we arrived at the shopping destination and before we exited my van, the children received "the talk". you know- the one where you discuss expectations and consequences. we outlined the following:
- children are expected to stay with the moms at all times
- children will not run like crazy people through the stores
- children will be happy to be out and shopping
- children will take copious notes and observe the mothers who have perfected the fine art of shopping
- children may play at the splash pad in the center of the mall AFTER we have visited 14 stores
- children will receive a treat if they comply with all guidelines
- children who are non-compliant will not receive a treat
we sauntered through the first two stores. the children were relatively well-behaved. the mom found a dress for oldest daughter on clearance for $3.97. bargain.
eventually we made it to store #3- the store we came to scope out for the darling outfits. as we entered the store one of the sales ladies gave my sister the "are you seriously coming into MY store with all those kids?" look. still, we entered- with ALL THOSE KIDS! and we were greeted with darling outfits- on every wall and every rack. yay! this was going to be a breeze.
and then my children started to get crazy and out of control. they were hiding in the racks and fighting over who got to sit in the stroller and then they were making loud noises- all the pleasantries one would hope not to experience whilst one is attempting to construct the perfect ensemble for a family photo that will etch itself in the annals of history and enrich the lives of all those who look upon it.
if you have ever been shopping with someone, you will know that you can't look at something way cute and not say, "hey, look at this! how cute is it?" and then they say, "oh, that is sooooo cute."
pretty soon you hear, "hey, look at this!" to which you reply, "ahh, soooo cute!!"
yeah, we did this sort of fashion tennis match for a while till i began to pull articles of clothing together, all the while doing my best to discipline the two youngest and have them sit their time outs in front of the pink and sage leggings.
and guess what? no dressing rooms. so, i did what any self-respecting, modesty defending mother would do. i had them strip down, right there, making sure to confine them to the side of the store where the big shelves could hide them so that i could try on these cutest little outfits. and they really are the cutest little outfits.
after exchanging sizes and trading out tops or bottoms or both, the perfect outfits were decided upon and finalized and the children were re-dressed in the clothing in which we entered the store.
this whole time, there was no help from the sales associates. i found this strange. they watched us as we battled to maintain some semblance of order, pick out clothing, assign time outs, try on clothing, exchange pieces of clothing for a better match, stop a running child, shield naked daughters from onlookers, and then clothe them again. not a sales lady peep to be heard. not a "can i get you another size" or "are you finding everything ok?" or "can you please get that little boy who is running around in the purple velour beret?" NOTHING
i sent my sister, along with the unruly children, to the water playground while i stayed behind and purchased the clothing. i spent a ridiculous amount of money. (i can't tell you how much, cause the husband reads this stuff. but i will tell you that it was more than i should have spent.) but it will make a way cute family picture. i think.
so, i met up with my sis. we let the kids run wild. get wet. scream. and then, we decided to forget about the 11 remaining stores and go home while we were still a little sane.
but, my children forfeited their right to a treat. there was a little sadness, but they accepted that decision. and when their cousins received their treat, there was no complaining. they knew they had been a little silly.
next time, i will get a babysitter. and then maybe the sales ladies will accept me into their store without the icky looks. but, hello? ladies, if ya don't like to deal with kids, don't work in a kids clothing store.
one more thing that is bothering me today: why can't i just have one white shirt that doesn't get those unsightly yellow armpit stains?