Monday, September 19, 2016

The Air Freshener Incident

I normally go into Walmart on my own, solo, unaccompanied, without kids, unattached, unaided and alone (but not lonely), intentionally unassisted, in order to do my shopping without incident. “What kind of incident?” you ask. That’s right. Not all of you have spent time with my Sydney.

Sydney is truly a unique young lady who marches to the beat of her own drum. Sydney has no filter. If she thinks it, she says it. If she sees it, she touches it. If she likes it, she needs to own it. In a nutshell, there is rarely a dull moment when Sydney is around. She keeps things interesting. 

Sometimes when I take Sydney places, “things” happen. Things happen that should only happen in sitcoms to fictional families, or in silly children’s books, never in reality. The author Barbara Parks wrote a series of books about a little girl named Junie B Jones that my older kids and I enjoyed very much. Sometimes I wonder if Junie B came to life, and is living in my home. Only I call her Sydney P.  

My kids were out of school today for a teacher workday. And I needed a few things from Walmart. Against my better judgment, and because my list was very short, I took Sydney with me into Walmart. Milk is one of those things that cannot wait and we were out. So I threw caution to the wind, and drove to Walmart. I rationalized that Sydney and I could get in and out of the store quickly and I gave her a pep talk in the car before we entered the store. I was determined there would be no drama, and I would not give Sydney the opportunity to disrupt my mission.

Three minutes in, as we turned down an aisle to grab a cleaning product on my list, Sydney caught sight of the air fresheners. She became hyper-focused on those and stopped to look at them, hands on hips.

Knowing that she had to talk fast, because I was not slowing down, she loudly told me that we had an urgent need in our home for an air freshener. I looked back over my shoulder and told her to catch up, and that air fresheners were not on my list today.

Now, Sydney does not speak quietly, nor does she understand the concept of being discrete. We were not alone in the aisle, and Sydney’s claim that our home was in need of an air freshener drew the attention of at least four people. In order to make her case, and guarantee that an air freshener make it into our cart, Sydney began to describe the smell that she was sure enveloped our home. The people in the aisle all looked at me. They were not even pretending to look at anything on the shelves.

I asked Sydney again to move away from the air fresheners, assuring her (mostly for the benefit of the people listening) that we do not have the unseemly odors in our home that she was describing. But Sydney did not take a step. Instead she bent down to examine the different fragrances more closely. I walked back toward her and quietly told her that we needed to move on.

“Mom. Why are you whispering?” she said. “We need to talk about the smell I keep smelling in my room! Last night I couldn’t even sleep. It was so awful. I’m pretty sure an air freshener would really help.”

It just so happens that I go into Sydney’s room several times each day. I had been in her room that very morning to put away laundry. There was no odor. There is no odor. And I told her as much while she was bent down inspecting all the Glade, Renuzit, and Febreeze containers. She wasn’t listening, but I could see out of my peripheral vision that everyone else in the aisle was leaning in and had heard it all. And the crowd had grown slightly. I briefly wondered if one of those folks might even offer to buy an air freshener for the poor little girl whose mom had her living in a room with a stench.

“Mom. Do you know how these things work? I don’t even see how you open them. Do you have to take all the paper off to smell them?”

I tried again. “Sydney. There is NO smell in your room. We don’t need an air freshener.”

So, she changed tactics. “Mom. You know that smell when we make a fire outside to roast hotdogs and the wood is burning? I smell THAT smell in my room sometimes too.”

And as one more person walked into the congested aisle, I reached down and picked up an air freshener, tossed it into the cart, and hurried away, chin held high.

That air freshener is on Sydney’s dresser this evening and she comes into the living room every few minutes to tell me how wonderful her room smells.

If only those folks at Walmart could hear THAT.

If only I had waited and gone to Walmart tomorrow. We could have lived without milk for twenty-four hours. 

If this story made you giggle and you want more be sure and find us on Facebook at Quirks and Chaos. 

The above is just one of hundreds of stories I could tell. Here are two I have illustrated:


If you liked this post, you might like to read another. Saturday morning with Sydney


  1. Thank you Ms. Smith I love reading new stories on your blog.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Whoops, sounded better in my head...and probably useless. Just another symptom of Internet Regret Syndrome, which I was professionally diagnosed with by the entirety of Stism University in Psychology, Canada. Ihml

  3. I think I saw the above poster at one of the liberal protests standing in line for a soft pillow and a cuddle.