I had this brilliant idea last Saturday to take the girls to the revamped Super Target near us. Caitlin needed shoes for water play at daycare so we headed straight for the shoe department. Immediately I saw that all the infant sandals were on sale and I started searching for Amelia’s size. Mistake number one. Caitlin knew we were there for HER shoes. She started whining, but it was tolerable. I recruited her to help me find shoes with a size 4 on them for sissy and she was a happy camper as soon as she had a mission. After getting on my knees to find the only pair of size 4 sandals on the bottom of a lower shelf in the wrong bin, we searched for water shoes. Caitlin wanted the bigger girl water shoes but I explained that they were too big and she had to get the pink ones or blue ones in her size. There was a little more whining, but she was happy when I put the new pool shoes on her feet. Then we headed to the toddler sandals area. I tried to sell her on one of the many pairs on clearance but who can compete with clearance when there are Dora shoes on the same aisle? And Dora light-up shoes no less! Of course, as luck would have it, they didn’t have the light-up sandals in her size so we settled on a normal, boring pair of non-light up Dora sandals. Then Amelia started fussing. Amelia has always been the world’s easiest baby but lately she must climb over, run over, and topple over everything in sight. I let her down and she immediately runs down the aisle, glances back mischeviously and toddles out of the shoe department. I chase her down and try to put her back in the cart but she will have none of it so I let her explore the shoe department for a bit so she can get her damn ya yas out. By now my patience has run thin, my sinus headache is back like a bad boyfriend and I’m sweating like I’ve been eating extra spicy buffalo wings so I decide it’s time to get the heck out of there. And also, apparently I was coming down with pneumonia so no wonder I was a little pissy.
As I head toward the cash register (by now I am holding Amelia with one arm and pushing the cart with Caitlin in it with my other arm) I stupidly walk by the bins of cheap summer toys beckoning us to enter the toy department. Caitlin pleads, “I want a toy mommy! Please mommy!” So I tell her she can pick something quickly. She can’t make up her mind so I grab some bubbles and I bribe Amelia to get back in the cart with some random plastic toy. Like an idiot I push the cart through the toy department because apparently I haven’t learned to leave a store before someone has a meltdown. Hell then unravels itself by the outdoor toys and pool accessories aisle and Caitlin started pointing to toys and generally whining and fussing and yelling that she didn’t want to go home. I told her if she wanted her bubbles she needed to behave and she said feistily, “I don’t want those bubbles!” so I put those suckers back and hightailed it to the cash register. Everything was fine until she realized I really had ditched the bubbles and she starts screaming “Mama I want my bubbles!!!!” over and over again and crying her eyes out. By then there was someone behind me in line and by God I wasn’t going all the way back to the toy department for 99 cent bubbles when she has a gallon of bubbles at home. So she kicked and screamed and I somehow managed to get her in her car seat while Amelia sat quietly observing her older sister’s behavior and people gave me disapproving glances in the parking lot all the while wondering what kind of mother denies her kid bubbles AND smacks her kid on the leg AND drags her precious young children to Target when it’s 100 degrees outside and naptime.
So what lessons did I learn?
Even though Caitlin’s afternoon naps are hit or miss on the weekends, she still needs downtime in the afternoon so I need to avoid shopping in stores where she will be overstimulated by Hello Kitty, Dora, and Disney Princess merchandise at every corner. I mean it’s basically like taking a crack addict to a crack house and saying “looky, no touchy.”
When you start to even suspect your children have reached their shopping limit, sprint as fast as you can to the cash register. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.
Listen to the little inner voice that is telling you it’s time to leave the store. The voice telling you that it won’t hurt things to stay just a few more minutes is the same devilish voice that tells you to have that one last beer at the frat party and the same devilish voice that convinces you it’s OK to eat two bowls of ice cream because you drank a lot of water that day. Yeah, right.
And finally, one can really never have too many bubbles.