Warning: this is a long post. I ramble. I vent. And I take up far too much of your time.
This day was a roller coaster of giggling, loving highs and defiant, nervous-breakdown lows. Here’s how it went down:
I got up this morning and went into hyper-cleaning mode. I thought that a friend was coming over (which I totally misunderstood), so I wanted to
hide the dirty laundry keep my house sparkling clean for her arrival. I also had 8.5 billion errands to run (okay, so technically it was 2, but I had three children with me, so it may as well have been 8.5 billion). Plus we were recently blessed with season passes to a local amusement park, and I told Punkin that we could go after nap time.
We rushed around doing baths and laundry and dishes and vacuuming and making breakfast and cleaning up breakfast just in time for the friend’s arrival at 10:00. Around 10:30 I realized my mind no longer functions at full capacity and I had totally botched the plans. Silly me. But at least this gets us out the door earlier. Yay.
Errand number one was returning 4 ginormous poofy flower girl dresses to the store because they’re the wrong color (tip to the world: white is NOT the same as ivory. The beautiful bride to be didn’t know this. We still love her oodles and oodles, though). So I packed up a stroller, water bottle, baby bottle, purse-o-crap, chi-chi (that’s Goo’s beloved blanket), poofy dresses, three girls, and a bag of pretzels, and hit the road. We arrive at the mall, and I awkwardly load Smush, my purse-o-crap, and the dresses all into the stroller, precariously balancing the dresses on top with one hand while trying to steer with the other hand, and praying that Goo will stay with me as we make the dangerous trek through the parking lot and into the mall.
Going to the mall with the kids is always an adventure, because it’s a wonderland of colorful, expensive things just screaming to be touched by little hands. I wait in line, reminding the girls ever 3.5 seconds that they cannot climb on the couches and bedding displays because they were traipsing through puddles before we came in, only to find out that because the dresses were purchased by someone else, using their credit card, I can only get store credit. It is decided that I do not need $200 of store credit for these 4 dresses, and I load them back up and journey back to the car, kids and dresses in tow, to unload the glorious gowns.
Now free of cumbersome garments, the kids and I hightail it back into the mall for errand number two: exchanging a bachelorette gift at Gilly Hicks (a cross between Hollister and Victoria’s Secret). Cue the dread. I can barely make it through that dark, odorous, lingerie-strewn store without falling down their 14 sets of stairs when I’m by myself. But hauling a 1-year-old who still isn’t walking, a precocious 3-year-old, and Punkin? God help me.
There are several reasons to avoid taking three small children to Gilly Hicks. The first being that there are stairs everywhere. Each section is in a different room on a different level and you have to go up and down stairs 17 times to make it through their maze of lace thongs, push up bras, and way-too-short shorts. It’s a great place for pretty lingerie for a bride-to-be, but not a place I want to bring my 7-year-old.
The second reason I’ve already stated: it’s a glorified lingerie store. My girls will one day grow up and need bras, I know. And someday, when they’re 40 and can start dating, they may want to purchase pretty lace things to wear for their husbands. That doesn’t mean I want to explain today that those underwear aren’t ripped, that string is supposed to be there.
The third reason: they have make-up, lotion, and perfume. All arranged in eye-catching displays in pretty bottles that draw curious hands like moths to a flame. It’s an accident waiting to happen.
The fourth reason is obvious in my opinion, but may make me an old stick in the mud. I don’t actually enjoy pictures of nearly naked people. The only bum I want to see is Smush’s, because everybody knows baby bums are just adorable. But first thing in the store is their art display, complete with an almost life-size portrait of a naked man hiding his, umm, unmentionables. Thankfully I play it off like I’m herding cattle and block the view of the offensive material, directing Punkin and Goo toward the table with the perfume. At this point, I just want to grab the right size, exchange the gift I purchased, and get out of there like a bat out of Hades. The problem is that every time I turn around, I get this visual: an adorable 3-year-old, with light brown bouncy ringlets and a cute dress, grabbing satin thongs off the hangers and tossing them on the floor.
My whole experience was something like, “Goo, no! Stop! No touching the underronies. Leave them there … Okay, where are the bras so I can grab the right size and get the heck out of … Goo! You can’t touch the perfume. Those are fragile. No touching … Okay, bra, check. Underwear, where are the under … Goo? Goo? Goo! Stay with Mommy. Put that down and stay with me. This place is like an underground mining system. Stay. With. Me!”
Sigh. I managed to finish up, and then because I’m completely insane, decided to stop in the dress section of the original store on our way out, to see if I can snag a dress to wear to the wedding. What was I thinking? I mean really. After the Gilly Hicks nightmare, what made me think, “You know what would be a great idea? Herding my three hungry, rambunctious children through a giant department store while I try to be productive.” Goo and Smush are touching everything, because they’re shiny and sparkly and fancy. I grab two dresses, and head for the handicap dressing room so I can cram myself and my caravan into one stall. That one stall? The only stall that will fit all 3 of us? It’s occupied. By one lady. By herself. Taking her sweet freakin time getting changed. Goo at this point thinks the stall is a bathroom, announces she has to go potty, and hikes her dress up, revealing…drum roll please…
She has no underwear on. Again. She does this all the time, because she goes potty, and then just leaves her underwear off, without telling me. Sigh. One of these days I’ll remember to check her bum before we leave the house.
The rest of the time is spent desperately searching for a bathroom, fitting room, shoving myself into a dress at the speed of light, rushing through the checkout, and heading home. We wrap up the day with Smush dumping hair accessories all over the bathroom floor, Goo unravelling a whole roll of toilet paper, and throwing a tantrum because … well, I don’t remember. But there was at least one tantrum.
By the end of the day I. was. so. done. I wanted to
drug them all and throw them in their beds read them a bedtime story and tuck them in with love and kisses. Goo, naturally, protested bedtime, which made me reach DEFCON 5. And then it happened:
Smush started whining to come up into the bed with us. I grabbed her, and she started giggling and climbing all over Goo, which made Goo giggle, which made me giggle. Punkin joined us, and Smush sat up and pinched my nose.
I made the obligatory nasally voice, and she thought it was the greatest thing ever. The girls erupted in laughter, pinching each other’s noses and making funny voices, with Smush alternating between pinching my nose, giggling, and throwing her arms around me in a huge baby hug. Every ounce of anger and frustration was gone, and I relished in 5 minutes of uninterrupted laughter, love, and snuggles with all three of my girls. Smush saved the day , and my sanity, by pinching my nose.
I cherish those moments. Punkin asked if we could have silly time again the next day. Oh, Punkin, Mommy would love to have silly time with you girls tomorrow.
We will not, however, be going back to Gilly Hicks until you’re all 43 and married. No matter how many nose pinches I get out of it.