I don’t even know where to begin. I adore my wife. She’s real and has such passion for writing and telling good stories. Sometimes I just grimace, wince, and laugh all at once when I read the things she writes. I often wonder how our family can seem so normal and like such a calamity all at once.
Well, I was reminded that this is OUR normal. I took all three kids shopping Sunday evening to Marshall’s, so they could get their mom something for Christmas. Yes, I took the three year old. After all, I said to myself, “Kristen does it all the time.”
As we started down the road, we went over our list of possible presents: pajamas or clothes. Before we ever make it to the store, there is a full blown fight over name calling. Mediation and apologies.
At the store there is much disappointment. The p.j.’s are picked over. We cover the pajama aisle at least seven times, because I am a man, and I am thorough. Nothing. Plan A is ruined and I don’t really have a plan B because I was sure we could find a cute set of long sleeve p.j.’s with pants.
Okay, let’s look at clothing. Same story second chapter. Nothing. During this time the three year old has gone from the front of the cart, to the main part of the cart, to underneath the cart on her tummy. Now I’m pushing her around the store as she lays in the bottom of the cart with her feet dragging out the front.
We head over to the Petites and after another thirty minutes, finally pick something out. Did I mention that we were on a $25 budget? Doable for sure, but takes some work.
Oh, hold on, the three year old is crying because her feet are stuck in the bottom grid of the cart. As I’m getting everything fixed, “Honey do you need to go to the bathroom? It really stinks down here?” “No daddy.” Two minutes later in a very loud laughing voice for the whole store to hear, “Daddy, I tooted again.”
How does Kristen do this? We have to get out of this store.
My exasperated son is elated that we are finally going home. My oldest daughter is happy with our choice. No surprise the line has at least eighteen people in it, but it is moving very fast. I concentrated on keeping six hands from picking up everything for sale in the register line.
My oldest pipes up and let’s me know that the three year old’s pocket are filled with the little tags that go on the hangers to tell you what size you are grabbing. I inform said three year old that this is stealing and she has to put them down. “No daddy.” I take them from her and she begins to scream. I give in. Because I know how to pick my battles. And, I chose thievery.
The line moves forward. We are in front of the coke refrigerator and everyone is thirsty. I grab a coke zero to share; open it up and hand it to the three year old. As she is drinking (okay shoot me. I gave a three year old a carbonated beverage. I was desperate, ladies) I stealthily take the hanger tags out of her jacket pockets and place them on a shelf.
“Register five is open.” We make our way to the register as the soda gets passed between the four of us. I forget I have children with me (yeah – total dad mistake) and start paying for the purchase. I vaguely remember telling the three year old she can hold the closed coke bottle, as spray begins pouring over me, the counter, the other two kids and the floor. She was still shaking it when I took it away from her.
I’m embarrassed and laughing at the irony of being THAT family once again. After cleaning up the floor with paper towels and washing it down with a spray bottle, we finally make it out the door.
My nine year old looked at me, “Dad, I just wanted to drift away because that was so embarrassing.” Me too. I shuffle everyone to the car, ready to get home.
We were supposed to make one more stop, but I wasn’t ready for round two.
Now, I know why my wife encouraged me to take all the kids shopping for her gift.
An hour alone was really the gift she wanted all along!
Lucky her, she got two [hours]!