This afternoon, Alex asked if I’d run him to Target to spend some of his money. Knowing Steven had to work, I inwardly sighed a little. This meant I had to take all the boys. Don’t get me wrong, they aren’t terrible in stores, but it is work. I tend to get tired easily right now. I decided that we could go, it would make him happy, and I could grab a new mop. Two birds, one stone, yadda yadda.
Everyone in our town was at Target. At least, that’s how the parking lot appeared. We parked and grabbed a lone cart from the lot on the way in. I did it so Oliver could ride, and that’s one less hand to hold when you’re managing several littles. It was a good thing, because there were no carts available inside.
Knowing we’d have to wait in the aisles and at the checkout, I agreed to get popcorn for snacking in the store. This Mom is not afraid to use all the weapons in the arsenal! So we made our way through the crowd to get in the popcorn line. Of course you can’t get salty popcorn without a drink so we’re getting popcorn and then waiting to fill our drinks and I’m assigning whose cup will have which button pushed in the lid so they don’t get mixed up in the cart.
Finally we’re off. We make a pit stop at the dollar aisles up front. The littles get to pick a dollar item. While we are picking and choosing I’m carefully maneuvering the basket to the side away from stuff so all the people can get past us. I don’t like to block the aisle. I spend an inordinate amount of time trying to teach oblivious boys how to be aware of others as they go through. Just then, I hear a thud and an “Oh no!” We’ve lost a drink. So now I’m sending Alex to get an associate, a sad Thomas back for a refill and I’m directing Elijah and Isaac to help keep others from stepping in the spilled soda. The nicest associate in the world comes to clean up. “I’m so sorry!” I tell her. She replies, “No! It’s no problem at all I spill things all the time myself!”
A few minutes later Thomas returns with his drink and off we go to the toys. All of the crowds we’ve seen so far pale in comparison to the amount of people in this department. I started out stopping at the end of the aisles and letting Alex go down by himself to browse, but we were in the way of shoppers on the end. So we ended up just following him down the aisles, at the pace of a disabled snail.
No Legos. He wanted to check out electronics. At this point I authorize a 5 minute separation. (I hate separating in stores. You can never find people again and I didn’t have another adult. I reason out with myself that he’s a teenager, barely, and it’s probably fine.) So Alex and Thomas go to electronics and we go to the books. This is where we encounter super-in-love-joined-at-the-hip couple. I’m guessing they were teenagers. I remember being young and hand holding for that extra sense of connectedness with stars in my eyes. This couple, however was intertwined and swaying and slightly gyrating all while talking to their friends. It took a lot of restraint to not say, “Really? Does one of you disappear if you lose contact? Are you trying to have a baby?” I just steered around them thankful that my young boys were quite oblivious and distracted by all the books!
After our group reunited safely, and in 5 minutes exactly, we headed to the baby department where all of the boys actually seemed to like looking at the stuff. We picked out a package of onesies, our first baby clothes purchase for Jude. Everyone agreed it was cute! We headed back across the store to look for a mop. As we are passing back by electronics a woman comments under her breath but loud enough to hear, “That’s, well, um, that’s a lot of boys. . . ” a few steps later Thomas says, “I think she felt sorry for you.” This made me think of how people’s little comments about the size of my family aren’t just noticed by me. My kids hear them too. Food for thought. It also spurred me to make sure we were having fun. Going out is work, but I like hanging with my crew. So we made an extra stop in the Christmas aisles to look at trees, exclaim over prices and house sizes that hold trees that big, and the boys picked our bows for gifts this year. We already have paper.
We head to get a mop. Elijah declared, “I bet a mop costs $8 or $9.” That really cracked me up. Has he been pricing mops? The one I chose was $12. By the time we finish that, I’m tired. I’m glad I have a cart to lean on. We make our way to the checkout and Alex goes first with his Hunger Games DVD. I had no idea that $3.00 of his money was change. As in, dimes nickels as pennies, not quarters. I have to give kudos to the associate again. She patiently counted and was still friendly.
As we were walking out to the car I remarked that some parts of this trip were an exercise in patience. Elijah said, “Yeah, we got lots of exercise!”