Thursday, October 9, 2008

expectations and consequences

today my sister traveled all the way out to my side of the valley and the two of us- along with our broods of children- ventured out to shop, shop, shop. our goal was to find and purchase darling outfits at a specific store for my children for an upcoming family portrait to be housed in the lovely frame the husband commissioned for our anniversary. it was a lovely day. we were feeling good.

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?


Me said...

You are too funny! I always get a good laugh when you post!

I need to take note and learn to quit while I am still sane..

Kellie Buckner said...

you are a brave soul!

Randibee said...

This is why I never go shopping. Hence, my children look like homeless people--but it is worth it just to avoid shopping with them. :)

Shannon said...

I'm with randibee- it's easier to just not shop! I can't complain too much, though. Mine are all in school, so I shop for what I want them to have and just bring it home. About once a year I take everone out and remember why it is we don't do that anymore!

Mechelle said...

I'm with you on the armpit stains, how does one prevent that? If you need a shopping exchange sitter, I'm game. It's so hard to shop with three children. It's something I may be doing today, with my sister, and her kids, for the same reason, today. Funny, huh.

Laurie said...

i hope you don't mind a new lurker on your blog, but your posts read just like i talk. sane with a little bit of crazy in there. thanks for the laugh and reminder why double strollers rock at the mall.

wonder woman said...

This sounds like something I SSOOO would have done. If my SIL lived close. Every now and then I get a little crazy and decided to take my boys shopping with me......then I remember why I DON'T LIKE TO DO IT. Grocery shopping is one thing - clothes shopping is something completely different! (But if I take the kids, then hubby doesn't have to babysit and therefore know I'm spending money!)

Glad you got cute outfits, though! And a bargain dress for 4 bucks - you're my kind of woman.

cwalk64h said...

That's why my friend and I work at a toy store because we love kids. It's the adults that bug us sometimes. (hope to get a copy of the picture)

*MARY* said...

What the?! Where's this mall with the splash pad?

emilyb said...

Seriously, you are hilarious. I laughed out loud 4 times reading your post. The person I share an office with just kept saying, "What's so funny?" response, "Your wife!" I love your blog.

uniquelynat said...

yeah so you left out the part where the ladies at the clothing store for women (almost said adult store but thought maybe people would get the wrong idea)were more welcoming. and how that one sales lady actually had her own children at work with her that day. and how all of the other people in the store were giving us nasty looks as well.....but it was fun anyway! thanks for the good time!! can't wait till we can go back to get outfits for my family pic!

Lizdee said...

Try avoiding anti-perspirant deodarant. The non anti-perspirant stuff works as well, and I haven't had any problems with stains since I've used it.