Shopping with Children - Never. Again.

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Our nearest mall is an hour away. After hearing tales of how other moms I know have survived shopping with toddlers, I decided to give it a go. I don't know why I put myself through these things.

When you see experienced mall rats, their kids are sitting still, strapped into strollers. They do things like look around, suck pacifiers, play with their shoes, and eat snacks. Not my kids. They must be active at. all. times.

I knew better, deep down. But we went anyway. I have never once attempted to shop for clothes for myself with them along.

No, wait, I lied. There was that one time. I was just blocking it out of my memory.

Two years ago, I took them to Target because I needed a postpartum bathing suit. (Yay.) I had a sleeping baby wrapped to me, so I could only try on bottoms. Then, in all my wriggling around, she woke up, so I had to nurse her in the dressing room while my 2-year-old discovered the trap door and got out of the shopping cart, then ducked under the dressing room door and ran away. So I did what any sane person would do. I ran out of the dressing room in nothing but a bathing suit bottom, while nursing a baby. I was all the way out past the counter before I realized I was topless, so I just used the baby to cover up and kept running. I eventually caught him, in the men's boxers section.

Never again, I promised myself. Never. Again.

But that was 2 years ago. Things are kind of easier now. Besides, it's still chilly here and I figured by now sweaters are bound to be on sale.

I decided to break up the trip. First we went to Goodwill. They weren't too wild yet, but I nervously perused the kids clothes while they played on the toy aisle ever so slightly out of sight, and 15+ feet away. Just far enough that I couldn't hear if they up and ran away in the blink of an eye. I didn't find anything for clothes for them, but we bought a book called King Mitch Had an Itch as well as some classic Dick and Jane books and an obnoxious toy electric rotary saw that was totally worth the giggles for $1.

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Then on to the mall...

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She stayed in the stroller for a few minutes, long enough to enter Macy's, and stroll directly to the clearance rack of long-sleeved shirts. About 80 seconds into this, C ducks into the clothing rack behind me, which was pretty cute. Remembering this as one of my favorite activities growing up, I gave in to G's whining to get out of the stroller. They were having such a good time in there, I had to peek, and of course this started uproarious laughter.

And how do you stop doing whatever it is you're doing that makes your kids laugh? You can't. You have to continue.

So to the passer-by, there is a crazy lady popping up over the rack, yelling, "PEEK-A-BOO!" to seemingly no one.

Then I realized I had to turn my attention to shopping. I managed to collect a few more shirts, but then realized only one of the children was still in the rack. The shirts I was holding flapped like sails as I chased C into the perfume department. I managed to corral them for a moment, but that was the end of my sovereignty. They were now in control.

This kind lady caught one for me. He loved her jewelry.

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Then he wanted a makeover.

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G ran behind the makeup counter. Turns out many makeup counters have these fun little rolling tub stools.

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I *did* manage to try on shirts. I strapped G into the stroller, made some sort of deal with C, and while G whined and cried and screamed the entire time, I tried on 5 tops as fast as humanly possible, one after the other, not even stopping to turn used shirts inside out. I bought them all.

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Some guy yelled at me for letting my kids touch the chocolates. Seriously? He should have been nicer. I have the power to bring them back with ice cream.

But first, Baby Gap. She became very opinionated.

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After pretending I had no quarters or ways to get quarters, I caved.

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Then, ice cream time.

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Total time at mall: 2 hours 37 minutes. Time spent trying on clothes for myself (my objective): 95 seconds. Time I wish I had back: 0

Here are some things we bought in Bangor:

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