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SOMEBODY ELSE
December 8, 2010
 
It was my virgin solo shopping trip with Wyatt: a visit to the Target store in Brooklyn. Why should this be a big deal? I took my granddaughters to the store all the time when they were little, and there there were two of them. But we were all much younger then.

There are strict instructions for me to follow when out with Wyatt. He needs to stay in his stroller at all times when we are on the sidewalk -- he is very fast on his feet, and it is obvious that I couldn't catch him if he decided to strike out on his own.. Same goes for stores: I'd lose him in nothing flat. An exception was made recently, when we had to go to the bodega right next to their building to buy milk and dish soap. It was right next door -- how much could happen? Off we went, memorizing our list.

Now, what do we need, Mister Boy?

Milk!

Milk and...?

Milk!

And...

Milk!

Milk and dish soap.

Milk and dish soap!


The little store displayed all the fruit on a low shelf right in the front, which I thought was a big mistake. Wyatt had shoplifted an apple before I'd gotten fully through the front door, and had taken a bite out of it before I could walk the two steps it took to get to him.

Um, I'll take the apple, too, I told the storekeeper, picking Wyatt up and streadying him on the counter with one hand while juggling milk, dish soap and my wallet with the other. Like lightning, he grabbed a chocolate-covered cherry and a piece of beef jerky. I switched him to a perch on my left hip, and told him as sternly as I could that we had apples at home,and that the things in his hand belonged to the store.

They belong to somebody else.

Somebody Else!


So next visit we went further afield, to Target. He wore several different sweaters and a jacket in the cold, so that he was somewhat trussed by all his outerwear, and was further snuggled into a quilted bag that fits in the stroller and lets you belt him in. Once in the store, I removed a few of his layers, and he had an interesting time looking at all the merchandise while I searched for plain white panel curtains and a Christmas tree skirt. I steered clear of the shelves on either side, keeping to the center of the aisle, so that he couldn't grab things. In the checkout line, he did succeed in pulling a large pillow from the counter, but I caught it before it fell on him.

That belongs to somebody else, I told him, remember? He nodded.

Somebody Else!

It's hard not to touch, isn't it?

Hard not to touch!


A song came to me, and I began to sing it to him. Maybe you can't have everything in sight, but at least you can sing about it. Again! he kept saying whenever I stopped. The lady at the checkout gave us a puzzled look, but who cares? We sang it all the way home in the cold night, Wyatt joining in at the end of each line.
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The One I Love Belongs to Somebody Else

The one I love belongs to somebody else
She means her tender songs for somebody else
And even when I have my arms around her
I know her thoughts are strong for somebody else

The hands I held belong to somebody else
I'll bet they're not so cold to somebody else
It's tough to be alone on the shelf
It's worse to fall in love by yourself
The one I love belongs to somebody else
The one I love belongs to somebody else.
-Music by Isham Jones
Lyrics by Gus Kahn
1924
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