Friday, June 19, 2009

Birthday Shopping

It’s my birthday.

So I went shopping.

I decided to head to Barnes and Noble first. I think I could spend an entire day in Barnes and Noble. When I walked through the doors I breathed in that familiar coffee smell and started perusing the new books.

This is the life....standing in Barnes and Noble, surrounded by books and...oh my God, look at that cheesecake in the display case at the bakery. I MUST try that cheesecake. Okay, so I have cake at home but not chocolate CHEESEcake. Plus, it’s my birthday and there are no such things as calories on birthdays. I just need to---

“Mommy. Natalie is leaving,” my son’s voice piped up.

Ahh nice. Natalie is leaving. She must be....

Then it suddenly dawned on me that Natalie was MY kid. And that she was totally taking off into the travel section.


I put the book I was looking at down and rushed off in pursuit of my daughter with my son at my heels. I was a little annoyed as I made my way past books about places that I will probably never get to go to. Before we had entered Barnes and Noble I had explained solemnly to my kids that it was a magical place that needed to be respected so they had to be quiet.

“Kind of like a church?” my son Tommy wondered.

I patted his head. “Yes! Kind of like a church!”

Why didn’t my daughter comprehend this? Is it so hard for her to stand in place for a few minutes? Didn’t she realize we were in BARNES and NOBLE?

I found Natalie crouching in front of the books about Disney. I have to give it to her, she has taste. I’d love to go back to Disney. Maybe one day.

I didn’t want to move too fast because if I did Natalie would probably take off again. So I sort of bent over and started speaking in soothing tones. I pretended she was an abandoned pet and that I was saving it from leaping off a cliff.

“Hi there, Natalie. Hi. I see you’re in front of the Disney books. Disney was so much FUN, wasn’t it?” I cooed as I slowly approached her. At my right Tommy started rushing over and I put a hand on his shoulder. “Stop,” I hissed. “If you move too quickly she’ll run again.”

Tommy nodded seriously and copied my movements. I was almost able to grab Natalie’s arm....almost....almost...

“Here’s the book about Tibet!” a woman’s voice rang out.

This was all Natalie needed to make another escape.


Dang lady, could you not have lowered you voice?

Natalie giggled over to the magazines and covered her face. Then she threw her palms open and shrieked, “Peekyboo!”

I managed to grab her this time.

“We do NOT run off,” I admonished her as I headed over to the fiction section. I had my arm around her waist and tucked up underneath my left armpit. She was not pleased but it gave me a few minutes to look through some books. I quickly picked one up for our trip to Texas next week.

I ended up buying this one:

As we were driving away I realized that I forgot to pick up the cheesecake.

Shopping with children is not fun.

But still, there was one place left that I wanted to pop into.


Gymboree is currently having their Red Balloon Sale and a bunch of things are $7.99 and under.

I had a $25 gift card from my best friend Jennifer because she knows me well.

When we got to the mall I put Natalie in her stroller and told her she had to SIT which is like a foreign word to her. My heart started beating with excitement as I made my way to Gymboree. I was thrilled to search through the clearance racks—who knows what I might find? Maybe I’d discover—

“Mommy! Wait up!”

I realized that I was walking so fast that my son was a few feet behind me.


“Sorry Tommy,” I said as he caught up.

When we walked into the store another burst of excitement went through me when I saw the clearance racks set up towards the front. There were two other women going through the racks and at first I gazed at them with appreciation. They probably understood completely how exciting children’s clothing could be. They probably wouldn’t look confused when I gushed about the different line names. In short these were my people!!

As I was thinking this one of the women realized I was looking over and shot me an evil look.

Well. Okay. Maybe she’s not my people after all. She probably just walked into the store because she was enticed by the giant sale sign and would gape at me in confusion if I rambled on about how Sweeter than Chocolate was one of my favorite lines from the store.

Plus, she couldn’t be one of my people anyway. She had a huge pile of clothes draped across her arm. Wait a minute. She was stealing all the deals! I can’t let someone who isn’t even into Gymboree steal all the deals! I walked determinedly over to the rack and started going through it. All the sizes were much too large for my children. As I was debating buying a shirt in a size 5—-because after all, Natalie would EVENTUALLY get there—-I heard Tommy say,

“Mommy, Natalie is leaving the stroller.”


I stared at the stroller and realized she was calmly climbing out of it.

“No, Natalie,” I said sternly.

She immediately took offense and tilted her head back and emitted a scream that caused everyone in the store to look over.

I quickly dug in my purse and handed her my cell phone.

“Here. Take this!” I practically shoved it at her.

Natalie quieted down and happily took it. If ever anyone receives a strange text message from me, it’s likely because Natalie has my phone. Just an FYI.

I was able to go through the racks but I didn’t find much.

Slightly dejected, I went to check out. As I went to pay Natalie suddenly announced, “I farted.”

Lovely. She’s been saying that for the past few days and I’ve explained more than once that that’s the sort of news that one keeps to themselves. But she doesn’t seem to comprehend and it’s been “I farted” several times a day to the point where I’ve started to wonder if she could benefit from some Beano.

The girl who was ringing up my clothes looked up in shock when Natalie announced her flatulence.

“She didn’t say what you think,” I said in a rushed voice. “She said...'I started' because she started to play a game on the cell phone.”

Look, I go into Gymboree a lot. I can’t have them thinking that I’m the customer with the kid that announces that she’s cut the cheese. I just CAN’T.

The check out girl looked impressed. “She can already play games?” she said incredulously as she put my clothes in a bag.

I nodded. “Yes. Just the, um, easy ones.” To be honest, I don’t even know if games are even ON my cell phone. I reached over and surreptitiously pulled the cell phone from Natalie’s mouth and tried to send her a silent message that she needed to look as though she were playing a game.

“Have a good day,” the girl said, handing me my receipt.

“Thanks,” I replied. “It’s my birthday so I intend to have a good day.”

Now, what I was hoping that would happen in response to birthday announcement is that balloons would fall from the ceiling and Michael Phelps would pop out of the back blowing a whistle and that the CEO of Gymboree would stroll out from the back and ceremoniously hand me a $5000 gift card to the store.

What really happened is that the girl looked bored, blew a bubble with her gum and gave me a pity, “Happy Birthday,” because she was probably tired of me looking at her expectantly.

Oh well.


  1. Happy Birthday! Sorry you didn't get the cheesecake. I think you deserve it.

  2. Happy Birthday! I ran across your blog the other day and I totally love it. You have an exceptional talent for seeing the comedic value of everyday life. Hope to see your stories in print one day!

  3. mean you didn't receive the gift I sent? Gee, I hope that $10,000 gift voucher and years supply of cheesecakes didn't go astray....

  4. Happy Birthday! Today was my mom's birthday too. I called her first thing this morning.

    I am a bookstore junkie. I love love love Barnes & Noble! I could seriously spend hours strolling through the aisles and gazing at all the lovely books and smelling them and touching them.

    And, the coffee. OMG!

    Speaking of which, about a month or so ago I went to Borders and browsed around for a couple hours and while there I sucked down TWO cafe mochas. When I got home I felt as though I had inhaled an eight ball of cocaine.

    Not sure if it was from the coffee or the books!

  5. Happy Birthday and YES Barnes and Noble is one of the "Happiest Places on Earth!!!"

  6. Happy Birthday! May you get an entire day at B & N on your own to browse and eat cheesecake!

  7. Awww...that stinks!! I wish I could send you some chocolate cheescake and coffee...and a really good book!!

  8. Happy Birthday! The night is still young. Maybe Michael Phelps will show up at your door before the evening is over.

  9. First of all, HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I think you need a nice trip all by yourself to Barnes and Noble ... get the cheesecake and have the time to properly worship. It is my birthday wish for you.

    And good cover on the farted thing!
    : )

  10. At least she doesn't laugh hysterically after 15 year old does.


  11. Happy Birthday! Hope it was a great one... even though you didn't get the chocolate cheesecake.

    The only book of Shannon Hale's I have read is Austenland... and I thought it was pretty good. Have you read any other of her books?

  12. Happy Happy Birthday!!! :) Ah, the joys of living with children! YOu know, you can order cheesecake to be delivered to you. They actually MAIL it in that special cool box. Probably shouldn't have told you that.

  13. OH and I LOVE SHANNON HALE! I just hadn't read anything of hers above children level. I've read Goose Girl... the one before and after that.

  14. Happy birthday!!! Wow, what a birthday it was, right?

    My daughter does the same exact thing in B & sons are totally enamored with the Thomas the train display so I can usually get a good 5 minutes of reading in before my daughter gets bored and runs off. UGH!

    I have to say I love your sense of humor....everytime I read your posts, I think how easily it could be me writing the same exact things. Our lives seem pretty similar...thank goodness, we both have one hell of a sense of humor, right?

  15. I don't mean to offend with this version of Happy Birthday, but my nephew sang it to me during my last birthday and it's so cute I simply can't resist! He was two and a half at this point so bear with me...

    Happy birthday to you! You live in a zoo! You look like a monkey! And smell like one too! :)

  16. Happy Birthday!! Natalie's my kinda girl! Embrace that flatulence sister!

  17. I love gymboree! I do the clothes shopping as part of my job as a nanny for 4 kids and gymboree is one of the top stores I shop at. I have it down to a system. I get the kids pretzel bites, MUST have the double stroller for the two youngest and then plop them in front of the tv at Gymboree while I browse the racks!

  18. It's great that B&N keeps a train table in the store, but if they really loved me, they would take it out of the kids' section and put it in fiction so I could browse at leisure.

    And I will be heading to Gymboree today. Thanks for the sales tip

    Happy birthday!

  19. Hauoli La Hanau friend :)

    Um, I think I just farted too!

    Buwahahahaha...I had to. Sorry. Such a funny story.

  20. Let me know if people laugh when you say you're going to OPEN YOUR BOWELS!!! I bet they do!!

    Hallie :)

  21. Happy Birthday. Mine is next Sunday & I was thinking of getting some Cheesecake from Cheesecake factory too or a red velvet cupcake. I usually get a cake every year, but I don't really need to eat a whole cake by myself. That's what usually happens.

  22. Belated Happy Birthday!!!

    A fellow SITSta dropping by to show some love from

  23. Yay it's your birthday! Happy Birthday! Hope the rest of it was good even without cheesecake!

  24. Look, I go into Gymboree a lot. I can’t have them thinking that I’m the customer with the kid that announces that she’s cut the cheese. I just CAN’T.

    ~ That is so funny!

    Happy Birthday! When I went to NY I took pictures of Barnes and that sad? I love books and bookstores!

  25. A belated birthday greeting. Loved the way you described your day.

  26. Happy Birthday! The fun never ends, does it?

    And, Tom so owes you...

  27. You do know how to celebrate, don't you?
    Happy birthday. You still need to treat yourself to the cheesecake.

  28. Happy Birthday - now get yourself some cheesecake, stat.

    There are no friends at big sales...

    My big girls will fart then compliment each other - GOOD ONE! followed by a high five.

  29. i would be pissed that i missed my cheesecake :( what's a birthday without cheesecake? really?

  30. Happy Birthday! I just started reading your blog and it's become one of my favorites! I love your writing style. I have a 3 year old daughter and 1 year old son and love shopping at Gymboree too - your experience sounds pretty similar to my typical experience. Hope you found something good!

    (btw, I'm on GF too and saw the link to your blog in your siggy, that's how I found it :-) )

  31. Happy Birthday!
    Dare I say that I don't like cheesecake? Okay, I'll shut up now.

  32. Oh my goodness! I never thought it would happen to me... Our playdate went great today! Except for at dinner... My friend's daughter declared at dinner... "I farted!" I just about died!

  33. Happy Birthday! Mine was Tuesday, good week to be born :)

  34. Your birthday is a day after mine!!!!!!!!!!! What a great story too, it's so fun to go shopping for your birthday! Happy Birthday!

  35. Happy birthday girl! You should totally go drop the kids off at the neighbor's house and head back to B&N to get that cheesecake! And to spend at least an hour lazily perusing the aisles and aisles of books!

  36. Wishing you a scent-sational birthday! And may you find the time to quietly enjoy your new book.

    Scnt-sationally yours

  37. First of all, Happy Birthday! And how dare that child misbehave in the mecca that is Barnes and Noble! Oh how I love that store!! ANd just so you know... that cheesecake is awesome.. I'm not rubbing it in or anything... just sayin'...

  38. Happy Birthday! Love your posts and outlook on life. May you get to visit B & N (soon) by yourself so you can enjoy browsing and that piece of cheesecake. :)

  39. HAPPY BIRTHDAY my fellow Gemini!!

    I totally believe that Heaven is a Barnes & Noble with a Starbucks inside. ;)

  40. I hope that you had that best Birthday and maybe soon you can enjoy Barnes and Noble by yourself.

  41. You deserve to have had a wonderful Birthday! I bought a Barnes and Noble franchise in your name. . . it's yours whenever you are ready to move in! Happy Birthday. . . wouldn't that be fun?

    By the way, I left you something at my place if you choose to accept the challenge.

  42. I love ANY kind of bookstore. What I usually do is browse through all the new titles, and write down the ones I want to read on a piece of paper. I have a list of hundreds of books I plan to read. Then I take them out from the library because I can't afford to buy all the ones I want to read!

    You can get great buys on the sale rack at Gymboree if those two women didn't hog everything!

    Maybe if you can convince your daughter to say "tooted" instead of "farted", it would be more "pc"!

  43. Happy Birthday!

    I hope you enjoy reading your book as much as I enjoyed reading this entry! :)

    So Natalie is gifted... she can fart, announce the event and text message - umm... I hope she doesn't cause any international incidences...

    p.s., get some cheesecake... you deserve some.

  44. Happy Birthday :)

    And you totally deserve that cheesecake... I hope you got some!! It's only fair...

  45. Happy belated Birthday! Hope you had a wonderful day!

  46. You poor thing! Happy belated b-day!

    Shannon Hale's got a new book out? I LOVE her! Have you read Austenland?

  47. I'm so far behind that I'm just now catching up on all the blogs I missed, and I realize I missed your birthday. Hope it was a great one!


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