Today I was feeling ambitious and decided to take both babies in public. We go for walks everyday and get groceries often but I was planning another mission: clothes shopping. I’ve been going through both of my kids’ dressers and packing away clothes that are too small or out of season. Basically baby boy’s dresser is empty now because he is huge and has outgrown everything. (He was 9 lbs, 13 oz when he was born and still eats every 2-3 hours around the clock at 5 months of age so yes, he’s huge!) I have been meaning to run out (by myself) one night when Hubby is home to watch the babies and get our son a new, bigger wardrobe but it just hasn’t happened so today was the day. After strategically evaluating my shopping options and ranking them in categories such as distance from home, stores available, accessibility with stroller, quality of clothing, I set out for a local mall that had a couple of stores that sold children’s clothing as well as a dollar store since I needed an abundance of C-size batteries because both of my kids are hooked on those Fisher Price crib aquariums that bubble and play music. Those things eat 4 C batteries each week.
Two diaper changes, two breakfasts fed, two kids dressed, one diaper bag packed and we were on the road. I parked a few spaces away from the mall entrance and started unloading. I got the double stroller out of the trunk, shoved my purse in the basket underneath and then went to each side of the car, transferring each baby from car seat to stroller. This mall is never busy which is perfect because I hate the hustle and bustle of pushy, rushed shoppers when I’m by myself. When I’m pushing my huge double stroller and getting cut off and blocked in, it annoys me even more and gives me road rage. It also makes my babies cranky and that makes everyone miserable.
The children’s clothing store was having a sidewalk sale. Perfect! This wasn’t just great because of the clothing on sale but also because I wasn’t entirely sure if my stroller would fit in the store. I tried to make my way to the baby boy clothes just inside the store. We got stuck. It was like being in a corn maze with no way out. As I did a 3-point turn in the narrow aisle, we almost took out a rack of snowsuits. (I caught it! It was all good!) So, we went back to the racks set up outside the store in the middle of the mall. The friendly sales lady directed me to a rack with boys’ long sleeved tops and winter clothes. Excellent! $7.99/outfit. Score! I start grabbing one of everything in his size and hang them on the handle of my stroller.
There is a young couple there carrying a new-looking baby in his car seat. The sales lady goes over and asks if they need any help. Mom starts to say “Yesss” when Dad jumps in and says “We’re having trouble because the outfits all come in sets with a shirt and pants and he can fit into a size 6 months top but not pants. The pants are too long.” The sales lady explains that since he isn’t walking, he isn’t going to trip and that they can always roll them up or hem them. They don’t seem satisfied with this answer. I immediately feel guilty. This sweet couple is looking to have their son’s shirt and pants fit just right and here I am grabbing any outfit I can find on the rack in size 12 months without even looking at it. If it’s for boys and is size 12 months, I’m buying it. Yes, my son is only 5 months old but like I said, he’s huge and is already starting to outgrow a lot of his 9 months stuff and let’s face it, I will be lucky if I get caught up on my majestic mountain of laundry in order to be able to take the tags off of these outfits and wash them for him to wear before he is 12 months old. They will need to get in the laundry queue TODAY. Fingers crossed for a simultaneous and long nap today so I can get some stuff done! My poor little man. I should probably be holding outfits up to him to see which looks best on him but I’m trying to be quick because there may as well be a stopwatch constantly ticking in my ear. It’s always only a matter of time before someone is going to be tired, hungry, wet, poopy, bored, etc. We need to be quick! I trust the brand I was buying so I’m sure they are cute outfits. How could they not be? We go up to the counter and pay and are out of there before anyone is crying. Phewwf!
I sometimes start to feel an anxiety attack coming on when I’m at a store checkout and just when you think you’re about to pay, the sales associate asks you if you have some points card/discount card/club card, etc. You know the ones I mean! It seems like every store has one now and because every store has one, even if I do have one, it’s going to take me a million years to find it in my wallet that looks like George Costanza’s from Seinfeld since it can barely close because it is filled with all the cards I don’t use because I can never find them. Unless I know I’m going to shop there often or it is actually going to save me money, I usually say no. The sales associate usually responds with “It’s free!” It’s not about the money, Honey. You could tell me that I would get my entire purchase for free if I just fill out a form with my contact information but I will still refuse because extending the length of this transaction could cause all kinds of chaos to occur. Do you see my two sweet little babies smiling in their side-by-side stroller? I would like to keep it this way. If I continue to ignore them and extend this transaction for the 5 minutes it might take to fill out the form, give you my email address, have you explain how it works, you will not be happy with the hellish screams and fits that could happen next. When they aren’t happy, my daughter sounds like the siren on a firetruck and my son sounds like an angry, hungry sea gull. You don’t want to hear it. Trust me! I can’t say for sure that they will melt down but it’s a risk I’m not going to take at this time. I have a great fear of the unknown and I strongly dislike those cards because of their ability to extend the length of a transaction.
So, since my babies were so well behaved and so happy, we managed to successfully buy my son some new clothes, pick up batteries to fuel their crib aquariums and buy my daughter a new toy; a musical school bus (entirely because I felt guilty for buying my son new stuff and not getting her anything.) I decided that since we were all happy and content that I would get my daughter an ice cream cone before we left. (I know. What the eff was I thinking?) I got one too and decided I would call it lunch while making a note to self to make a salad later because Hubby and I had takeout pizza for dinner last night so I could use some healthy food in my system. We didn’t have pizza because I didn’t make dinner because I did. I managed to make it and put it in the oven to keep warm around 5pm. By the time he came home and one baby pooped everywhere, one baby puked everywhere then one baby needed to be fed and one needed someone to play with her and then they both needed baths, it was around 8:30pm when we finally sat down to eat. Dinner was dried out to say the least. Hubby said he was starving and would eat it anyway. He then quickly offered to go grab a pizza after taking one bite of dry, crunchy nastiness. So yes, I could definitely use a salad later.
I left the mall with both babies screaming; my son because he had pooped and my daughter because she was exhausted. It was only a matter of time really. We only had a total of 3 random strangers comment “Wow! You’ve got your hands full!” and “How far apart are they?” this trip. My daughter was covered in icecream. So was I. So was the stroller. (I managed to protect my son from flying icecream and his big sister’s sticky hands.)
We go out to the car and I start the exit routine. I unlock the car and throw my purse and keys on the driver’s seat. I pop the trunk and pull the stroller close to me so I can keep an eye on my daughter while I take my son out of his seat in the stroller and lay him in the hatchback to change his diaper. Then I put him in his car seat. He cries (like an angry sea gull) because he doesn’t want to go from one seat to another, he wants to be held. I wheel the stroller around to the other side as a car pulls up beside me. I figure it must be someone I know. Nope! Just a man loitering beside us. Creepy. Wait a minute! He can’t seriously be waiting for our parking spot! The mall parking lot is virtually empty. There is also an empty parking spot next to mine that is even closer to the mall entrance. Why is he watching us? Why does he want THIS spot? He sits there with his turning signal on waiting as I unbuckle my daughter from the stroller and manage to pry the new musical school bus toy from her grip long enough to get her into her carseat and buckle her in. I hand the school bus back to her and she happily continues to play with it. Then I take our shopping bags out from under the stroller and load them in the passenger seat. The man is still sitting there in his car. Bizarre. He waits while I struggle to fold down my double stroller, pop my trunk again and then use my arms, legs and hip to maneuver it into my trunk. Seriously Buddy? If you want my spot, I will leave much quicker if you would get out of your car and give me a hand! I close the trunk and get in the driver’s seat and realize that I left my phone in the pocket of the stroller. I get out and pop the trunk again to find it. The man waits.
I get back in the car and start to reverse. He is parked so close to me that it is impossible for me to easily back around him. How annoying. So I pull back into the spot, put my car in ‘Park’ and just sit there. He gets the point and backs up enough to let me out. I pull out of the space and leave. I watch a lot of cop shows so I easily get creeped out by situations like this one. I’m always looking over my shoulder, seeing potential predators and expecting madness. I stopped at the stop sign and looked to see if he was following me for some reason or what he was going to do. He isn’t following me. He’s not a predator of any kind. He pulled into my parking spot and walked into the mall. Wow. Some people’s children, I’m telling you!
Taking my kids shopping is an exhausting and challenging Olympic event. People doing annoying and ignorant things like this just make it harder. This isn’t the first time this has happened where I have felt rushed and have fumbled trying to get my baby strapped in her car seat and then quickly tried to fold down my stroller because some idiot is breathing his exhaust fumes down my neck waiting for my parking spot. Circle around people. Give us moms some space. We know we’re taking a long time to get our car loaded up and leave the space. We can’t help it. We’re tired and there are a lot of steps and obstacles involved. You loitering there watching us is not going to make it go any faster. If there was a way to do this faster, I would absolutely be doing it.
Another adventure successfully completed. Now to wash those clothes before my son outgrows them!
andbabymakes3imean4 is one mom’s adventures while tap dancing on the brink of insanity with 2 babies, 11 months apart. If you liked this post, be sure to click “follow” or “subscribe” to be the first to find out about future posts. Thanks for reading! xo