Number One on that list is "Toddler Shoe Shopper."
Typically this is a job that I would do my own. I would hop over to Stri.de Rite on my own time, pick out some adorable shoes, pay for them without misplacing my debit card, and leave without incident. However, there is the tricky issue of growing feet.
They never stop growing...they're always getting bigger...which means that some very nice clerk has to measure them.
I went with my friend, J, and her two boys b/c they were having a buy one get one 50% off. Good deal, right? I had never been to this particular store before, but I was willing to give it a try. I figured that I'm only half a mother right now and having a fully functional one with me was really going to up the odds of us maintaining some sort of control. Good theory, right?
We enter the store and the Crazies immediately start ripping shoes and sneakers off the displays. I look around to make sure no one is looking and then put the wrong shoes back on the wrong displays. I then grab their hands in a weak effort to gain some control. J does the same thing. We both lose hands within 20 seconds.
There is another mother in there with her kids...two boys, one girl, and no reinforcements...you can already tell that she's up shit's creek and one of her kids ate her paddle.
The kids realize there are socks, stockings, headbands, and other little things that can all be ripped off of displays. Here's where we ran into trouble. Not only are these things at kid level, but they're all around the store. The kids totally used the divide and conquer method. So, J and I used the ignore and shop method.
We finally get the kids measured (Matt is a 6 extra wide and Hailey is a 5.5 medium) and start to pick out shoes. I'm limited though b/c my kids are still in the baby shoe section. I tried to involve them, but seriously...Hailey picks out some of the ugliest shit I have ever seen in my life (think sparkles, patent leather hot pink, sequins...it's like she was birthed from a Vegas Showgirl). So, I directed her to the little toy section.
Matt dutifully follows her over there as do the other boys. They're all playing nicely together.
All of the sudden, the girl from the other family comes over to Matt and grabs his face harder than I have ever seen. It's like she mutated from a family of King Crabs and was literally trying to rip his face off. Matt was horrified. I went over, unhooked that girl's talon from Matt's face, and picked him up. He was seriously stunned...like she had poison in her claws to stun her victims. The mother didn't see b/c she was trying to get her other two boys to try on shoes. I didn't say anything b/c I wasn't sure of the etiquette here.
Would you have said anything?
He was fine though and once again started acting like the devil. I finally got them to try on their new shoes and this is apparently the universal cue to start running around like complete idiots. All four of our kids are running freaking laps around the store. Then the other kids join in.
Before you know it, one of her boys runs smack into Matt and gives him a fat lip. Again, he sits there stunned. The mother did see it this time and made him apologize. I kind of just smiled at her b/c seriously...we all know that Matt is going to do this to someone else at one time and I like to think that karma is my friend.
We pay and try to gather all of our shit including all four kids. By this point, Matt realizes that we're leaving the actually pushes the front door open all by himself. This kid is ridiculously strong. J catches him right before he runs into the parking lot (again) and I take my usual vice grip of his arm.
We were going to attempt Trader Joe's, but just couldn't muster the energy or the patience. We strapped the kids in the cars and lamented about how fucking hard this was (while we tried to catch our breath). J had been running because her oldest thought sprinting to the car was a brilliant idea and I was out of breath b/c Matt tried to see if he could get into a different car while I viciously hopped behind him.
- Always visit this Stri.de Rite...she clerk was the best. I asked her if she drank an entire bottle of wine at the close of her shift, but she doesn't...just her Pepsi and her cigarette. She was awesome!!!
- Try to go when there are no other families in the store. I would like to keep my son's face in tact.
- Don't make your kids try on all pairs of shoes. Once you're sure the size is right, just get what you want in that size. If they get blisters, they'll be just like the rest of us who had to endure uncomfortable shoes...they'll live!
- Sedate them as much as possible...not so that they're completely knocked out, but just a little sleepy. (if anyone has any safe sedation tips, email me directly!)
- Equip your kids with mace to ward off other kids' attacks.
- Bananas do not make good snacks for the car...especially when your kids think taking the entire peel off and "cutting" the banana is the most fun in the world. Oh, and yes, they will cry when you throw the piece the fell on the floor out the window...ya know...because they were going to eat that, right?