"Mommy! They can't stay in the car! They just can't. They're HUMAN BEINGS!" Natalie said dramatically.
I sighed and rubbed my temples. When did school start again? How much longer did I have to take her out with me? Sometimes she's not difficult but today....
"First of all," I started calmly, "they aren't human beings. They're stuffed. That's a stuffed Rapunzel and a stuffed shark. They'll be fine in the car."
Natalie stomped her foot down. "They don't want to! They'll be lonely! They want to shop too." She hugged Rapunzel close. "It's okay, Rapunzel, I won't leave you, ever."
Oh for heaven's sake.
"Fine. Take Rapunzel. The Shark stays."
Natalie sniffed. "That's fine. The shark prefers the car to Target."
We walked into the store and grabbed a cart. I placed Natalie in the basket of the cart for two reasons: 1) so she couldn't go far and 2) so it would prevent me from buying too much. Target has given me problems before. It's like it has something new that I feel I need around every corner. This worked great for ten minutes. Then Natalie was like, "My feet need to walk." I pretended I didn't hear her and continued to go through the 70% off clothing.
"I said," Natalie repeated, "my feet need to walk." She stood up and tugged on my arm. This caused a woman next to use to gasp.
"Don't fall out, dear," she said to Natalie.
"I won't. I balance. But my mommy won't let me out," Natalie tattled.
Thanks, kid. I lifted her out before the woman could accuse me of being cruel. WHEN DID SCHOOL START AGAIN?!
Shopping with Natalie takes a lot of the fun out of it. She doesn't find it appealing to search through clearanced clothes or read the backs of books. She'd prefer not to check the ends of aisles to make sure I don't miss a clearanced deal. No, what she wants to look at are...
"Mommy? When can we see the toys?"
And then she takes forever. And then she asks for the toy. And then she pouts when I say no.
Only when we went, she had Christmas money, so that meant she could get a toy.
She went up and down the toy aisles.
"You know you don't HAVE to spend your money," I reminded her. "You could save it."
Natalie gave me a Look as though I just told her Rapunzel farted.
"Saving is important," I continued.
"If you don't find anything you want, you could save it," I reiterated.
"I want everything," Natalie said simply.
"But I think I'm going to get this cute cat." She picked up one of those fur-real friends that make noises. Lovely.
She also picked up Vanellope for her Disney Infinity game.
"Great. Ready to go?" I asked, which was a mistake, because all the experts say that you shouldn't ASK a child when you want them to do something, you should just SAY what will happen.
"No. I'm going to look at Legos now." She held her new kitty close. "It's okay. I'm here now. I'm taking you home."
We looked at Legos. And then we looked at Nerf guns. And then she had to touch every single ball in the store.
I was ready to go home.
"We're done!" I sing-songed. "Let's get back in the cart." I went to scoop her up and she backed up. "My kitty, Vanellope, and me don't want to do that. We'd like to walk."
"Fine," I said. "Let's head to check out."
"But," Natalie answered sweetly, "we didn't look at the candy."
No, I didn't. I wanted to. Instead I swallowed it down and said we could look at the candy and go.
This took another fifteen minutes. Natalie wanted her kitty and Vanellope to stare at all the choices.
"My kitty likes chocolate. Vanellope likes the gummy bears."
I know I'm supposed to cherish these moments with her. I know it. Soon she'll get older and want nothing to do with me. But I have my limits.
We eventually made our way out of the store. But not before Natalie said goodbye to her clothing section ("goodbye cute D-signed pants. Goodbye cute sweater!") and the makeup area, ("I can't wear you. Mommy says no and that I'm not a scary pageant child.")
School, by the way, starts tomorrow. Oklahoma gets a long break.
When she gets older I imagine shopping trips will become more pleasant.