“I’m going shopping and I’m leaving the kids here,” I told Tom yesterday. I had just read in an article that it’s best to just tell the husband that you’re leaving the kids with him rather than just ask.
“Fine,” he answered, switching the channel to Spongebob. I can’t understand how a grown man can love a show about a sponge so much. Sometimes he says that he puts it on for the kids but a lot of the time the kids are off doing their own thing and it’s just him sprawled on the couch watching the television.
“I’m also going to Gymboree,” I continued. It was gymbuck redemption day. It basically means I get half off whatever I spend.
“Keep it under a hundred,” Tom replied, not bothering to take his eyes off the screen.
Actually, I was planning on spending less than that. But I didn’t say this. This way if there is another sale I can be all, "Well, I didn't spend the entire hundred, remember? So I still have like fifty leftover from that.."
“If you’re buying me clothes then I have to come,” Tommy piped up. He’s gotten really picky on what he wears. He's been telling me, "I don't want to dress like a nerd!" Does he even know what a nerd is? The last I checked, he thought nerds were a candy.
“Fine. You can come,” I said. Tommy isn’t the one who rushes me. He has his moments when he asks if we’re almost done but at least he doesn’t scream like his sister does. That is a total shopping buzz kill.
Tommy and I headed to the mall. I always stop by JC Penney because sometimes I can find some fabulous deals. I was in the middle of browsing a rack when this old lady walked by and said, “How nice! An older sister bringing her brother out.”
It took me a few seconds to realize that she was talking about us. I actually planned on just giving her a polite smile but then Tommy said,
“This isn’t my sister! This is my Mom!”
The old lady looked gobsmacked. Her eyes went huge behind her gigantic glasses. “You can’t be a Mom! You’re, what, sixteen?” she guessed.
I get this a lot. I know I look young for my age. And actually, it can be flattering. But sometimes I get tired of old ladies insisting that I’m too young to have children. It happens a lot. Suppose I did have a kid at sixteen? Then what? Would I get a mile long lecture? I’m never quite sure about this because I always say,
“Actually, I’m twenty seven.”
I said this to the old lady and she wrinkled her nose at me. “Are you sure?”
No. I’m not sure. I’m deranged and I go around telling people I’m twenty seven when I’m really sixteen.
Plus, if I were sixteen, this would mean that I would have had Tommy when I was, ew, nine.
“I’m positive.” I flashed the lady my biggest old-ladies-rock smile and willed her to go away. But she didn’t. She just stood there scrutinizing me as though I were about to break out into song or something. Now I know what animals at the zoo feel like.
I was about to offer to show her my driver’s license but then she meandered off into the women’s section.
“Why did that lady think you were my sister?” Tommy whispered at me. I think he was a little freaked out too.
“Because I look young,” I explained.
Tommy looked confused. “You don’t look young to me.”
Gee son. Thanks.
After that we headed off to Gymboree. Ahh, Gymboree. I recognized the woman behind the counter and said hello. They know me well there.
“Okay Tommy. You can pick something out,” I told him.
He sort of stood there beside me like a lump. This is how his father shops too. When Tom had to get some new shorts he stood there in confusion as though he were expecting all the store workers to rush over to him with various choices.
Sorry, Tom. Maybe if we ever strike it rich we can go into those fancy boutiques where you get to sit and sip champagne and watch as gorgeous people model outfits for you.
“Over here, Tommy,” I said and led him by the arm to his section.
He started going through a rack. “I don’t like ANY of these things,” he informed me seriously.
“Keep looking,” I prodded.
While he was flicking through shirts I kept hearing the strangest song in the background.
I’m a manatee! or something like that.
“What in the WORLD is that?” I muttered.
At least I thought I muttered it. But I guess I said it really loud because the store worker said, “Oh. I put on the store television in case your son wanted to watch.”
I craned my neck and saw that it was Veggie Tales. There was a singing cucumber on a boat.
I didn’t tell her that my son doesn’t even LIKE cucumbers to eat and probably would not like watching one sing a song. About a manatee.
“I’ll take this,” Tommy’s voice said over the irritating song. He shoved it in my arms. He's quick like his Daddy.
Then I headed over to Natalie’s section. I love shopping for little girls. Their clothes are the cutest things ever. Thank goodness I only have one girl. Otherwise I’d be broke.
It took me forever to figure out what outfit I wanted for her.
Did I want the red dress? She looks really good in red.
But...wait...this navy jumper is adorable with the matching beret! I’ve got to get that!
No! Look at this skirt! I have to get this skirt! But with what shirt?
Thank goodness Natalie wasn’t with me. Usually she’s running around the store like a crazed animal and I’m so busy chasing her that I barely have time to look.
Oh my gosh! Knee high socks! I’ve GOT to get Natalie knee high socks. But she’s short so the knee high socks would probably look like strange pants. Maybe she'd start a new fad and we'd get on E! and Guliana Rancic would interview us and be all, "How did you discover that knee high socks could be the new pants?" Then I'd be all, "Oh, I was in my favorite store Gymboree.." and I'd wink at the camera and would hope that the CEO of Gymboree would take that as his cue to send me boxes of free clothes..
Hey. A girl can dream.
Finally I settled on the navy jumper outfit.
When we got back home Tom was in the same position that I left him in. He was on the couch watching Spongebob. Natalie was no where to be seen.
“Where’s the baby?” I said. I have a habit of calling her the baby even though she’s two.
“Playing,” Tom responded.
“Playing WHERE?” Wasn’t he worried that she was attempting to jump out a window? Or playing with knives? Or..or..climbing into the dryer and turning it on?
It turns out she was just at the bookcase pulling out all my beautiful books that I had neatly arranged by genre.
“Natalie! Please. We don’t mess up Nicholas Sparks. How many times do I have to tell you that?” I said, taking away The Notebook from her grubby hands.
Then I wagged the Gymboree bag at her. “Do you want to try on your new outfit?”
I expected her to jump up and down and shriek, “Yes! Of course Mommy, OF COURSE!”
Instead she screamed, “NO!” and ran upstairs.
Tom found this hilarious.
I eventually coaxed her back down. I did not bribe. Fine, I bribed a little bit and promised her some ice cream after dinner. Actually, we were going to have ice cream anyhow but she didn't have to know that.
This is the outfit. You can't tell but those are weiner dogs on the collar. I showed it to Tom and he went, "Um. You hate dogs." Okay, I don't HATE dogs. I just worry that they're going to bite out my throat.
Doesn't she look impressed?
Clearly she thinks I'm nuts. What has this woman put on my head NOW?
She was telling me "all done, Mommy. All done."
So fine. I moved onto her brother's new shirt.
Doing a Zoolander pose. Or Bruno. I have no clue. He was all, "I'm just being handsome, Mommy." I didn't tell him that with his lips out like that that he reminded me of a fish.
Then Natalie had a fit because she wanted more pictures. Even though she had told me all done. I seriously think she's going through PMS early. Good gracious.
I changed her into the outfit that her Grandma bought her while in Texas:
And then, guess what?
She threw a fit! She didn't WANT to take pictures after all.
She was screaming, "ALL DONE! ALLL DONNNNNEEE!" The neighbors even poked their heads out to see what all the commotion was about.
So I sat her down and started speaking to her in calm but firm tones like Supernanny suggests. I explained that she wanted to take some pictures and that, by God, she was GOING to take some pictures. She was all, "WTF lady? What are you prattling on about now?"
Ten seconds later she was happy again and flashing me her belly button. I'm cool with this. It's when she flips up her entire shirt when I get nervous.
Belly buttons rock! Let's just keep ours unpierced, okay love?