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Friday, August 27, 2010

Shopping, Peeing and Ice Cream

You know that high you get after a day of shopping?  To be honest, I rarely have a feeling of elation after shopping. More like deflation. I’m usually in a rush, traipsing from one store to another, bickering at the kids to hurry up, saying no to most of their requests for treats and toys, getting really over-heated, stopping for pee breaks at the most inconvenient times, getting stressed about overspending and then finally arriving home and being absolutely exhausted. It’s normally not a great feeling.

But last night? Last night was different. I finally felt that high. One that I certainly didn’t expect to have going in. Back to school is almost here and I’ve been stressed for the last few days thinking about all of the things that need to be done for next week. It looked like this weekend was going to be a write-off just getting last-minute things and preparing the kids for school.

Yesterday afternoon I had to bring Miss M to the doctor for something minor. We didn’t have an appointment, but my doctor’s office offers a walk-in clinic for patients in the evenings. I was dreading the visit, thinking we would be waiting there close to two hours. Luckily for us, they opened early and she was the fourth patient called. We were back in the car in under an hour. I was excited. I figured we could get some errands done that I had planned to do on the weekend.

We went to Miss M’s favourite kid’s shoe store and got her two new pairs of shoes. I like this store because the staff is familiar with the AFOs (braces) that she wears and they know how to find good shoes that fit well over them. And the shoes were actually cute! Other times in the past, we’ve had to go with navy or brown shoes because they were the best fit. Miss M really liked her new shoes, which made me happy.

We went across the street to the large shopping mall. I had promised Hubby that I would check for some new pants for him. His were very worn-out and he was well overdue for new ones. There are two department stores in this mall. We parked near the first one and headed for the men’s department. Miss M started to complain right off the bat. She was hungry and she had to pee. I realized that if I wanted this shopping night to go well, I’d have to be patient. We found the bathroom and then I explained that we would just look at a few things for Daddy and then we’d get something to eat before heading to another store. She agreed. She was good while I browsed around. No more complaining. We played peek-a-boo around the clothing racks. She would yell Boo! at me and I would scream and pretend to drop whatever item of clothing I was looking at. It made her laugh. It made me laugh, too.


There were no good sales at the first department store, so we left without purchasing anything and I kept my promise to get some dinner. We headed to the food court and I let Miss M choose any place she wanted. Oh, the choices! She talked it through. Should she get Chinese? A sub? A hotdog? Nope. She finally decided on (yuck) KFC. I agreed and we happily skipped over to order her some popcorn chicken and fries. I got two soft-shelled tacos from Taco Bell. We sat and we ate. We giggled and we shared. I didn’t rush her. She told me when she was full and then I let her take the tray over to the garbage. Something I normally wouldn’t do, fearing she would drop it, but she made it just fine and dumped everything in the trash. Then she had to pee again. Luckily the bathrooms were not far. We went, washed our hands and Purelled. Then she wanted to go get ice cream. It was time for negotiations. If you’re a good girl while we’re at the next store, we’ll come back and get an ice cream. Okay, Mama, she promised.

While we were walking across the mall to Store #2, Miss M declared that she was too tired to walk and requested a stroller. Hmm, nice idea but she is a five-year-old. Not a small five-year-old, either. She’s an inch or two away from four feet tall and she weighs about 50 pounds. I told her she was too big to get a stroller and she’d have to walk like a big girl. But she complained more and I felt bad because I know her feet do tire easily, especially after walking in those braces all day. We stopped at the Customer Service desk. The lady told me she’s too big. I know, I said, but do you mind if we just try? She obliged and let us in the corall of strollers. Miss M grabbed one and tried to hop in. But the bar got in the way. She couldn’t put her legs through. Then she had an idea. She sat in it and put her legs over the bar, so that her legs were dangling. Probably not the safest seating arrangement, but it worked for me!

So off we strolled to Store #2. There were sales galore and the pants that my hubby likes were $25 off! I sent Hubby a text to see how many pairs he wanted and while we were waiting for his reply we headed over to browse the girls’ clothing section. They had a one-day-only sale of 50 percent off all outerwear! We got busy trying on jackets and snowsuits. And even though it was rather hot in the store, Miss M didn’t complain once about putting on winter coats and snow pants. We found her a perfect fall coat and a pretty snowsuit. On our way back to get the pants, we grabbed some boxers for J that were also on sale. I bought four pairs of pants, a coat, a snowsuit and three pairs of boxers all for almost half of what I would have expected to pay!

We went back to return the stroller, browsed the mall a bit and found the last thing that I needed from Miss M's list of school supplies (a nylon bag for storing her shoes).  Then we got her ice cream (she deserved it) and headed to the car. It was after 8:30 and we had been shopping since 4:30. I actually felt great. We got in the car and for the first time in a long time after shopping, I wasn’t hot and cranky or snappy. We continued to talk and laugh and sing together on the way home. And the most surprising part is that I didn’t even buy anything for myself! Well,  I did get a mocha frappucino, but I deserved a treat, too. I kept my patience and in turn Miss M behaved.  I realize now that most times it is actually me who causes the stress while shopping, not my children.  I had a new perspective last night with Miss M.  I tried to make things fun for her, I didn't rush or nag.  We took our time.  It might have taken longer than usual, but it was worth it for both of us.

Do you enjoy shopping or dread it?
How do you handle shopping with your child(ren) (or do you avoid it at all costs)?
Do they expect ice cream, or do you bribe them with ice cream?
Do great sales make you happy?


  1. I saw myself in this comment: I realize now that most times it is actually me who causes the stress while shopping, not my children. Thanks for helping me pause with that before our next outing.

  2. I agree. My frustration and urgency and timeline always get in the way. The kids are kids. I usually bring gummies as a treat for good behavior after a big shopping trip.

    And unless I'm shopping for them (like they need to try on clothes), I generally just leave them at home. I need the break!

  3. I'm so glad you had a good time! It's hard to let go of our adult expectations, isn't it? I have a hard time rolling with it with two kids in tow. Yes, I bribe. Often. Food, books, toys. But never something I wouldn't buy otherwise.

  4. What a productive evening! I completely agree, we really do set the tone, for better or worse.
    So happy you had last night with your little girl :)

  5. I really enjoyed reading your story! I don't have kids yet but I think shopping with them is probably a good thing to do but very energy-draining for the parent at hand . . . I loved your perspective on the parent being the one who can cause the stress, which is solved by slowing down and taking your time. I'm glad you experienced the shopping high at the end though. =)