File this under "Strange but True":
On Thursday I took the kiddos to the grocery store. Just a quick pre-vacation trip to grab some snacks for the plane. In and out. No biggie.
About three-quarters of the way through, Roo got a little fussy. I asked him what was wrong. And he ANSWERED ME, "I stuck." I looked down, and he had shoved his heel between the bars of the cart and couldn't get it out.
Those of you who have a child with Down's may understand how amazing this little exchange was. Roo isn't great at understanding questions and knowing how to answer them. I also had no idea that he knew the word "stuck." While I felt bad that he was uncomfortable, I was ASTOUNDED that he had been able to communicate so effectively. And I was able to just pull his foot out of the bars easily, so all-in-all it was a pretty positive outcome.
Until we got to the parking lot.
The big kids hopped in the van while I threw our couple of bags into the back. Then I picked Roo up to get him out of the cart... and he didn't come. Sure enough, he had shoved his foot back between the bars again. Only this time, it wasn't coming out. I pulled and pushed and wiggled and massaged it, but it was stuck.
I called the big kids out of the van, and we walked back up to the sidewalk. I don't know why exactly, I guess just so that I wasn't standing in the middle of the parking lot while I worked on his foot. I was trying to be calm--he didn't seem to be hurting, and it's not like it was his head or anything--but honestly, it was a little scary.
A kind, sweet gentleman who regularly bags our groceries was outside, doing something with the carts. Let's call him Milton. He came over to try to help. Then a man going into the store with his elderly mother stopped to help. They tried to pull the bars apart enough to disengage the foot. No luck.
Then the man who had stopped with his mother said, "Oh there's a cop, maybe he can help." I looked up, and a sheriff's deputy, who just happens to be the husband of a friend of mine, was walking toward us. He just happened to be heading to the store. It was so nice to see a friendly face! He, too, tried to pull the bars apart before heading back to his truck to see if he had any tools that would help.
More customers stopped.
More employees came out.
Before I really knew what happened, we had attracted quite a crowd.
Roo, who normally loves attention, was not amused by this whole situation. I don't think having his foot stuck was especially bothering him. He just didn't like that everyone was tugging on it and messing with him.
Someone suggested putting butter or oil on it. Milton went in to get it. Someone else suggested calling the fire department.
Then Milton came back out... with maple syrup. Bless his heart. A lady said, "I think I'd put oil on that before I'd use syrup."
Poor, sweet, discombobulated Milton cried out, "I couldn't find any!"
He couldn't find any oil. In the grocery store. Bless. He was so panicked.
A cashier who had come out then went back in to call the fire department. A minute later, the store manager came out with a big ol' jug of vegetable oil, and right there at the front door to Giant Eagle, my son had his foot anointed.
There was pouring and rubbing and readjusting... and then it was OUT! There might have been applause. Maybe it was just me.
Instantly--and I mean INSTANTLY--Roo's fussing and crying stopped. He smiled, looked at his rescuer, and said, "Thank you. Bye-bye!" Stinker.
The crowd (OK, I'm using that term loosely, but there were probably around 10 people out there watching this all go down) dispersed, and my friend's husband told one of the employees to be sure they called the fire department back and told them not to come.
I got my children all loaded into the van, free of the confines of any grocery carts.
And then there were sirens.
I've never had the fire department called for my family before. They take it seriously.
A rescue ambulance came rolling into the parking lot of Giant Eagle as I blushed with embarrassment. The EMTs who had come out were very kind and understanding.
They asked that I fill out the paperwork anyway.
One of them asked if Roo (who was in the van by this time, so they couldn't see his almond eyes or his bald head or his overall I'm-rocking-an-extra-chromosome personality) had any other medical history. I replied, "Related to getting his foot stuck in a grocery store cart?"
He nodded. "Fair enough. Nevermind."
It is never a dull moment with Roo.
By the way, I totally thought about taking pictures while it was happening JUST SO THAT I COULD BLOG ABOUT IT... but I really thought the people helping us might vote me the worst mom ever for that. So I held back.