Shopping just isn't what it used to be.
I remember the days - not so long ago - when I could casually drop into the mall to window shop just for fun.
Oh those days... those beautiful, breezy days...
The days of boutique browsing, shoe store (!) shopping, pondering over prices, and carefully sifting through the Sales Rounders while sipping on something lovely and over-priced from Starbucks.
Hmm.... Beautiful days of yester yore.
(I just realized that I don't even really know what "yester yore" means. It's quite possible that I just made it up).
The day that I entered Mommydom (another made-up word) things changed.
The days of browsing, pondering while I mentally compare prices, and sipping on lovely things have been replaced with "The List".
I've learned that the key to a successful Mommy/Toddler shopping excursion is a very detailed list. The List is crucial. The List is imperative. The List should be respected and followed to the "T". Any deviation from The List is just plain asking for it.
Get in and get out...or get ready to rumble - Toddler Style.
On a good day, I figure that I have approximately 20-30 minutes from the time I leave the car until the time the Toddler Melt-Down commences. On a bad day, I can cut that time in half.
Keep that in mind while I tell you about my most recent shopping excursion.
This week, I've been busily preparing for Avery's second birthday party. What started as simple gathering, has (as things tend to do in my life) quickly snowballed into a Crafty Nightmare of Martha Stewart-ish proportions. I'm in over my head, ladies and gents. As usual.
Yesterday, Avery and I were having a good day. She was happy and rested, so I decided to test the waters and take her out to shop for goodie bag items.
She did o.k. at the first store... until she wanted me to open a play purse for her (that was already opened). As I tried to explain that I couldn't open the purse BECAUSE IT WAS ALREADY OPENED, a frustrated, language-barrier induced tantrum began.
After her fit was over, I calmly said the words, "Mommy doesn't feel like holding you when you scream and yell at her like that. You'll have to walk next to me."
To which Avery responded, "Absolutely, Mommy. What can I do to make this a more pleasant experience for you?".
I took the 14 1/2 minutes that I had left and used them wisely. Check list complete. Praise the Lord.
After that, we met David for lunch at my favorite sandwich place where Avery got creative with the sugar packets.
After a somewhat drama-free lunch, I surmised that Avery could make it through just one more store before her nap. So - we took our 68th trip to the craft store for the week.
That's when the melt-down began.
Because I'm becoming more and more with-child every day, I simply cannot hold Avery as much as she desires to be held.
Because Avery is almost 2, she refuses to sit in the shopping cart.
Because she was tired, poopy, and scared of the crazy Halloween decorations, Avery screamed to be held over and over in the store.
She didn't just scream. She screamed, bawled, kicked, AND angrily threw her body on the floor. I attempted to explain that I couldn't hold her because I was holding too many things already, but there's no reasoning with a tired and cranky toddler.
As I tried to look busy shopping, I desperately attempted to pull the words of the sage Kevin Leman out of the depths of what little brain I have left. I willed them to come to me and give me the boost of confidence that I needed to continue being a total MEANIE to my screaming child.
The words of advice finally came and I stayed strong. I even managed to look mildly ambivalent as her shrieks intensified.
Everyone in the store hated me.
This is what Avery looked like when we got back to the car.