I don't like to shop anymore. I was never much of a big spender to begin with-- oh I can spend (just give me unlimited cash flow at IKEA and I'm a happy woman), but not on clothes and accessories and the like. But now with the little ones, just going to the food store has become something of a challenge. We went to Wal-mart today, before Hubby goes to his evening shift, and it was just going to be a quick in-and-out; more cat food, diapers, a few odds and ends, that's all. But with the children, it becomes this completely new struggle that I don't like, not to mention the quickly disappearing patience of Hubby, which in turn, makes my patience disappear ( or vice versa, my patience goes quicker than Hubby sometimes).
Our kids are walking time-bombs. We have a limited amount of time before their fuse runs out and they have a melt-down. If they are the least little bit tired, then the fuse is shorter. If we took a break somewhere, like for lunch, then the fuse is longer. But no matter where we go or when we go, there IS a fuse-- 3 of them. It doesn't help that our girls are all blond-headed, blue eyed beauties that LOVE to wear dresses and attract lots of attention no matter where we go. Comments on their eyes is the most constant and then the people looking want to look at Hubby's and my eyes to see if we have the same blue (we do) so that shopping becomes a gauntlet of sorts. Dodging the admiring glances or the tsk-tsking looks (as in, have you heard of birth control?) of people seeing 3 small girls , are not helping make the shopping experience pleasant. I don't mean to be rude, but MOVE! Don't talk to me, I have 3 ticking time-bombs and I have no idea when they'll go off, so GET OUT OF MY WAY!
WHY, oh why does the pet food area must include FISH??? If I want to buy a fish, it's not going to be there, where the selection is goldfish, goldfish and goldfish. All you are doing, is making my shopping harder by having a wall of aquariums with nothing but different sized goldfishes and making my girls scream and whine, "I wanna see the fishies! I wanna see the fishies!" and making other customers look at me as if I don't do any kind of mothering, the way they carry on. If I don't really have anyplace to go, I'll let the girls press their little noses up against the tanks while I am silently cursing the little fishes who are so languidly swimming around in their tanks, oblivious to the fact that they are being admired. Of course, now that they have seen the fishies, they now WANT the fishies. Uh, no. We have 5 cats and I can just see their little whiskers twitching and thinking, "Oh? What's this now? Fresh meat?? Purrrrrrrrrr......."
After I finally get them to say "bye bye fishies" it's time to head to the infant area for the diapers, but to get there we must pass the TOY department. If I manage to drag my girls away from all the pink Barbies and Disney princesses, bicycles and hula hoops and the like, I am now standing in front of a rack with all the kid movies in the world. "Mommy, can we have this movie? I prah-mus we will be good!" [*Note to self: explain once again what the word promise means] Now we are in the infant department and all is safe, nothing to catch the fancy of a 3 and 4 year old, until they spot the underwear. I did promise (I promised!) my soon-to-be 5 year old that I was going to buy her new underwear for her upcoming birthday and it has come back to haunt me in the form of, "Gasp! I want this one! (pointing at undies with flowers and angels and leopard spotted fabric-- what?! for a 5 year old?)." Thank God she didn't point out any G-strings!
Meanwhile, Hubby is dutifully pushing the cart trying to herd us along, before he has to leave (we took 2 cars) and I admit, by now I am starting to get hot and sweaty. I can see the fuse in my own self starting to burn and I know my own melt-down is not far off. I quickly prod the girls up and down the aisles for a few more random things; head of cabbage, macaroni and cheese, weed blocker fabric for the garden. We're finally done with time to spare and after we have everything paid for and bagged, Hubby tells me we have forgotten the glue we promised the girls for their crafts (damn promises), so I tell him to take the cart, load up the stuff in my car and then he can go and I'll stay and get the glue. Hubby doesn't have the keys to my car with him and that means we ALL have to go out and load the car, kiss kiss goodbye and he leaves me standing, 4 whiny girls in the parking lot.
With Hubby gone, the shopping has a different tone now, all I need is some glue and oh! that new weight scale I've been wanting. And since I'm here, I think I'll grab some little gifts for Mother's Day that's just around the corner. All of a sudden, my fuse has stopped burning and the girls are happily trotting alongside the cart. We go back to see the fishies and I laugh and play and poke fun at the 'fish kisses' and tease the girls with my own imitation of fish kisses (no, I will not do an encore for you). We go and get a few more items and pay and just as I think mission completed, my soon-to-be 5 year old says she has to go to the bathroom. Now? I've just paid for these things and I cant leave them out in the hallway and you expect me to let you go in there alone, while I stay out and keep an eye on the other 2 girlies? Oh, where is Hubby when I need him? She bravely goes in and I practically hold my breath until her return.
We are finally at the car, unloading and I must keep an eye on the girls running around the car in a busy parking lot while I strap in the baby, and I think to myself, "I hate these car seats!" I know, I know they are for the safety of our children, but how safe is it for them to be running around parking lots waiting for me to strap in their siblings???? I know there must be an easier way to all this, but at that moment, I am clearly going mad and your suggestion at that particular moment would have resulted in your head rolling around the parking lot! I can say, now that my little angels are asleep in their beds, that I could have put them all in their seats and then strap them in one by one, but it still leaves them running around the parking lot waiting to be put in their seats.
We made it home, and as an extra special treat, they all fell asleep, so they were re-energized when they got home. Lovely. Me, on the other hand, was exhausted and I still have to put the stuff away and make dinner, entertain them, bathe them, and (at last!) tuck them in. Nitey-nite!