Read the rest of this and you’ll see why my brain cells are fried.
I took all three kids out shopping all by myself this morning.
I’ve taken them out before by myself. But not to a place as ambitious as the Gymboree outlet store! *Insert big-eyed amazed smiley face here* Normally, I’m doing good if I take just Emily to Gymboree, muchless all three. Just something about browsing for clothes, trying to match up outfits, finding the right sizes, what I need/what I want, how much everything will cost after the sales/my coupon, etc. calls for a lot of thinking and concentration, something that’s hard to do while trying to keep track of a child, not to mention three.
We started out our morning by going to two different dollar stores to get some spices. Not counting some fussing from Joshua (who still hates the carseat), the kids were pretty good. I was annoyed because the Family Dollar shopping carts were so tiny there was no way to fit the baby carrier in it – not even in the back – so I had to carry it all through the store. If they wanted to make sure I didn’t browse for a very long time, they succeeded… anyways… I even managed to get a couple of small extra’s like Disney Princess number flashcards that will be perfect for using with Emily this fall.
Then we went to the Gymboree outlet.
I’ve managed to get just about all my fall shopping done for the kids, with the exception of a couple of fall dresses & outfits I wanted to get for Emily. From Gymboree of course. 😉 I wanted to get some outfits from their really cute “Paris” line before Emily’s size sold out. Which is why I chose to go today versus waiting until Nate was back home and I could leave some/all of the kids with him at home.
I loaded Joshua into the stroller and we set off. As soon as we get into the store, Joshua starts screaming. He wasn’t hungry (I had made sure to give him a full bottle before we left) and was changed and ready to go. He was just sick of the carseat (he’d been in it for about 45 minutes by this time) and was also overtired, so he decided to let me know.
I tell Nathan & Emily to sit in the little chairs that are lined up by a tv with a children’s show on and to stay there. There’s another boy hogging two seats and another girl sitting in the 3rd (and only other seat) so my two are immediately annoyed. I tell them to sit on the floor and “BEHAVE!”
I start browsing.
Joshua hits a new level with his screaming and I start getting some glances from some people. I know what they’re thinking – Why isn’t she tending her baby?! Why is she letting him scream? I ignore them. The only thing I could do to stop J’s screaming would be to go home. Or take him out of the carseat/stroller and carry him, something that simply wasn’t possible as I only have two arms. (Yeah I know get a baby wrap – well I don’t have one, so not an option right now.) And if I tried to come back later? He’d start screaming then too.
After about 10 minutes of continued screaming, the weird looks are turning into nasty ones from one lady. (Not that I was paying much attention to her, but I managed to catch a couple.) I’m sure her kids were/are always perfect, right? I really wanted to tell her “You try managing 3 young children all by yourself for two weeks while your husband is out of town, and how about you throw homeschooling on top of it all! Then you can judge me, Ms. Perfect.”
But of course I didn’t.
It was surprisingly crowded today so that didn’t help matters. You would think people would see a young mom trying to deal with a screaming baby and move out of the way so I could get through with my stroller, but nope.
Joshua shows signs of stopping screaming a few times and is actually quiet for a blissful couple of minutes, but it doesn’t last – he starts right back up again.
Emily starts running around and now I am trying to keep a closer watch on her and constantly telling her to stop running. (She obeys for a couple minutes and then starts right up again.)
Then I see Nathan wildly jump off the little plastic chair he was supposed to be sitting on and in doing so, sends it flying through the air. As I had previously ordered him to SIT and not jump around, I informed him that he had lost the gumball I had promised him earlier if he behaved.
(Judging lady is sending more nasty looks my way.)
Nathan starts whining and yelling across the store “But I WANT MY GUMBALL!” Like that’s EVER worked before. But you know kids…
(I refuse to even look anywhere near the direction of judging lady. I really don’t care.)
I give up searching for anything else – I usually like to go over the clearance sections, but it’s not going to happen today. I head to the register to pay. All the while, Joshua is still screaming (by now, he’s reached that hoarse pitiful pitch) and Nathan is whining off and on for his gumball. At one point, he started screaming (yes my 6 year old – go ahead and pat me on the back for being mom of the year, my 6 year old is throwing a tantrum in the middle of the store!) And Emily is playing chase with another child in the store, whose mom seemed sympathetic to me (she had three kids too, although they were older than mine. Think she’s ever been in a similar situation?)
I finish paying and call for Nathan & Emily. They obviously aren’t listening because they don’t even acknowledge me. I can see them but they are about 10 feet away with at least 2 more strollers between them and me – and several other people (who again don’t seem to care that they are in the way and that it is far easier for them to move than for me, but anyways…)
I finally get Nathan’s attention and he comes over. Emily is still ignoring me. As it is nearly impossible to get the stroller past everyone and over to Emily, I send Nathan to get Emily.
Of course, he pulls her arm roughly “Emily, come HERE NOW!” and she starts screaming and drops to the ground. Nathan starts dragging her toward me. Now everyone is looking at me & my children. Finally a couple people apparently decide that hey *lightbulb moment* maybe we should move out of the way so this mom can get to her kids!! And I was able to maneuver the stroller over and grab Emily myself. She starts screaming that I’m hurting her (I wasn’t but I could have cared less if I was by that point.) Nathan begins yelling for his gum ball once more and I now have all three children screaming quite loudly. Such a proud moment for me! (If you can’t sense the sarcasm there, I can’t help you.)
I think I heard an audible sigh of relief from everyone in the store. At least I would have if I had been able to hear myself think at that moment.
I had planned on stopping at the grocery store for a few items, but I took the kids home instead. There was nothing I had to have today and the kids were DONE. So was I.
I’m tired now. Yet it’s strange how relaxed I am about it all.
I’ve always worried about what people think about me/my kids. With three kids, however, I’ve learned very quickly that I can’t anymore. I simply don’t have the time or energy. So it was kind of freeing – in a very weird sense, I’m sure most of you think I’m loony by now – to experience that kind of situation and honestly not care what others were thinking. I really didn’t. Oh don’t get me wrong – it was not fun to have my kids be that horrible in public and me not able to do a whole lot about it at the moment. But I dealt with it the best I could and I didn’t lose my head in the process. (At least now… ask me again about that later…)
I’m tired, but I feel pretty good.
I did manage to pick out some adorable outfits for Emily in the middle of all that chaos. I think I got around $200 worth for $110.
They’re all napping/in quiet time now, thank the Lord. That was pretty much the only way I could have sat down to blog. 😉
Today is why moments like this: