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Cracker Barrel Memories

bad place for children

Tchotchke Hell

As Connor gets older and the challenges change over time, it becomes easier to look back on things that were upsetting, and find the humor in them.  Not all things, of course, but there are a few.  I was recently remembering our road trip to Texas.  Just before Connor turned two, we relocated from Atlanta to Austin.  With a child and a dog, it took us 2 ½ days of driving, with frequent stops, to complete the trip.

 

Sometime on day two, we stopped at a Cracker Barrel for lunch.  I can’t even remember where it was…Tennessee, Arkansas, who knows.  We somehow got through lunch with a hyper toddler, and made the usual restroom stop before leaving.  It was my turn, and I hated it when it was my turn.  That means I had to pull a Houdini, and manage to let myself go to the bathroom, keep hold of my child, then get him changed.  Parents of typical children have no idea what a monumental feat it is to use a restroom with an ADHD toddler.  It’s sort of like holding onto a tornado with one hand, while using your other hand to disrobe and complete the task, in a tiny little metal box.

No sooner do I sit down, with one hand holding onto Connor in the large “handicapped” stall, than he abruptly, and strongly pulls out of my grasp.  It was like slow motion in a horror movie, where I flail my arms out, shouting “NOOOOOO”, as he unlatches the door and bolts out.  The kid was like greased lightning.  I still can’t reconcile in my brain how any human being can move so fast, but he did, and out he went. 

The flood of thoughts that can go through someone’s brain in a 2-second span is truly impressive.  If you’ve ever been to a Cracker Barrel, then you know that their entire lobby area is set up like a country store, full of doo-dads and what-nots, all kinds of kitschy tchotchkes made of ceramic and glass.  I could just imagine the crashing of things, the yelling of people, the disapproving looks, the snide comments, the huge bill of poultry-inspired crap they would want me to pay for.  “If he gets through that bathroom door, it’s over, and it will be bad, so very bad.” 

Let me tell you, Big ‘Ol Mama Bear jumped up, yanked up the pants, and leaped out to the door faster than you could blink.  The entire time, I’m calling out “Connor, no, come back here now, Connor, CONNOR!”

I grabbed hold of him just as he was reaching for the exit door.  It was a very close call, but the tchotchkes were saved that day.  As we turned around to go to the sink, an older lady came out of another stall, stopped and looked down with a smile, and said “Well you must be Connor.”

It was a very long road trip.

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About Flannery

Kid, husband, dogs, my mother, full-time job, maximum stress, minimal relaxation...sooner or later I had to vent. AND we moved from California to Texas. I could start a whole other blog about that.

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