The Mall Outing

Being a single Mom, part-time student, full-time assistant children’s librarian, living at home with my mother and my 2 3/4-year-old daughter, and hoping to be a dating 27-year-old, life gets really hectic. The best thing about my life is my daughter, but sometimes she can make life a bit more interesting than one would expect. Tonight, it was The Mall Outing.

Tonight, oh what a night! I needed to go and get a more “professional” looking outfit because I am going with the Director of my library to this Summer Reading Program Kick-Off party downtown at Central Library. There we will be rubbing elbows with other Directors from other libraries in our system, and their Children and Teen Librarians. UBER MAJOR GASP! So, needless to say I was nervous and wanted to have some retail therapy to make me feel like I was prepared for tomorrow. Not that I have the money to spend on such frivolities as new clothes when there are things like Woody and Bullseye toys to purchase!

So, my awesome Mom and I packed up the overtired 2 3/4-year-old (who supposedly had a nap at some point today, according to G.G. (Great-Grandma), but who I think the little princess faked it for an hour and a half) and headed for that fantastic edifice, Carousel Mall. OH BULLY!

We walk in the door, child in stroller, Mom and Grandma on a mission. We charge into Old Navy and attack the racks. Ooo, a pretty skirt. Let’s find a shirt to work with it. shall we? Easy, you say! Half an hour, two absolutely out of nowhere crying breakdowns, a stroller shoved into a single person dressing room, and an almost ripped shirt later, NADA!

Perhaps food will help! Goody! The food court.

Mom: Maybe we should go to Uno’s or something

Me: Seriously? (I look down at the child who is again crying for no apparent reason, and then suddenly stops when she sees the Carousel).

Megan: Horsies? I go on horsies?

Me: Only if you’re a good girl and eat your supper

Upon deciding that Wendy’s would be a fast and easy place to go, I wait in line for another HALF AN HOUR! because someone decided to skip their Wheaties this morning and credit card machines were now BAFFLING to them. It is only 2012 people, these new fangled machinery still are a mystery to me, HYUCK!

Me: Here baby, chicken nuggets!

Megan: I want to get out and sit with Gram at the table! (She says as she strains against the stroller straps).

Mom: Yeah, she’s a big girl, right Megan?

I pierce my mother with a death-inducing gaze, and for some reason unbuckle the child and go to get my food. 10 minutes later, we’re a happy family sitting and eating, RIGHT!

Me: Megan, sit down. Megan, eat your chicken. Megan, stop. Megan, sit on your butt right now. Megan, there will be no horsies. MEGAN, no please stop. MEGAN FAITH SIT YOUR BUTT DOWN RIGHT NOW! please. MEGAN, WHAT DID I JUST SAY? thank you. There will be no horsies, I’m not kidding. MEGAN, DID YOU HEAR ME? MEGAN, MEGAN, MEGAN!

So, 10 minutes later (I don’t remember what I ate), Megan decides she’s going to take off and leave us for the horsies, oh Mommy is done. As I carry the screaming child in my arms throughout the entire food court, I keep saying to myself “this will get better, it will, I know it will, someday, when she’s 30, it will be better.” Of course, Gram swoops in and calms her down (wasn’t it her idea to take her out of the stroller?). And now I can actually shop. 35 minutes later, I have 3 shirts and a new cute black skirt that’s long enough for decency but short enough that the boyfriend will appreciate it. SCORE ONE FOR JCPENNY! I’m floating on a cloud, I will look adorable and professional tomorrow, Megan can now go home and get to bed, life will be happy……oh look, the beautiful child is coming now.

“LET GO! I WANT MY MOMMA!” Hello, life is grand, it’s great…

Mom: What are you wearing on your feet?

WHY DO I BRING YOU! CRAP! So now, it is the mad dash to the Carousel (Mom’s deal was that if she was good in the store, we could go back to the Carousel). Wait 5 minutes for the stinking Carousel to re-open, and we don’t ride on the horsies, oh no. We ride in the stinking CART! The CART! After all that “I want the horsies, I want the horsies” screaming as we walked through the food court, and every living person in a five-mile radius knew Megan WANTED THE HORSIES!, we don’t actually ride ON THE HORSIE! We ride on the cart! SERIOUSLY!

Mad dash to Auntie Anne’s Pretzels (she’s gotta have something to keep her occupied, and quiet, according to my mother she also needs a snack). Mad dash to DSW Shoes, before they close (this was only supposed to be a 2 hour mall trip!). Look at EVERY SINGLE FREAKING MATTED BLACK SHOE IN THE STORE AND TRY THEM ALL ON! Decide to the purchase the first pair of shoes that I tried on, and THAT COST AS MUCH AS THE THREE SHIRTS AND ONE CUTE SKIRT THAT I BOUGHT PUT TOGETHER! Watch as Megan’s last Auntie Anne pretzel falls to the ground and the tears gear up, grab the stinking pretzel before Mom can see it, wipe it on my shirt and hand it to her (HEY! SHE’S NOT YOUR KID!), stop tears in mid-fall, watch them suck back up into her tear ducts to be used at another time. Grumble about cost of the stinking shoes all the way to the car, pack up car and head home.

But, it did not end there. Mad dash into the house, forgot the garbage, didn’t start the laundry, forget the laundry Mom! We can live on the thousands of other pairs of underwear in our drawers! Rush upstairs with Megan:

Me: Movie or book Megan?

Megan: Movie or book, Momma?

Me: That’s what I asked you Megan.

Megan: Movie AND book, Momma.

Me: Eye look, eyebrows go up, Megan returns look and waggles eyebrows. Attempt not to laugh, fail desperately. WHERE WAS THIS KID TWO HOURS AGO WHEN SHE WAS MELTING DOWN IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FOOD COURT??

Put in the Iron Giant (“Robot!”) and rush around the house upstairs attempting to cool it down (we have no air conditioning in the top of our house, just on the main floor which is not the area that we sleep in, you figure it out) and putting away new clothes and Megan’s “stuff” that she brings everywhere, and getting everyone ready for bed. Realize that Mother has just started laundry and sat down to watch Soap Operas, so that means we will all be rushing around like chickens with our heads cut off in the morning because no one will wake up on time.

So, at the end of that, this is what I realized. As Megan curled up under my chin as I sang her goodnight songs to her, I freaking love my kid. I also realized that my kid IS NOT a last-minute shopper and that I really need to plan more, either that or just leave her and Mom home next time and pray to God that they don’t burn the house down (“I figured she was a big girl now and could use the stove.” Seriously woman, this is why they invented strollers, to keep them LOCKED IN!)

So, even though I usually use this blog to talk about books and my profession, I figure the blog is also about my life. My life is not complete without my Mom and my daughter, so I hope you find some of these little vignettes entertaining, because they’re just too classic not to share.

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