Something about a woman in the later stages of pregnancy brings out the crazy in people around her.  Not just the crazy, but the stupid.  The ridiculous.  The outstandingly inappropriate.

The starting point for external crazy begins when a pregnant woman’s stride changes from the normal one-foot-in-front-of-the-other gait to the waddle-side-to-side-with-one-hand-on-the-small-of-your-back march.  Every pregnancy I’ve had has testified to this.

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With my firstborn, a lady came up to me in a Wal-Mart, put both hands on my belly uninvited, slipped into a seance-like trance for a moment, and then told me my baby would be born without eyes.

With my second, a grandmotherly woman gently patted my belly, and then my hips and butt-cheeks, and told me I was made for breeding.

With my third, at a wedding shower, my own grandmother told me that she and I needed to stick together throughout the party because we were the fat girls in the room.  (This woman has a knack for snark…like the time she told me how pretty I looked…followed by the phrase, Isn’t it amazing what makeup can do for a person?)

So now, here I am, about a month away from the glorious act of giving birth.  I’ve got a waddle that any duck would be jealous of, a belly that puts Santa to shame, and Lord Almighty, the crazies are out to get me.

I’m a meal planner.  If I wasn’t, we literally would never, ever eat at home.  Meal planning saves my culinary hide, time and time again.  The downfall to this, however, is the massive grocery shop I do twice a month.  I spend an ungodly amount of time in the ginormous supermarket around the corner from my house, waddling from one end to the other, precariously stocking my cart like it’s a mobile, volatile game of Jenga while trying to keep my lovely three-year-old from accidentally toppling over the giant display of Velveeta.  Or freeing the tank of lobsters, who she feels would be much happier out of the water.  Or from opening every box of cookies, fruit snacks, pop-tarts, or whatever junk food happens to be within her reach.

Grocery shopping is stressful.

Yesterday was grocery shopping day.

Thankfully, we made it through the experience without incident…until we got in line to check out.

As I was putting my groceries on the conveyor belt, my lovely belly decided it was time to pull out its favorite labor-conditioning activity: Braxton-Hicks contractions.  Anybody who’s had multiple kids knows these contractions get stronger with each consecutive child.  It’s not actual labor – it’s just a pregnant woman’s body’s way of reminding her that, This thing you’re about to experience?  You know, popping a kid out of your lady-bits?  Yeah.  It’s gonna hurt like hell.  I’m sure there’s a more practical, biological reason for the fake contractions, but at that particular moment, I didn’t really care what it was.  At that point, all that mattered was that my abdomen had begun to clench down like a snapping turtle jacked up on Red-Bull and reptilian angst, and I was juggling a glass jar of milk in one hand, a carton of eggs in the other, and a bag of apples in my teeth.

I set my stuff down and drew in a deep breath, knowing the contraction would pass in just a moment.  Then I could pay for my groceries and get the heck out of Dodge.

Of course, it was at that moment that the checker (who had previously ignored my presence altogether) decided to glance at me.

Checker: (loudly, to no-one in particular) Oh my god, she’s going into labor!

Me: (still trying to breathe) No, I’m not.

Checker: Yes you are, you’re going into labor!

Me: No, I’m not.

SweetZ: Mommy? Is the baby hurting you?

Me: (patting her head while directing mean thoughts to the cashier) No, honey, I’m fine. 

At this point the pain begins to taper off, and I quickly resume putting groceries on the conveyor belt.

Checker: (distrustfully) You’re sure you’re not going into labor?

Me:  (irritated) Nope.  Not going into labor.

Checker: ‘Cause you know I’m not delivering your baby.

Me: (to self) No shit?  (to her, firmly) I’m not going into labor.

Checker: (after a brief moment of beautiful silence)  I took a human sexuality class once.

Me: (to self) Oh, lord.  (to her) Really?

Checker: (stops checking groceries) Yeah.  In college.  I hated it.

Me: (to her) Oh.  (to self) Why has she stopped ringing up my groceries?  What’s SweetZ doing?  (look around and spy SweetZ raiding the candy display)

Checker:  Yeah.  It was my first class of the day.  I hated it.  It killed sex for me.  It’s why I never had any kids.  The whole thing was disgusting.

Me: (pulling four suckers, five candy bars, and two packages of gum out of SweetZ’s hands and putting them back in the display)  That’s too bad.

Checker: (eyeing my belly distastefully) Not really. (resumes ringing up my groceries)

At this point, the guy bagging my groceries decides to chime in.

Bagger:  I took a human sexuality class in college, too.

Checker:  Really?

Bagger:  Yeah.  I loved it.

Me: (to self, digging through wallet, pretending to look for debit card) Hurry up, hurry up, hurry up.

Bagger:  I took a human sexuality class in college, too.

Me: (to self) Why is he repeating that?  (looks up)

Bagger: (is staring me down)  I took a human sexuality class in college, too.

Me: (nodding slightly)  Cool.  (to self)  Why?  Why, why, why??

Bagger:  I loved it.  You want your juice in a sack?

Me: (timidly, hoping I’m not about to agree to some weird double-innuendo sexual favor; I really just want SweetZ’s apple juice in a sack) Yes, please.

Checker:  I hated it.  Disgusting.  (looks at my bag of parsley)  Is this cilantro?

Me: No.  It’s parsley.

Checker:  Parsley?  (for some reason this seems to annoy her.  She looks at my belly once more, eyeing it like it’s a homemade explosive about ready to go off)  You’re sure you’re not in labor?

Me:  (exasperated sigh) Nope.  Not in labor.

Needless to say, when the bagger asked if I needed help out, I declined.  That had to be one of THE MOST uncomfortable grocery store conversations I’ve ever had.  Ever.

Okay, so it’s time for you to dish and make me feel better.  I want to hear your awkward grocery store moments, pre-natal or not.  Bad attempts at flirting in the produce aisle?  Shelf stock-boy stalking?  Devil children roaming the store unattended?  If you have a memorable grocery store moment, this is the place to share!


61 thoughts on “EXTERNAL CRAZY

  1. d_vaz says:

    I never understood why people just throw social norms out the window and ignore personal space and boundaries when a woman is pregnant. Great post, that experience sounds so awkward!

  2. Jenny Hansen says:

    Well, you already know about my Trader Joe’s Pecker Checker, but I just don’t get why everybody needed to be “all up in Mama’s bidness,” as we like to say.

    If you’re a pregnant lady, the world feels like you are THEIR oyster to check out, feel up and make inappropriate comments to. I’m just never going to understand what the psychology of it is.

    Love this post. I don’t remember hearing about me raiding candy in the grocery store. I DO remember hearing about all the times I’d either ask (in that loud whisper kids make that travels to all corners of the store):

    Mom, can I play with your teeth? Oh, c’mon…can’t you just take them out?!
    Mom, did we forget the penis butter? (peanut butter) Penis butter’s my FAVORITE.

    Yeah, she loved shopping with me alright.

  3. asraidevin says:

    Today was pretty fun for us at the store. My son loves the grocery store because he can look at the lobsters which we call fishies, he’s not quite 2. So we hit the dollar store first and I wandered for a long time, so he was done with shopping, plus we’d missed nap time.

    We headed for the grocery store and I can’t find my wallet, so I shove the kids (2 years and 9 years) back in the truck, and he starts screaming about the fishies. “Fishies MAD!” And I am laughing my tail off at this, because it’s he’s just started to put 2-words together.

    Finally find my wallet under the seat of the truck, head back for the grocery store. Wander a bit more, because I’m searching for some organizers that only exist in my head. Regret NOT getting a cart because we are only grabbing ground beef and milk (and a set of casserole dishes that are insanely heavy but on-sale).

    Hit the self-check out because there is no express open today. He is running for the door, I”m trying to scan my items and my 9 year old is chasing him down, while he laughs hysterically and she shouts at him in a panic.

    Then we leave and he’s screaming because I won’t let him walk through the parking lot. I have to park at the far end because it’s busy and I have this massive pick up truck that I can’t park anywhere.

    When I have to do the major trip with him on my own, I get the free bakery cookie, stick him in the cart and move as fast as I can.

  4. patriciasands says:

    Oh yes. Ahhh, the memories at the grocery store – little hands opening cookie and snack bags … still on the shelf, getting past the candy stand without a major meltdown, 2-year-olds making escape attempts from the cart when my back was turned … it’s all coming back to me now. Another joy of being a “Nana” … grandchildren = angels … seriously! Love it! They save all that behaviour for their parents.

    You are right about pregnant bellies becoming public property but, my goodness, you’ve run into some dandies! The countdown is on …

    Thanks for my morning laugh-out-loud moment!

  5. Kecia Adams says:

    Aww. Myndi, I can just picture you in your lovely roundness. 🙂 I was pregnant with my first when we lived in S. Korea, stationed at the US Army base. I was active duty and so was my husband (both Navy). By policy, since tours in Korea were generally just one year, pregnant service members were reassigned back to the States at 20 weeks. But lucky me! we were on a TWO year assignment so I got to stay. Which meant that I was the ONLY woman in uniform with a huge round belly by month 8! The Korean ladies were always putting their hands on my belly to predict the sex of the baby “oh! So BIG. That means BOY!”. So one day I was walking to the gate over to where my husband was going to meet me after work. I had seen a bunch of big black sedans lined up at the headquarters to take all the Generals somewhere. If you see a general officer’s car approaching, you have to salute it. But I knew if I kept walking, I wouldn’t have to stop because my back was to the cars. I was having major Braxton Hicks and didn’t want to have to double over while trying to snap out a salute. BUT because I have this sign on my forehead that says “ask me for directions” someone stopped me just as those cars were approaching. The person who asked me to point out the way to the base exchange had stepped by me just enough so that I had to turn to answer him. I could see the four star flags on the front of those those black sedans approaching. Damn, I couldn’t get out of it now. So while my belly squeezed the ever livin breath out of me I popped at least six salutes. I think I saw a grin on every single one of those generals’ faces as they returned my salute. To be fair I was a truly funny sight in my “pregnancy battle dress uniform” (yes there is such a thing…the military’s infinite wisdom is a whole ‘nother story) which was a tent like camouflage uni with boots (had to get the DH to tie those boots every day since I couldn’t even SEE them). When the cars were gone all I could think was jeez I have another month to go!
    So hang in there Myndi! It’s the endurance test now. You’ll make it, nosy cashiers notwithstanding! 😉

  6. Snarf says:

    I love this. I am MUCH less (kind of not the right word I’m looking for) pregnant than you… only 4.5 weeks. We haven’t found the perfect time to tell our families so we have been grinning and bearing it for the last few days. I even went to a baby shower of someone on his side. I sat there, every moment pregnant, surrounded by talk of babies and labor and related topics. When we played the games, I won. I won a notepad shaped like a pregnant woman. Great.

    Not to mention that his family was over this weekend and his mom made this random comment that his cousin and I resembled those girls from sixteen and pregnant. (No, I’m not sixteen.) Like what the hell? That’s some damn good intuition!

    I’m happy for all of you pregnant ladies and I’d appreciate any starter advice for pregnancy and my first child. I need all of the support I can get!!! Thank you. Congratulations. Carpe Diem!

  7. Emma Burcart says:

    There are some crazies out there! I had an incedent just the other day where a very large man who looked like he was one beer short of a good time scowled at me and put two plastic dividers between our food. Ok, Mr. Crazy. As if he was the one who needed to look out!

  8. Kelly Hashway says:

    The day before I went into labor with my daughter, some guy in Home Depot told me I was definitely having twins. Thanks a lot! I’m tiny so my belly just came straight out even though I didn’t gain that much weight. And no, I didn’t have twins.

  9. Sarah Negovetich (@SarahNego) says:

    Oh, the pregnant crazies! With my first I swelled up like a blow fish everywhere. My feet, face, hands, everywhere. I had to stop wearing my wedding ring around the 8th month. Unfortunately, I am very short (4’10”) and people tend to think I’m a lot younger than I am.

    Standing in line at the store one day the woman in front of me turned around and shot a dirty look at my belly. She then turned to her teenaged daughter and in a not quiet whisper told her “that is why you wait to have sex until you’re married”.

    My head wanted to tear her a new one, but my body didn’t have the energy after walking the store for the past hour.

  10. Natalie Hartford says:

    Can you imagine?!?! LOL!! I feel for ya honey!! Not a fun experience but at least it gave you tons of ample entertainment value for la blog. LOL!!
    People are seriously WHACKED sometimes!

  11. August McLaughlin says:

    Great post, Myndi! Two awkward grocery shopping experiences come to mind—the time I asked a male grocer where I could find “the juiciest pork groins” and a very recent time I thought the man next to me was my hubby and handed the total stranger a box of tampons. WHOOPS.

    • Myndi Shafer...one stray sock away from insanity. says:

      Giggling so hard right now! Between Jenny’s Penis Butter, and your Juicy Pork Groins…I think we could have a lot of fun pranking at the grocers, asking for those things just to see if anybody notices what we’re saying. I bet if we secretly filmed ourselves doing it and posted it on YouTube it’d go viral!

  12. Lisa Hall-Wilson says:

    haha – When I was pregnant with my 3rd, I had to take my 3yr and 1.5yr old with me – so I feel your pain. They always gave away free samples at the deli counter, and we took advantage of all in-store samples that were appropriate. That, and I did walk out leaving a full cart of groceries behind because of temper-tantrums. Man – is that embarrassing.

    However, I think the strangest grocery line experience I ever had was my first time shopping in a new city. I was standing in a long express checkout line. I’m not tall 5’3″ and I was sandwiched between 2 tall men. I hear this sniffing sound.
    I turn around, the man behind me jerks back like I’d hit him. What’s his problem? I turn and face the front of the line. A few seconds later, the sniffing sound returns right above my ear. I freaked, thinking it was a weird bug of some sort and smacked it. Only I hit the man standing behind me – SMELLING MY HAIR!!
    Of course, everyone around me heard my hand slap his nose and turned to stare. They looked at me like I was the criminal. He didn’t even apologize – just grinned. Never went back to that store again.

  13. crubin says:

    Thanks to your image of Kristen Wiig, I played the whole conversation out with her as the cashier and Justin Timberlake as the bag-boy. Too funny!!

  14. Sheila Seabrook says:

    OMG, everyone’s stories are so funny. I only go to normal stores with normal people and no longer have to take the kids who are normal now but once upon a time were just screamers. 🙂

  15. Karen Rought says:

    Myndi, I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but…you’re banned from my lunch time reading along with Natalie Hartford. I just laugh too much to be able to pass it off as nothing. I can’t stand the looks anymore, and I can’t just sum up these posts and do it justice. Sorry. xoxo

    Seriously, though, this was HILARIOUS. I don’t understand why people would go up to a pregnant woman and touch them – what an invasion of privacy! I long ago decided people are just weird and that certain people (myself included) tend to bring the crazies out of their hidey-holes. Hope you don’t see anymore for a while. (Just don’t banish them away completely, because they make for excellent blog posts!)

  16. CC MacKenzie says:


    Thanks for the laugh, Myndi.

    Lisa – that happened to me too in a queue in my main supermarket where I’m very well known by the staff. I was standing behind my daughter when I felt this body standing too close behind me and heard a definite sniff accompanied by a happy sigh. I whipped round and this well dressed old guy took a hasty step back.

    Me (loud) ‘What are you doing?’
    Him (whisper) ‘You smell wonderful.’ Sheepish grin.
    Me (loud and pissed off) ‘Do you want a black eye and a fat lip?’
    Enter Mr Security guard who’s from Mozambique (think Sumo wrestler.) ‘Everything ok, ma’am?’ And gives the old guy the beady eye.
    Me ‘He sniffed my hair.’
    Security guard gives old guy a look and a tsk tsk. ‘Don’t blame you, my man. I sniff her hair every chance I get.’ And walked off.
    My daughter couldn’t stop laughing as my chin hit the floor.

    Honestly, MEN!

  17. Fabio Bueno says:

    The story is awesome, but the comments… Hilarious!
    I think I visit the most boring grocery stores in the universe… At least nobody tried to sniff my hair…
    Myndi, this post is an instant classic!

  18. Elen Grey says:

    Myndi – LMAO. That was a funny post. Nope. Can’t top that. Not even gonna try.

    I will say, however, that I kept looking at that pink tee thinking…. we could just move the graphic up twelve inches (Yes! I measured.) and it would be Hands Off The BUMPS. Sell more t-shirts. 😀


  19. Paige Kellerman says:

    Oh my gosh, I just started showing, and I’m already dreading future shopping trips. I was cringing as I read this story. Seriously?? I never understood how people throw out any sense when it comes to addressing a pregnant lady. So far, no one’s said anything this time, but there’s still time to get huge and drag the twins around, so…yep. My last pregnancy, my mouth would hang open at the things people said. “You’re huge! Hope you’re having twins!”
    “I am”
    “Well, that’s a relief.”
    “So glad you’re relieved…can I have the triple chicken dinner I ordered for myself?”
    Hang in there, lady! At least you’re down to the last stretch; I’ve still got until September..do you know how many holidays have to pass before that gets here???

  20. Molly Pendlebury says:

    Fantastic post! I haven’t seen that skit with Kirsten Wigg. She’s so funny! I’m hoping Ginger has told you the story when a Target employee thought she might we stealing with her big baby belly and totally felt all over her belly etc….

  21. Louise Behiel says:

    too funny. at about the same stage of pregnancy I was walking home, two year old in tow, with my monthly groceries in the cart when the cart tipped. the damn things exploded out of the cart and spread everywhere! imagine fat pregnant lady running around picking up veggies and cereal and grapes that were rolling around the intersection.

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