Monday, June 9, 2008

The Target Adventure

So I just got back from Target.

It was an adventure, let me tell you.

The adventure started when Natalie kicked off one of her Gymboree shoes. I noticed when I glanced down and saw that one of her feet were bare. Panic washed through me. I know, I know, they're just SHOES but they were adorable yellow and white polka dot shoes. If you saw them, you'd understand. So I backtracked.

Which upset Tommy, who is just like his father and doesn't understand why I have to go back to a place that we already were.

"We just LOOKED here," he complained, trudging along beside me.

"I know. Your sister lost a shoe," I explained, my eyes darting wildly left and right, scanning the floor, hoping to find the beloved shoe.

Natalie, I'd like to point out, didn't appear to be troubled about this at all. In fact it sounded like she went, "Mwahaha!" as I frantically went down aisle after aisle.

I was even close to calling out, "Yellow shoe?" as though it would call back, "Yes? I'm over here in the towel section."

Oh no, the beautiful shoe is GONE. Her first time wearing it and it's GONE

But then...

I went down the laundry section and right underneath the rows of Tide was the shoe, cocked on one side as though someone had pushed it out of the way to get by.

For shame!

"I found it!" I said triumphantly as though I expected the entire store to stop what they were doing and breathe sighs of relief before erupting into applause.

I picked up the shoe and got smart. I took off Natalie's other shoe and stuck them both in the cart.

Yeah, my kid looked like one of those Wal-Mart kids who walk around with no shoes. But the thing is, she doesn't walk yet. So I figured it was okay. And I figure when she walks, she'll actually keep the shoes on. At least I hope so.

I went to look in the luggage section next. I needed to find a carry on bag for our trip to Disney. While I was looking at the bags, Natalie decided that she no longer wanted to sit. So she wiggled out of the safety belt, which is easy for her to do being as she's so dang skinny. She stood straight up and then tried to climb out.

"Natalie no!" I said sharply, gathering her in my arms. I struggled to get her back in the seat but she went stiff on me and refused to bend her legs. There I was trying to get a fourteen-month-old into a cart and she was brazingly refusing to bend her legs.

"Don't do that!" Natalie told me, shaking her head at me.

It's a phrase she just started to use. It's the same phrase I use when she's doing something wrong and she's picked up on it. So now if she knows she's doing something wrong she'll look me boldy in the eye and say, "Don't do that!" with a sharp shake of her head.

"Natalie, you need to sit," I lectured, manually bending her legs and slipping them through the slots.

Natalie was not pleased. She struggled to stand up again and let out a loud scream that caused several people around me to glance over.

Tommy clamped his hands over his ears. "Natalie. Stop it!"

Now, some child experts have differing opinions on what to do in this situation. The situation where the child has a complete meltdown in the store.

One expert suggests to simply scoop the child up and leave the store. To just stop what you are doing and walk right out which in turn shows them that you will not stand for such nonsense.

But that's blasphemy to me. I mean, leaving a store without buying a thing? Abandoning your cart? Then I'd feel bad for the workers who'd have to put everything away. So really, I'm being a polite customer by NOT leaving. Right? Sure I have a screeching baby but that's what ear plugs are for....

Another expert suggests to just ignore the child and that the child will eventually tire itself out and stop crying.

I'd like to know where these children are. Because when my kids start crying, it can take hours for them to stop.

However, I decided that I'd try this method. I went along with my shopping while Natalie wailed in her seat. When she'd try to stand up I'd set her back down and this would cause her to scream even louder. Snot was bubbling at her nose and she no longer looked like the adorable little baby that she normally is. Did she not realize that she was wearing an ultra adorable Gymboree outfit, complete with a matching hat?

Did she not realize that we were doing an amazing thing? SHOPPING. How can she cry during SHOPPING?!

"Natalie is being too loud," Tommy complained, his hands still over his ears.

"I know," I answered. "She'll eventually stop."

Hopeful thinking, I guess.

In the end, I picked her up. I'm one of those weird mothers who cannot stand to hear her children cry for over ten minutes. The minute I gathered her into my arms, Natalie ceased her tears as though they had never started to begin with. She gave a loud sniff and then gave me a wide grin.

At first I didn't mind holding her.

I can burn more calories like this. Get an arm workout while shopping.

But after five minutes my arms started to ache. Which means I need to start working out and fast. My arms should not be aching after five minutes. What a wimp!

Plus it was difficult to navigate the cart. I told Tommy he could push the cart but the minute he got a hold of it, he started going down the aisles at warp speed, nearly knocking over this poor old lady in one of those automated seat carts. So I took the cart back and somehow, awkwardly managed to get down the other aisles.

As I was looking at the book section this lady came over beside me and said, pointing to Natalie, "Oh she's just precious. Look at her in her hat!"

I usually relish these comments. The people on my children's clothing addiction board write about it often: how we feel this rush of happiness when someone else appreciates the clothes that we put our children in.

But this time I wanted to hand her over to the perfect stranger and say, "You can have her for a half hour so I can shop in peace."

I really wish stores would have drop in areas so parents can leave their children so they can shop in peace. It could be called The Unruly Children Drop Off or something like that. Of course the name wouldn't be PC and I can just see some of those Scary Mothers gathered and forming a picket against the name.

"Do we want to ruin our children's self esteem?" one insane mom will bellow. "No? Then let's change the name. Our children are NOT unruly. They are just SPIRITED. Let's here it for our SPIRITED children!"

Doesn't she realize that spirited is just a fancy word for unruly?

Okay, I'm kidding. (Sort of.)

But I can see some mothers rallying against the name. Some mothers will complain about anything.

When I stood in line to check out a woman behind me admired Natalie's outfit. Then she went, "Oh but she's so tiny!"

Which irks me a little bit.

I mean do I go up to a chubby baby and say, "Oh but she/he's so FAT!?"

That's right, I don't.

But it's perfectly acceptable for people to comment that a baby is tiny, making the mother feel like she's not doing something right. I should make a sign for Natalie that reads: "Yes I'm tiny. Yes I eat."

Then the woman continued, "My baby is TWICE her size and she's about the same age.."

Okay then. Why do people BRAG when their kids are big? Do they want me to say, "Congrats for having a fat baby?" I mean honestly. I never know what to say when people are all, "My baby was in twelve month clothing at FOUR months.." in this proud voice as though they're expecting applause or something. I always want to retort with, "Well my baby is 14 months and can still fit into some SIX month clothing. Hurray!"

I had to set Natalie back in the seat to pay and she was not pleased at first.

But then she figured that we were almost out of the store so she popped her thumb in her mouth and angrily sucked while I whipped out the debit cart and paid for $74 worth of items.

How does that happen?

How do I always manage to spend over $50 at Target?

And seriously, nothing was even for ME. I got 80 diapers for $19.99 (plus I had a dollar off coupon) and then some food items for Natalie. She actually likes the cheese flavored puff thingies and those apple flavored strips. Then a toothbrush for Tommy, because he tends to CHEW his toothbrush instead of actually brushing his teeth. Which means I have to come in and do it for him, which sets him off and causes him to screech, "I'm a BIG kid now. I can do it MYSELF!" And then I'll tell him that he actually has to BRUSH and not CHEW and he'll go, "But I'm NOT!" But then a few minutes later, there he is, chewing on his brush. Which means I have to replace his toothbrush every month because by then all the bristles are matted and falling out.

Then when we got home it was around naptime and I informed Natalie that it was about time to go "Night nights." Which caused her to crawl off underneath the table, a place where she knows that it's awkward to grab her. So there I was swiping my arm under, struggling to catch her, and she'd move back and giggle at me. So then I had to crawl UNDER the table and grab her and of course I hit my head.

So now I'm sitting here with a throbbing head and I feel like I've been cheated out of what could have been a blissful shopping experience.

The joys of parenting.


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