I parked the car and my heart thumped with excitement. I could feel my hands start to tingle with anticipation as I stepped out of the vehicle. I sucked in a deep breath of air and grinned as though I had an important secret to keep. I headed for the trunk and pulled out the stroller for my daughter Natalie, who was watching me from her cow print car seat. When I pulled open her door I went, “Are you going to sit in your stroller like a big girl?”
She nodded, her brown curls bouncing against her neck. I knew she was fibbing, God bless her. She’ll sit in her stroller for all of five minutes and then climb out. “All done!” she’ll say cheerfully, as though she had just accomplished a big favor for me. I’ll attempt to get her to sit back down but she’ll go stiff on me, refusing to bend her legs.
“Seriously,” I told Natalie gravely as I put her in the stroller. “You need to sit.”
“Okay Mommy,” she said sweetly even though we both knew she was lying through her teeth.
We walked into the mall and passed the boring stores that mean nothing to me. I used to like Spencer’s Gifts until they started filling it with all sorts of Twilight crap. I’d rather not have Edward’s creepy eyes following me as I giggle at the edible penis pasta, you know?
Natalie and I continued to blaze past the stores that didn’t interest us and then suddenly, there it was in its beige glory. A big smile formed on my face as my heart started to quicken again. I started to wonder if this was how Columbus felt when he discovered America—I mean, the poor guy was surrounded by water for months on end and then, oh my gosh, LAND!
Okay, so the two aren’t quite the same thing. But still. Whenever I see Gymboree I can’t help but feel ecstatic. My hands gripped the handle bar of the stroller and I headed determinedly towards the store. As I was approaching, a woman walked out with two bags stuffed with clothes and this was when my heart dropped.
She took everything! What if she’s taken all of Natalie’s sizes? What if she’s taken everything I wanted?
The thoughts swirled through my head and I craned my neck to try and see what she had in those bags as she clomped by. She clomped because she had on a pair of high heels that looked dangerous to walk in. She had on a smart pencil skirt with a button up blouse and her hair was twisted up in a neat bun on the top of her head. When I saw her, I immediately thought that she had to be a lawyer.
So, did the lawyer take all the clothes I wanted?
Could I SUE her for that?
When I walked into Gymboree my favorite worker was there. She gave me a wide grin, probably because she knows that I’m a great shopper. I’m not one of those annoying customers who ask a billion questions because by the time I get into the store, I basically know what I want. I know the clothing lines by name and I know exactly where Natalie’s section is.
“I take it you’re here for the Baby Sale,” the worker said knowingly.
I nodded. “Of course.” I always show up for the sales. The Baby Sale, in case you weren’t aware, means that all the items have $10 and $20 pricemarks. Plus, you can use a 20% off coupon which makes them $8 and $16. And if you have a Gymboree Visa (which I do for obvious reasons) you can save another 5%.
“Do you need help with anything?” the worker inquired as I spotted the dress I wanted.
“No. I think I’m set,” I replied and then started pushing the dress along the rack for Natalie’s size.
Did the lawyer take the size 2T?
At first I thought she had because I couldn’t find it. But then there it was, in the very back. I pulled it down and gazed at it lovingly.
“Isn’t it beautiful?” I cooed to Natalie.
Who was no longer in the stroller.
My poor heart, it was obviously abused that day because now it wasn’t thumping with excitement but now it was thumping with panic. My eyes scanned the store—it’s not that big—and then I found Natalie pressing her face against the ceiling to floor glass window.
“Natalie!” I admonished, rushing over, “We don’t do that! There are germs. Do you want to get the swine flu?”
Natalie giggled. “Yes!”
I scooped her up. “No you don’t want to get the swine flu,” I corrected, and carried her back to the stroller.
Of course she turned stiff on me. No matter how hard I tried to get her to sit, her legs refused to bend. Natalie just grinned up at me as I tried to set her back down as if to say, “You can try all you want, woman. I’m not sitting.”
I eventually gave up and placed her on my hip. But then she started reaching for a bunch of different clothes.
“No, Natalie,” I lectured. “You can’t touch.”
“EEEEEEEEE!” she went, right into my ear which immediately started to ring.
I set her down beside me. “Do you want to play with my cell phone?” I asked, digging it out of my purse. I handed it over.
Natalie turned it around her palm for a few seconds and then opened it. “Heddo?” she said into the receiver. “Heddo?”
I started to gather the other clothes I knew I wanted. This isn’t as easy as it sounds. Of course I had a list of things I knew I wanted to get in my mind. But then when you see OTHER clothes you start to long for those too. But then you remind yourself, no, you have a budget, you can’t get the adorable polka dot boots and the brown tutu....
It can give you quite a headache, really.
“All done, Mommy,” Natalie said, sticking the phone back into my purse. And then she started walking off.
“Natalie. You have to stay by Mommy,” I said firmly, trying to take her by the hand. She immediately yanked her hand from mine and shouted, “NO!” and stomped off into the boy section. She crossed her arms around her tiny chest and stuck her tongue at me.
Shopping with a two-year-old is almost as bad as shopping with a man.
I went over to her and squatted down to her level. “You may not behave like this. I understand that you’re bored and you’re welcome to watch the TV,” I said, pointing to the television that Gymboree has set up. The singing vegetables were on again. Vegetales which sort of creeps me out because I don’t want broccoli singing at me. Then again, the other shows Natalie watches aren’t exactly the picture of sane either.
Natalie thankfully decided to watch the television.
“A tomato!” she said cheerfully as she sat down in front of a tomato who was singing about...gee, I don’t know, being happy? I wasn’t paying attention.
It took me awhile to figure out if I wanted to buy the adorable brown tutu. I kept twirling it around in my hand and sighing at it. Tutus really aren’t practical but they look adorable on a little kid. But...Natalie already has a purple and pink tutu. I reminded myself of this as I stared wistfully at it and wished that I had a rich family member who would volunteer to buy whatever clothes I wanted.
I put the tutu back and realized that I better get going. Natalie was turning on the singing produce and I can tell from her expression that I had less than two minutes before she went running off. So I placed all the clothes on the counter and chit chatted with my favorite worker as she rang me up.
“Weeeeeee!” Natalie shrieked, racing past me as I paid. She stood at the entrance of the store. “Hi! Hi peoples!” she said, waving.
“She can be our greeter,” the store worker said.
Can she get paid in clothes? I wanted to ask.
When the worker handed me the orange yarn handles of the bag of clothes I felt a sense of satisfaction as I took hold of it. I couldn’t wait to try them on Natalie.
This is what I got:
The boots are not Gymboree. I got them from Target last year for 75% off.
I asked her to smile for the camera and she's like, "I just did, lady."
Then I put the pumpkin hat on her. I bought this last year on sale.
I asked if she wanted a sandwich for lunch and this was the look she gave me. A simple "no thanks" would have sufficed.
She's all, "Hi. My Mom is nutso!"
I just love love LOVE this dress. Oh, and if people are all, "Oh gosh, she probably spent a fortune on all of this!" just know that everything was $100 and I totally used the money I made from eBay from selling last year's clothes.
I asked if she wanted a chicken patty for lunch. She was thinking about it.
Natalie was all, "Circles on dress!"
On went the hat. I LOVE hats on kids. Sometimes Natalie just rips them off and I'm all, "No no darling, it's part of the ensemble." I think she's starting to comprehend this...
So run to Gymboree and tell them the crazy blog lady WhisperingWriter sent you!