering you canned beans, tuna, & peanut butter from the very back of the pantry for appetizers, its probably not because we’re broke. Its because I’m afraid for my sanity if I’m made to go to the store with children again. Just thinking about it makes me wanna go hide in my bed with the covers over my head. Where’s that wine, dammit????

    • The Bearded Iris

      Oh bless you for saying this because after my husband read my post today he proceeded to inform me of all the times that Francis has offered to give Bucket Head money and my husband always just says “No thank you,” end of story. (WHAT? Francis has a sickness, clearly.) OH REALLY? It’s THAT simple, eh? Just say no? OMG, I never would have thought of that! Then he told me that the reason I hate shopping with the kids is because I anticipate that it is going to suck. If I just went there expecting to have fun, like he does, it WOULD be fun.

      OMG. And why am I not a lesbian?

      Yes, where IS that wine, dammit?

      • Meili

        This is precisely how I feel when my beloved spouse says things like, “Why do you add stress to your life by volunteering for all these silly things? Why can’t you just tell them to ask someone else?” *sigh* DO YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE MARRIED TO, BUB????? He has also told me a number of times that my feelings about various outings with the children are a self-fufilling prophecy… in other words, I get the worst because I expect the worst. Thank you very little, darling.

        • The Bearded Iris

          Um, is it possible that we are sister wives?

  41. Carrie

    Oh, my God!! That face is friggin priceless!!

    I LOVE THIS!! hahaha!!!

    • The Bearded Iris

      Dammit, if only I had known his sad little face was going to be such a hit, I could have inserted a Paypal link so people could donate $0.50 for Bucket Head to try that damn machine again! (Totally kidding. Kinda.)

      • Meili

        I wanna find the GD ninja duck for the kid. And I’m not usually such a sucker.

  42. Jenna

    I never have quarters. Ever. Even when i have quarters, i never have quarters. Between those fricken plastic crap machines and the 30 second “rides” they have at the mall, those companies prey on mommy’s one weakness: not to look like Mommy Dearest in public. Seriously, my kids used to climb all over those rides perfectly happy until one day one of THOSE moms actually paid for a ride. My kid looked at me like “WTF?! They move?! You’ve been holding out on me woman!” So, no quarters. If i had run into a “Francis” I would have taken the 50cents, put it in my pocket, and said “thank you so much for contributing to our college fund.” ha!
    Poor buckethead, and damn you Kristen K for finding a ninja ducky-damn enabler 😉

    • Kristen K

      You may not have quarters, but I bet you’ve got a shitload of singles from “work” last night……

      Don’t you talk shit about me. I’m more than happy to buy for my friend’s kids….

      Now, I’m off to find a pink striped kitty for a certain kid I know…

  43. Mads

    “Thanks, Francis, you dirty whore.” I wish I could have seen the death glare that came with that internal thought. At least, I’m hoping there was a death glare. Sometimes I wish I was a fly on the wall in your life. Hilarious, yet again.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Thanks Mads. Poor Francis, I know she meant well…just wish she would not have undermined my parenting like that. Where is that “no muscle” when I need it? (Worn out! That’s where!)

  44. Alexis

    MWWWAAHAHAHAHA! My Duckies of Discord machines have been placed throughout the land, merely a small part of my evil plan which is far too intricate for a pleeb like you to understand. However when the endgame finally comes you’ll look back at the Duckie of Discord and wonder why you didn’t see it coming.

    Hope you enjoy your….stickers. MWWWAAHAHAHAHAH!

    • The Bearded Iris

      You are too funny, Alexis. We should make a sign that says Duckies of Discord and tape it to the front so other kids don’t have to deal with the same heartbreak!

  45. Andrea @ The Penny-Roach's

    First of all, where do people get the idea that it’s okay to offer some stranger’s kid money or food?
    Second of all, how do they not understand when to STOP?

    • The Bearded Iris

      Preach it, sistah. Pretty frustrating all the way around.

  46. Lance

    I don’t think you should change grocery stores. No matter many baseball caps you pull down over your eyes, large coats you wear to cover up, or haircuts you get to change your looks, they will know you.

    I take pride in being that dude with the 3 crazy daughters that walks into Kroger. I like the look of fear and loathing the people give me. It’s a badge of honor.

    seriously, your son is adorable.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Aw, thanks! I agree…he’s a keeper.

      It is kinda fun to give the other shoppers something to talk about, isn’t it? Thanks for stopping by!

  47. Mommy2¢

    Holy hell, I didn’t think I’d ever get down here to comment Ms. Popular-Pants!

    Our grocery store has a stooopid purple horse ride in the right side entrance, but doesn’t have one in the left side entrance. I will purposely use the left side entrance nearly every damn time when the kids are with me; and when the kids ask where the horsey ride is (cuz they always do), I tell them he died.

    • The Bearded Iris

      “Ms. Popular-Pants!” From your keyboard to God’s eyes, honey. This is about 10 times my usual number of comments, but clearly grocery store vending machine drama is a universal theme that is striking a chord. (Note to self…write more Tales from the Vending Machines!)

      Dead stooopid purple horsies are the best kind. Thanks for stopping by!

  48. Jennifer

    I might have to change my underwear after this.

    That is so wrong on so many levels. There’s a special place in hell for that woman.

    Darn it, you could’ve bought him a real freakin’ duck with that much change. Think of the duck poop you could be writing about!

    • The Bearded Iris

      Oooooh, duck poop. You know me all too well, sister.

  49. Kate F.

    Oh. My. Goodness.

    So relate.
    (Seriously, it is really hard to type when you are laughing as hard as I am at this post!)

    • The Bearded Iris

      Thanks Kate! Nice to hear, especially the “so relate” part. 🙂

  50. Mama and the City

    So funny. Vending machines are so out of my reach, if I could I boycott them. #robbers

    • The Bearded Iris

      Thank you! Damn vending machines! {Exasperated sigh}

  51. Eric Storch

    My wife and I are laughing so hard right now. oh my god, I think I pee’d myself a little. That face! I’ve seen it so many times on my own Bucket Head.

    Well done! Linking up from Yeah Write.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Yay! Parents of Sad Bucket Head Faces unite!

  52. Kim Pugliano

    FUCKING HILARIOUS. It just kept getting better!!!!

  53. Shannon from 'mynewfavoriteday'

    Hilarious…I love that nice granny clerk decided to give the quarters yet again so that the second time around it will most definitely happen…I am going to take her to Vegas.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Bless her heart. I bet she’d be awesome to have with us at the slots!

  54. Leanna

    I hate those machines, and my daughter has been trained that every time we go to the mall that she wants “doggy bones” (hard choke-able) annoying candies! I would avoid the old lady line-up!

    • The Bearded Iris

      Excellent advice! Avoidance and denial are my favorites.

  55. deborah l quinn

    ‘zackly – that’s why I SHOP ALONE. Or I do now that my kids are in school. Used to be I shopped with them strapped into the stroller and that was mostly manageable until they learned to do the vertical slant board strap-push, thus enabling them to thrust the stroller (and all my groceries hanging off a back in the back) forward, sometimes over frontwards, or, with the groceries on the back, backwards. Lovely. My mother says once when I was about four, I had a temper tantrum in teh grocery store and she left me screaming in the aisle and went over to the next aisle, studiously examining the canned fruit. I used to say in horror HOW COULD YOU. And then I had kids. Frankly I’m surprised she didn’t leave the damn store without me.

    • The Bearded Iris

      What? You mean to tell me there are other children in this world who tantrum? In grocery stores? 😉

  56. Laura@Catharsis

    Oh, dear Lord, I’m falling off my chair. First, that you put (sic) next to yiddle cracked me up. Then, that you so artfully foreshadowed what was going to happen with the prize (we’ve all been there). Finally, that you called Francis a dirty whore. Priceless.

    • The Bearded Iris

      SCORE! Thank you for getting my humor on such a multi-tiered level Laura! I like the part where you said I “so artfully foreshadowed…” That makes me smile! Thanks!

  57. Jackie

    Your story just kept getting better & better!
    Between Francis the ninja grandma to the two flipping ducky stickers, this was awesome!

  58. Jay- The Dude of the House

    Hilarious story. I felt like I was there with you and Miss Francis. Those machines are the worst. I’m just glad that my 2 year old doesn’t quite “get” them yet. I can still sneak him past without really noticing.

    Looking forward to reading more!

    • The Bearded Iris

      Thanks Jay! Keep sneaking past…once you start, it’s hard to avoid. Like crack. So I hear. {Ahem}

  59. Trudy

    Wow, way to be a bitch to retail employees.

    I also love how you’re “too worn out” to tell your child ‘No’, but not too put out to take photos of your child’s hissy fit in action to throw on your blog.

    PROTIP: The manager has nothing to do with the stocking of the gumball machines. But I’m sure he or she really appreciated you taking the time out of your day to put down your camera long enough to snark off at them for something they couldn’t possibly have any control over.

    • Dahlia

      This. So much.

      You have the gall to blame the sales assistant for an act of kindness that she was not in any way obligated to give, instead of your own poor parenting skills in allowing your obnoxious brat to throw a hissy fit over a fucking gumball machine result, as though he’s somehow entitled to flail around over something so petty. I’m guessing you’re the kind of mom teachers want to stick pins in.

      • Kristen K

        Did you even read the whole thing?? Did you happen to see that Iris DID say no.

        • Trudy

          Did she say no? Her words say otherwise:

          {Giant sigh of defeat and shoulder slump} “Sure, Francis. That’s awfully sweet of you.”

        • ElfGrove

          I read the entire thing. She said no when it was her money. When Francis offered, she said, “Sure, Francis. That’s awfully sweet of you.”

          You’ll have to explain to me in what language I am to translate that as “No.”

          Francis is no psychic to Iris’s day-to-day events or life story, yet this blogger and her cronies are slinging about gendered slurs behind her back for attempting kindness. Yet, I am to treat Francis as the bad guy here?

      • Kristin @ What She Said

        Nice. Hurl personal insults and attack the kid. Very klassy.

        You, Trudy, and ElfGrove need a serious schooling in the concepts of ‘humor’ and ‘hyperbole.’

        You could probably also benefit from a stiff drink.

        • Trudy

          I find it somewhat amusing that she’s not allowed to call the child a brat when they’re behaving like one, but it’s totally OK to call well-meaning elderly cashiers “slut” and “whore”.

          Trust me, my sense of humor is intact; the only time I need a stiff drink is when I’m dealing with people who tell me that I need to grow a sense of humor whenever I dare to disagree with them on the internet.

          • Kristin @ What She Said

            Since I’m unable to reply to you below (because it seems you have literally argued yourself to the end of the line), I’ll just post my response to you here:

            As a childless woman, you’re certainly entitled to your opinion on others’ parenting. It’s your self-righteous judgment that is negligible.

            Have a lovely day, Trudy. Or is it TROLL-y?

    • Mommy2¢

      Wow! Unwad those panties, Trudy. This was not meant to be a serious attack on anyone; nor was Iris actually rude to any retail employee. She was simply telling a story, embellished by her thoughts for a little comic relief. Geesh… Lighten up, trigger!

      oh, and btw… if you go back and re-read, she DID tell her son NO! What was she supposed to do when sweet little Francis undermined her decision by handing her son quarters? At least she made the best of it and gave us a good chuckle out of it! Kudos Iris!

      • Trudy

        And… what was stopping her from telling her son no again? Just wondering, because she sure seemed to have enough energy to take photographs of the meltdown in question and then solicit donations afterwards.

      • ElfGrove

        Oh, I dunno.

        The head jerk of follow-me-servant to the bag boy and hissing at the manager for things outside his control seem pretty damn rude to me. The gendered slur towards Francis for trying to be nice just help my mental image of Mrs. Iris.

        If it was likely to be such an issue? She was supposed to say no. Or you know, punish her child for throwing a fit in public over a small disappointment. Like a responsible parent. Instead of blaming everyone else in the world for her child’s behavior.

        • Leigh Ann

          Have you all never had a child that was 2, 3, or even 4? Sometimes they throw fits. Often. In public.

          Or have you just never heard of tongue in cheek writing? Damn, don’t take everything so literally.

    • Brianne

      Wow, Way to be a bitch to a blogger. What’s the point of reading a blog if you’re going to be a nasty twit? Clearly you don’t get that being a mom is HARD and venting/blogging/being a general nice commenter offering support is why you should comment. Leaving nasty comments after reading something is such a waste of time and energy, unless of course you feel so passionately about gumball machines and grannies you feel the need to be positively EVIL. In which case, roll on with your bad self because you have a WORLD to save!

      Also, I love how you must be the perfect mother/daughter/retail employee/grandma lovin’/blog commenter ever to realize that this is written humorously. And sometimes as parents if we don’t let it out, we die inside. Or maybe you’re not a mom or you don’t have a funny bone. Or maybe you’ve never been so disappointed by a duckie sticker that your heart breaks into a million pieces…Either way I feel terribly sorry for you!

      Or maybe you are secretly Francis….now there’s one to consider….

      • Trudy

        Written humorously? I don’t find anything funny about referring to well-meaning retail employees whores or sluts or referring to a cart attendant as “mentally challenged” in a previous edit.

        Then again, I get the feeling I’m going to be told to “grow a sense of humor”.

        As far as the rest of your comment: welcome to the internet. If you feel that everyone’s going to agree with you all the time, you’re sadly mistaken.

        • Kathleen

          Troll… That’s you, Trudy.
          You don’t like it. Don’t read it. Walk away and every one is happy. But you can’t because you’re a Troll. I don’t care what issues you have that you are projecting onto this lovely woman who shared something potentially embarrassing turning it into a humorous look into a grocery store run with her child. All I know is, your comments make you a TROLL!

      • Dahlia

        I love how whenever the mom is at fault suddenly being a mom is haaaarrrrd. I fail to see what is so hard about saying: “Stop whining because you didn’t get your way.” That’s not hard, that’s called regular day-to-day behaviour reinforcement. You might want to try it sometime, it could keep your little darlings out of prison in the future.

        • Kathleen

          In what universe does a crying child automatically make him become a hardened criminal in the future?

          Your statement is ridiculous.

        • Melissa

          Oh sure, because it’s as simple as saying “Do this” or “Stop doing that” to make a child do exactly what you want them to do. Have you ever had children???

          Her kid was (very understandably) feeling VERY frustrated and VERY disappointed. It takes a great many years to learn how to express negative emotions in a socially acceptable manner. If one is too immature to express themselves in an adult sort of manner, they may resort to outbursts, tantrums, whining, and trolling in blog comments online, as several of you have so deftly demonstrated.

    • Kristen K

      Wow, way to be an asshole.

      You know what the awesome thing about this blog is? YOU get the option of not reading it.
      Do you have kids? Do you know how many “hissy fits” kids have like this? Do you think Iris took a ton of time to take five pictures?
      PROTIP: When you become a mom, you’ll understand. Now… get back to your register…. your break is about over.

      • Trudy

        No, I don’t have kids, but I do have a niece. And when she started to have a meltdown of a similar fashion over the candy in the checkout line, you know what I did? I told her no, and explained why. I didn’t grab the camera and start taking pictures (which I honestly think probably made the situation worse than it was). There was no meltdown, no shrieking, and I didn’t stop by the customer service desk to be snitty towards the manager about a display mandated by corporate.

        Coincidentally, though, my niece does have similar meltdowns when dealing with my mother (her primary caregiver) — mostly because she knows that my mom will give in. So really, ultimately, this is about poor parenting.

        PROTIP: I don’t work retail, but I sure as hell have enough respect for people who do to not use “go back to the register” as an insult. Pretty classy; it’s like the retail equivalent of telling a woman to “go back to the kitchen and make me a sandwich”.

        • Kristin @ What She Said

          I just love it when people who don’t have children judge others’ parenting choices. No, really – I do. It’s almost as much fun as when they give us parenting advice.

          Trudy, honey, it was a HUMOR piece. And she used HYPERBOLE. Meaning she does not, in fact, think Francis to be a whore, did not truly hiss at the manager, and – if I had to guess – the meltdown was not nearly as bad as it was made out to be and the whole debacle was, in fact, rather comical blog fodder – hence the taking of the photos.

          At least, that’s my educated guess. You know – as a mother who’s actually found herself in similar situations with her own child.

          • Trudy

            Great to know that my opinion doesn’t actually matter if I don’t have children of my own. Nevermind the fact that I’ve cared for children in the long-term and virtually raised them; unless they actually popped out of my uterus, my opinion is negligible!

  60. Sarcasm Goddess

    This was so funny! When the old lady pulled out the quarters my jaw dropped (literally, it dropped) and I thought, “oh no she didn’t!” I would have been upset to get a quarter too. Those ducks look bad ass. Stickers? Not so much.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Thanks, girl. I was just as shocked as you. Bless her heart.

  61. ElfGrove

    Oh my. Let me get this straight. I am supposed to sympathize with your entitled little temper tantrum here? Because the only people I see behaving horrifically in this story are you and your child. Maybe if you could stop seeing yourself as the center of the universe for a second, you would note how poorly this entire little diatribe reflects on you.

    1.) You can tell your child “no” all day, but when a key moment comes up that you don’t and it ends badly, everyone but you made the wrong decision? It’s your kid, and if there’s one thing every parent I have ever known has said, sometimes you have to be the “bad guy” to the kids and keep your foot down. Francis doesn’t know your circumstances and isn’t going to be offended if you say no. You were just too worried about looking bad to your kid to be responsible and hold your ground.

    2.) I note that you weren’t too put out to take photos of every inch of the process. So did you decide this was a horrible experience before or after it didn’t go your (child’s) way? Kids react to how their parents act around them, so if Mommy’s taking out a camera to record their tantrum, they’re going to react accordingly with a bigger tantrum than they might have otherwise.

    3.) “Francis, you dirty whore.” a.) Using “whore” as an insult tells me you need some serious education on internalized misogyny. Educate yourself: start by googling “what is slut-shaming”. b.) I don’t understand why you felt justified calling Francis, who was only trying to be kind, names. You CHOSE to allow the gift. It is not her fault that it went poorly.

    4.) Skimming your blog comments, I note that at some point you bothered to call bag boy Jimmy “mentally challenged”. What had that person done to offend you, and why did you feel justified cursing and being derogatory towards people who are in no way responsible for your child or their behavior? Might want to examine that.

    5.) “[M]otioning with my head to the bag boy to grab the cart and follow me out to the car.” Thank goodness you can treat other human beings as your personal servants and they’re willing to just to your slightest command after you and your child have made a scene. Kudos.

    6.) The store (and manager) have zero control or choice over the placement or contents of the vending machines. They’re typically there via a rental-style contract made with corporate. If you have an issue with the vending machines, they usually have stickers with contact information on one side of the machines.

    7.) Taking donations to satiate your child (and yours) wounded sensibilities? SPARE ME.

    But no. Entire thing is totally everyone’s problem but yours.

    • Trudy


      You said it much better than I did.

    • Kristin @ What She Said

      Dude. I have two words for you: ‘Humor’ and ‘Hyperbole.’ Learn them. Love them. Otherwise, don’t read the damn blog. It’s a pretty simple concept, and one that makes a helluva lot more sense than reading and responding to (with a novel-length rant, at that) a blog that’s clearly not your cup of tea.

      • Shannon

        I thought ElfGrove made some fantastic points in hardly what I’d call a novel length response. Iris is more than welcome to tell her story in any manner she might like but people should also be welcome to bring up the issues they find with said post. Why else publish something on the web to share with others?

        I think instead of dismissing other individuals for being “childless” and “having their panties in a wad” we should maybe listen and see what people are taking offense to.

        I’m a huge fan of ‘Humor’ and ‘Hyperbole’ but there certainly are moments of this story that made me cringe, particularly as a former retail manager who honestly had no say over vending machines. You want the readers to understand where Moms are coming from but there seems to be no willingness to understand people who are giving other perspectives as either just readers or former retail workers.

        • Kristin @ What She Said

          In terms of sharing a different perspective, I actually think you make some valid points.

          ElkGrove, Trudy, and Dahlia, I feel, came off as very antagonistic and thus invited antagonistic responses (for better or worse).

          Sometimes it’s not necessarily what you say; it’s how you say it. That seems to be especially true on the Internet.

        • Kathleen

          This isn’t an opinion piece. It’s a story about a visit to a grocery store… It’s HUMOR and some people just don’t seem to get that.
          Kristin is right. Learn what hyperbole is.

    • Stay At Home Babe

      Ahahahahaha!!! This is awesome. The only thing funnier than the post was your response. Thank you so much for sharing your perspective because it capped off an absolutely brilliantly crafted story with a full-on belly laugh. You know what I do when I read something that I find horrifyingly incompatible with my taste? I stop reading it… Next time something disturbs you enough to write such a lengthy complaint, maybe take up an extra hobby. I hear that pottery and landscape painting are nice, relaxing, joyful ways to pass the time. Or meditation, maybe that would be pleasant, and positive to boot! Oh the glorious internet, how it affords such comfortable anonymity to people who want to say mean things under names like ElfGrove. I thought elves were nice, or is that fairies? I’m always forgetting. Where did I put my Tolkien reference material?

    • Kathleen

      This is her blog. She is the center of its universe. She has every right to share her stories as she wants to and you have every right to NOT READ IT.
      You, ma’am, are a Troll as well. Go away.

  62. Kristin @ What She Said

    This is hysterical. I only wish I could write humor like this. And I love “Badass Ninja Grandma Move” and may have to jack it for my own maniacal use.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Hi Kristin! Thank you for the props! Love a gal who appreciates humor and hyperbole right there with me. Really pleased to meet you and look forward to reading more of your stuff!

  63. Jenn@Fox in the City

    Well now, so many trolls so little time . . . and enough on that topic.

    I thought the post was a rather hilarious look at the whole internal monolouge that ran through a mother’s head . . .

    • The Bearded Iris

      Thank you Jenn! That was precisely my intent; glad you and so many other readers were able to understand that and see the humor in the story.

  64. Common Decency

    The way you put things offended people, and they let you know. That does not make them trolls.

    Please respect that not all of your readers on any one post may be familiar with your style of writing.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Fair enough. Thank you for sharing your thoughts in such a succinct, respectful, and intelligent manor. I truly appreciate that.

      • Common Decency

        No problem. It is far easier to attack — and counterattack — on the Internet than it probably should be.

        As a sometime blogger, I don’t think most commenters expect bloggers to apologize or change their minds over something they disagree with — they usually just want to know that you’re listening. You can defuse 90% of critics simply by politely acknowledging whatever problem they point out, even if you stand by what you wrote. Leave it to your readers to determine whether any given criticism is valid.

        • The Bearded Iris

          Yes, the attack is what I find so troubling. Now I know why so many of my blogging friends and peers have “Taken the Pledge” against online bullying. This was my first experience being attacked on this level. I welcome different opinions, but they need to be presented in a respectful way, like yours, in order for me to engage.

          I hear what you are saying that people want to be heard. But I am not obligated to respond to people who call me or my child names. This is MY blog. Thank you for the great conversation. I appreciate your thoughts.

          • Melissa

            Totally agree with you, Iris! Online or in person, when someone attacks my parenting style I try to let it go in one ear and out the other. The majority of the time they are not themselves a parent (and sorry, but NO experience with children can be compared to what it is like to be a parent), and even if they do have kids of their own, they don’t have MY kids OR my circumstances so they are in no place to judge. Also, I frequently find that the people who unduly criticize my own parenting are doing so to compensate for their own parenting shortcomings. And the results speak for themselves – I know I’m not perfect, but I must be doing SOMETHING right because all of my children are happy, healthy, well-adjusted, have plenty of friends, are respectful to their teachers and other adults, kind-hearted, creative, intelligent, and excel at school. 🙂

  65. Leighann

    Grannie no good had it on for you from the word go!
    Next shopping trip she owes you so leave your child with her while you enjoy child free shopping.
    Stealthy bitch.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Now THAT is a brilliant idea. I think my grocery store has miscast dear Francis. Perhaps they need to open up a play area so the moms can shop in peace and Francis can get her baby fix.

  66. Ado

    It’s love at first site you are hilarious. Wish I dropped by sooner it would e gotten a vote from me. (-:

    • The Bearded Iris

      Right back atcha, lady. LOVED your piece on Paterno. Can’t wait to get to know you better.

      • ado

        Well, ditto mama!
        PS: Love the leopard heels up there.

        • The Bearded Iris

          Thanks! Me too! They go with EVERYTHING, but they hurt something fierce. Luckily I’m never dressed for very long when I wear them. 😉

  67. Jennifer

    Holy shit @ElfGrove. Who pissed in your cereal this morning?

    This is a humor blog, humor. Get it?

    Clearly you don’t. If you can’t understand humor, why do you read humor blogs?

    Maybe you need to get a grip. Or, if you can’t say something nice and need to slam someone, why don’t you find other negative people who you can be bitter with?

    Your negative thoughts and comments will only bring greater negativity to your life. Think about it. Because I suspect you are a pretty unhappy person.

  68. Catriana

    I get this is supposed to be a humor entry, and was written with the intentions of being funny and cute. Unfortunately, people have their views on what they feel is amusing, and this was not.

    The fact of the matter is, this article came off very dismissive and enabling, and your comments toward others who don’t exactly share your opinion have only reinforced this. I’m sure if this gets published I’ll also be jumped, and that’s fine. I’ll accept that. But this is a public blog, so understand not everyone who is shown this is going to go “Oh, this was so funny and awesome!”

    The elderly woman was wrong for undermining your authority, but I can certainly see why she could have made the attempt. She was probably trying to be nice, and she was probably trying to get the child to stop complaining because from the tone of this article, you sounded like you couldn’t be bothered and you were more exasperated with him than anything else. I guess I can understand that. Being a mother is hard. But I’ve been around mothers, I’ve seen different levels of parenting, and I have a pretty fair recollection of my childhood. None of his behavior would have been tolerated with my parents, nor would any of my friends with children have tolerated his behavior for long. Especially not in a public area where he’s obviously not only disturbing you, but everyone around you. Mothers like you don’t seem to care about the fact that your child’s tantrums affect everyone, we’re simply supposed to ‘deal’ with it and shut up because he’s your kid. I don’t agree with that mindset and I never will. Parents should be obligated to take responsibility for their child’s behavior in public because they are your child. You made that choice, deal with the difficult and trying consequences.

    Did you look at the pictures you took? Because in one, the vending machine clearly shows many, many stickers along with the ducks. You said to your son “You don’t get to choose” yet the moment it wasn’t something you expected, his, and your behavior became acceptable. It wasn’t acceptable when he was pitching a fit then, and it wasn’t acceptable when you became upset and took it out on the employees as if they have control over what another company sends them for those machines.

    The fact that you took a picture of his little tantrum is enabling. I understand what you were trying to do for your blog, but all it really demonstrated was his behavior was not only perfectly acceptable, but that he’d get even MORE attention if he continued to act a fool. Then you turned around and acted rude and even a little snobbish to others, your behavior isn’t that much better than his, if you think about it.

    I’m not going to sit here and say you’re a bad parent. I don’t know you and it’s not my place to judge as a whole. But this article wasn’t funny, it was sad. It’s sad that this behavior was allowed and encouraged, and that you participated and invalidated your own attempts at trying to teach him to behave properly and responsibly. And while I don’t agree with what the elderly woman did, it’s sad that you and others jokingly laughed and called her a ‘whore’, simply because she was attempting to be kind(and probably defuse a growing tantrum that you didn’t seem to really care about dealing with).

    And no, I don’t have children. I am physically incapable of having a child without it severely damaging my health. However, even if I was perfectly healthy, this is an article I would definitely file under “Ways not to behave as a parent in a public setting”.

    In short: This was not funny, and you were not in the right.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Hi Catriana. Thank you for agreeing with me that Francis undermined my parenting authority.

      I did not take a picture of a tantrum. I took a picture of a disappointed face. I took the picture of the gum ball machines and the two duckie stickers the next day to help illustrate the post.

      This is a highly fictionalized humor piece intended to satirize some of the difficulties parents may face when shopping with children. Ninety nine percent of the parents who commented above got it and were able to relate to it. That says a lot.

      You are certainly entitled to your opinions; we all have different ideas of what is funny. But until you’ve walked in the shoes of a mother who is struggling through the grocery store with a child, it really isn’t your place to judge.

      Thank you for taking the time to read the story and to comment.

      • Catriana

        If I were to take this article and write it from a perspective of an African American female(which I am), with a racist undertone and you were to call me out on it were you Caucasian, your opinion would not be invalid simply because you are not African American. Me throwing out the ‘race card’ would also seem callous and dismissive. Likewise, saying “You’re not a parent so you can’t really judge me” is immaterial. I don’t need to be a parent to understand right from wrong in this situation. Being a parent (just like me being AA)does not entitle you to some sort of special treatment or privilege in society, especially since it is something (most) choose.

        You are right that I cannot judge you on a spectrum beyond that of this circumstance, and I’ve specifically stated that I have not nor will I do so. But I CAN judge this scenario based on what you have written, and I am fully in the right to do so because this is public and this is shared.

        • The Bearded Iris

          Not sure that the race card analogy really fits here, but I appreciate your efforts. I am not trying to be callous or dismissive, but until you grocery shop with a four year old child (which is hard enough by itself) AND have to deal with things like aggressive marketing tactics of child-eye-level toys and junk food throughout the store AND then have strangers offering to give your child money to buy said crap, you simply have no grounds to argue this case.

          Yes, it is public. Yes, it is shared. But also, it is SATIRE. I exaggerated the HELL out of this piece for laughs, and it worked (according to the vast majority of comments above.) Most of the people who come here for entertainment purposes understand that about my writing or figure it out pretty quickly.

          Judge all you want, but please know that your judgement of others is a reflection of YOU, not me.

          I am done here. If you don’t enjoy my writing style, please don’t read my blog. That is all.

  69. One Feisty Mama

    I’ve been in exactly this position before and can’t begin to describe the pent-up angst and stress it creates. Those damn machines should be banned from places like supermarkets. But what I LOVED about this post was your capacity to see the funny side and joke about it. Actually I felt positively inspired by that approach. I need to lighten up at times like that, so thanks for encouraging me to do that. Hell, I might even snap a pic of my kid the next time he tries pouting in public.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Oh Feisty One, you are a delight. Thank you for visiting me here and smellin’ what I’m cookin’.

  70. Kathleen

    I almost peed myself reading this!
    I don’t know what it is about old women giving things to little kids… I had one woman pull a trinket ring (from a gumball machine no less) out of her purse and hand it to my daughter when she was only one year old. First place it went was her mouth. The lady didn’t even look at me and I was obvious with my mouth agape and “WTF” look in my eyes. I wasn’t there. It was all baby and old lady as far as she was concerned. Once the lady walked away, I wrestled the ring out of my daughter’s mouth and found the nearest trash can.

    PS- Way to handle the bad mojo coming your way! And look at all those people who get your post! I’m joining the others in feeling the love for your blog=)

  71. Danielle

    I loved your post. I feel for you too. I have had to take all 3 of mine out and lets just say that isn’t fun. I am so blown away at the comments that just don’t get it or feel the need to tell you everything you may have done wrong. A lot of my writings are a bit exaggerated and “humorous” I have been called a “liar” because of this, they simply didn’t see the writing part of it I guess. Your “bully” virginity is gone, welcome to the blogging world, and I am a new follower because I love your style of writing!!

  72. The Bearded Iris

    Okay, so here’s the deal. This is MY house (blog), right? Right. I am the responsible parent of this house.

    Mama obviously needs to lay down some house rules.

    There will be no name calling. I truly appreciate the overwhelming response of people who enjoyed this post and want to defend me and my writing style, but all this arguing is totally killing my buzz, y’all is not conducive to the kind of environment I strive to create here.

    I don’t like to delete comments that are part of a thread, but starting right now, I will delete any and all comments that are tasteless or below the belt, even if they are in support of this post. I have worked very hard over the past three years to build a community and a blog that I am very proud of, and I will NOT stand idly by and watch a few random people march in here and take a dump on my Oriental rug. Is that clear? I said, IS THAT CLEAR?

    Alrighty then. Let’s all just take a deep breath, use our nice words, and stop hitting each other.

    (And if that doesn’t work…I’ll really give you something to cry about, Missy!)

    • Momof4

      I apologize for my 3-4 posts awaiting your (dis)approval. I wrote those before reading this and you are so right. I apologize for my posts and in no way meant them as disrespectful to you. I felt all “mama bear” while reading those rude replies and me stooping to the same level makes me a moron. Again, I apologize and hope you don’t hold it against me. You are a talented writer and an awesome mom! I fully expect to see that smiling face on the back of a NY Times Bestseller book in the future!!

      • The Bearded Iris

        Oh honey buns, it PAINED me to delete those incredible comments of yours. I so appreciate your support and loyalty. But yes, I’m striving to “clean up the joint” and put an end to all the hostility that has suddenly and oddly shown up here this week. You are a fabulous Mama Bear. I’mma keep you! MUAH!

  73. Roxanne

    Great post. Gosh, reminds me of many well meaning stranger stories. The grocery store is no fun with small children. Evil marketing people sit in their offices orchestrating the placement of items that appeal to miniature monsters with big mouths and the ability to hurl themselves into — anything. It’s a death trap. Whenever I see relaxed families and behaving children and I happen to have my older children with me, I say, “See? See that? You never did that. Why? WHY?” and when I see kids having meltdowns, I say, “That’s why I never took you anywhere.”

  74. Carrie

    A long time ago, a wise old man said to me:

    “It’s none of your business what others think of you.”


    And though it might not be any of your business, I have total love for you and find you furiously hillarious.

    And real. Which is the most important part to me.

    And I have no children. And I’m ok with that.

    And I have to feel just a little bit sorry for anyone who takes life so seriously.

  75. Allison @ Motherhood, WTF?

    Oh, Iris. Welcome to the ugly world of mean comments on the blog. I had to actually shut down the comments on one of my posts because it got so heated and ugly! I’ve also had to ban people from my FB page for offensive remarks. I’ve deleted comments that namecall, are overtly offensive, or are bigoted. Disagreeing with me is one thing, and it’s fine, but really, if people don’t like us, why do they stick around? Clearly, some of these commenters don’t “get” you. That’s fine. I’m not everyone’s cup of whiskey either. But do they really have so much extra time and energy to comment, (in long detail), rebut, and rebut again?

  76. Roxy

    I think your blog is hilarious. If people/readers can’t control themselves & their unpleasant comments maybe they should go elsewhere & read other blogs?! I missed the comments in question here but if it got to this point it sounds pretty bad. Which is sad!
    Keep doing what you do!!

  77. Candy

    Almost peed my pants the first time I read this! Just came back and DAMN…people, it’s humor.

    I have a 9 year old step-son who is an absolute angel (I know, bragging). The first time I saw him cry, I was sitting by his Mom at a baseball game when he got called out at second. I commented that I had never seen him cry before. She was a little shocked since he’s been known to cry/have a tantrum when he doesn’t get his way with her. Just proves that kids act differently with different people. Obviously, he’s with her way more than me & just hasn’t learned how to push my buttons yet!

    He is a “smooth talker” in training. If Mom doesn’t buy it, ask Dad. If Dad doesn’t buy it, ask Mimi. If Mimi doesn’t buy it, ask Step-Mom. If Step-Mom doesn’t buy it, well, it usually doesn’t go past this stage.

    Our vending machine story:
    We’re getting a to-go order at a local restaurant. It’s family place that serves chicken fingers and they have those damn machines, including the worst offender, THE CLAW! I try to explain that it’s a waste of money and the odds of winning are slim. Besides, I don’t have any quarters. Several other children get their parents to pony up and he notices that the machine takes dollar bills. DAMNIT! Boredom sets in & start to feel sorry for the little guy. I cave. We lose. Then, he comes back…”Do you have a $5 bill?” This damn thing takes $1, $5 & $10 bills! Evil, evil vending machine company! And the restaurant owner gets in on the fun by gluing/epoxying a quarter to the floor in front of THE CLAW for all the kids to try to pick up. After explaining to him “several” times that it’s glued to the floor, we have a good laugh watching all of the other kids try then run to their parents and ask for a quarter!

    Keep your chin up, you make a lot people laugh, EVERY freakin’ day!

  78. Deidra

    I have to tell you, I Loved This post! So much that when I finally stopped laughing, I had to forward it to my sister so she can enjoy it too! I love everything you write! I actually spent (too much) time yesterday going back and reading your old posts from last year that I missed! What Laundry!?? 🙂 I seriously enjoyed your Vlog too! Love seeing you “in person” I just hope that from some of the feedback you received, you dont feel like you have to change your style of writing!! Cuz don’t!! I love you just the way you are! Keep up the writing, cuz I’m waiting to read!!

  79. Erica M

    Hilariously, when you first asked me what yeah write defined as a smaller blogger and I said a smaller blogger is someone who doesn’t get 200 comments on a post about ketchup, you said: “I’ve never gotten 200 comments on a post in my life.”

    You’re still welcome at yeah write, even with your 200 comments. Congrats on winning yeah write popular vote and comment karma. You deserved both.

  80. Kate

    I just had a memory pop into my head that reminded me of this scenario (um, sort of). Well, at least grandma-types who overstep boundaries, anyway. About 9-1/2 years ago I was shopping with my son who was an infant. He was strapped into the carriage seat, and I was unloading my items onto the counter. This elderly woman got in line beind us. She was talking to my son. Fine. She told me how cute he was. Thanks. And then… she KISSED him! She effing kissed him on the MOUTH! W.T.F? And I was trapped at the back because I couldn’t wedge myself between the cart and the crap they were hoping I’d decide to buy at the last minute. I was ripped. So, I thought I’d share that with you. Carry on.

  81. naptimewriting

    I will never understand some of the people in this world. Shopping with children is terrible. Judgement from strangers is terrible. “Help” from strangers is terrible. And commenters who want to pick a fight with a blogger’s comedy are terrible.

    I’m the stranger in line, btw, who offers to go get you more wine when your kid grabs effing candy put at effing kid height.

    • Stay At Home Babe

      marry me?

      • Kristen K

        You rock pretty damn hard too…. Drunk Packing??? FUCKING.BRILLIANT.

  82. Sandy@Sinsationally Me

    I love your sarcasm and foul mouth. It’s like your my sister from another mother. Rock on bearded Mama!

    • The Bearded Iris

      Hi Sandy! Thanks for stopping by and getting my schtick. You have a sarcastic foul mouth too eh? Sweet! Looking forward to getting to know you better!

    • Stay At Home Babe

      sister from another mister rhymes better :). and anyone claiming iris as their kin, is kin of mine -xo

      • The Bearded Iris

        Holy shite, our family reunion is gonna be SICK! (I can hardly wait!) PS – I love you so long and hard.

  83. Dixie Vixen

    My mother was appalled at your fucking language. My sister and I told her we didn’t know what her fucking problem is but she needs to get.the.fuck.over.it.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Mom? Is that you?

      Kidding. Who the fuck do you think you are talking to me like that? And, can you stay for a while? Bring your sister. I’ll make us some motherfucking margaritas.

  84. Stacy

    Holy crap. It’s SO abundantly clear that your kid was sad, not in fact having a literal temper tantrum. But even if the critical readers missed that, why do they feel the need to tell you the post wasn’t funny? (which it most certainly WAS) I mean, if you’re in the room with someone who tells a joke you don’t find funny, you might fake laugh out of politeness, but really, are you going to tell them how unfunny they are? No. Same thing should apply here…if you don’t think it’s funny, move on, but by all means try to remember your manners. Do unto others and all that. Karma people. Or at least a little common courtesy. I’m shocked that people think they can come over here and say this crap to you. Sorry to prolong this debate…might be bad judgment but it IS 2:35 am and I might have had some wine tonight….

    • The Bearded Iris

      Thank you Stacy! “Do unto others and all that.” AMEN, sister. AMEN. And you’re not prolonging the debate, you are simply doing what any decent person does when they see someone get bullied. For that I am grateful. Oh yes, you fit right in here with the rest of us. Happy to have you!

  85. Heather

    This entire thing is such a great lesson in kindness. So great to see a public writer handle her hecklers with gentleness and diplomacy. I’m bookmarking this page for a number of reasons!

  86. Jennifer

    First- I almost peed my pants at this story! By the time we got to the picture of the sticker, I had tears in my eyes! Second- I didn’t read through all the comments, or even most of them, but it seems you had some nasty comments regarding your parenting. All the smug, “I’m a better parent than you” people WILL get their comeuppance eventually. I was never smug and NEVER outwardly criticized others, but my first child was extremely well-mannered and well-behaved as a toddler. He was the one that old ladies would go out of their way to tell me how impressed they were with his behavior. He would have never thrown a tantrum. And then I had my second child- same parent, same parenting style, and she throws tantrums many times a day (since she was 2 and she is now 4!!) argues, doesn’t listen, gets in trouble in preschool for throwing items at her teachers…. yeah…. so… every child is different. And they all react differently. And I can even see my angelic first child at least sticking his lip out and crying over a sticker rather than a duck. My second? She would have taken down the vending machines!

    • Carrie

      …and she’s a redhead.


  87. Amanda

    Hilarious! I feel your pain, but I’m always glad my munchkins aren’t the only ones who have the occasional difficult trip to the grocery store.

  88. Ellen at Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

    I just wanted to tell you “another great post,” “hilarious,” “been there, survived that,” “etc,” but obviously I missed some drama. That’ll teach me to keep up on my blog reading.
    Man, people can get their panties bunched over anything. I grew up being told I had no sense of humor, but when I finally broke at of the joint I realized that THEY WEREN’T FUNNY. My husband calls me “Marilyn of the Munsters.” Keep being a Marilyn because it’s the Munsters that are odd and ugly.

  89. Sig

    This post was my introduction to this blog…
    I work in sales. I was at work when I found this blog. And all my customers who called in that afternoon had NO idea why I was sniggering and laughing throughout the conversation.
    My coworkers now think I’m (even more) insane.

    And I totally agree…..the impenetrable plastic balls of doom are evil. Just pure, unadulterated Evil. When my girls were little, we had our share of meltdowns over my unwillingness to stick a quarter in the evil horrible gumball machines. This post totally made my day. 🙂

    The good news is, my girls are teenagers now. I can tell you, with absolute authority, that the battles over the gumball machines will end.

    Now, the battles are over who wrecked my car and why they cannot wear that much makeup to the school dance….

    Where’s the wine?!

  90. Annabelle

    That is simultaneously hilarious and horrifying! I’m glad you made it out alive.

  91. Sig

    i just had to add…

    for way less than fifty cents each, you can get every kind of rubber ducky imaginable here:


  92. Jennifer

    Just read your hilarious post…then all the craziness that followed. I am a blogger myself, and most of my writing falls into the sarcastic humor/satire category, as well. What is UP with these people who don’t get it?? And if they don’t get it, why don’t they just change the channel? I wrote a piece about dreading the holidays that was published on Mamapedia, and you would not believe the freaks that came out of the woodwork to try and save me from myself. Comments telling me to divorce my husband all the way to telling me to find Jesus. It was insane. Glad to find the blog of a like-minded humorist 🙂

  93. dizzydesi

    From somone who now routinely greets her friends with “And have a Merry F@#$% Christmas and f#$% your husband too” in honor of a drunken party mishap…I am fully behind you. If you can’t take the humor….Why are you here?! Seriously?

    I laughed so hard I almost snorted my very hot tea, thank you very much. The picture of his face is price – less ! To have a camera at such a pivotal moment is genius. I bow to you, fellow mama bear. And that cashier a)should have known better WTF?! b) not be short stopping a clearly non-indulgent parent c) know what the f is in those damn machines!!

    Don’t hate the haters, but do cut them off at the knees.

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