I took both the kids to Target. By myself. Well, except for the two kids. And one out of three of us didn’t cry!
After my post about feeling like everyone can handle their kids but me, I decided what we needed was practice. So, sort of like practicing the piano when I was a kid, I dreaded it but knew it had to be done if I ever wanted to be as good as the others. Also like practicing the piano, I imagine it will happen once or twice, and then I’ll decide I’d rather do less important stuff, and I’ll have to just wing it at the next recital, er, public outing.
I tried all the advice from all the moms who wanted to give it.
Prep in the car for what I expect. Check.
Wear the baby. Check, totally already planning on it. He screams like a banshee every time he’s in his carseat, and wearing him makes him cry at least a little less. Plus I love babywearing. TWO women at Target complimented me on my Babyhawk one day and I felt cooler than if I actually had well-behaved children.
Let Lola pick one thing that she may purchase at the end of the trip if she’s good. Check. Love that dollar section at Target. She picked a color-it-yourself bunny mask.
If Lola doesn’t follow the rules, she has to ride in the cart. Aaannnd here’s where we fell apart a bit. Lola hates to ride in the flippin cart. She ran away from me. I called her back. She ran back to me, but then, oh no, Faked you out Mom! I’m actually going to run PAST you and go the other direction. I told her if she didn’t stay nearby she’d be riding in the cart. I caught a salesclerk looking at us and smiling. Aren’t preschoolers just adorably mischievous?
Then she ran away again. Now I had to put her in the cart. Except, did I mention that Lola HATES to ride in the cart!? So I had Corbin just in a Peanut Shell this time (yes, I have MANY babywearing devices), so I am picking up Lola to put her in the cart and she’s physically fighting me tooth and nail and Corbin is getting squished and jostled and guess who’s not smiling at the adorable family anymore? Yeah, the seemingly kind salesclerk went straight from solidarity to Holy Hell, lady, you’re too pathetic for my kind glances.
I DID manage to not totally lose it, and that’s actually a big win for me. I firmly, but respectfully explained the situation to a crying Lola. She was not having it. So, next tip…
Be ready to leave if you have to. Fine, but I HATE this suggestion. People, I work full time. I have a baby who screams bloody murder every time he’s in the car and Target is 15 minutes away from my house. As is the grocery store, and most other places. There truly are times that I just can’t leave my cart and take my kids out of the store, or we won’t be able to eat for a few days. Not to mention, I know EVERYONE else can haul a large 3 yr old throwing a fit WHILE carrying a crying baby, but it NEVER works out for me. The last time I tried that, I ended up half dragging Lola, who tripped, tripped me, and we all fell down.
But Target is not an essential place, and I would have been able to go back the next day. So I meant it when I told her that we had to put her bunny mask away and go home (even though, on the inside, I was SOOOO not into that plan). This made the fit WORSE of course, but I knew that’s because it worked. I got down on the level of my teary, frustrated little Bean, and I said we were on our way out the door unless she rode calmly in that cart. She got in, and was totally happy within 45 seconds.
So, was that a fail? Was I supposed to have left when she wouldn’t get in the cart the first time, rather than start to leave then give her one more chance? Did I mention what a pain it is for me to get out to the store again?
She was really pretty good after that. Then Corbin started crying while I searched in vain for a jacket for him. Because by the end of February all you can buy is shorts. In Wisconsin. There is like ONE month of Summer here! So I then had to buy bathing suits, even though it won’t be hot enough to swim for MONTHS, because apparently if you don’t by those before the end of March it’s denim cutoffs for your kids, missy. And I had a little trouble with one last important tip…
Consistency. The checkout process is another difficult part for us. And while Lola performed all sorts of unsafe acrobatics in the cart that the checkout lady TOTALLY went back and bitched to her checkout lady friends about, I halfheartedly said “Lorelai!…” and then fizzled out. Because Corbin was fussy and I was spent. When the checkout lady looked at me standing there with Corbin, she said “Aw, somebody looks tired.” I think she meant the baby, but really, it was all of us.
However, I’m putting this one in the Win column, because I didn’t call Brian crying from the car immediately afterward. WINNING! (Will you, too, think of Charlie Sheen now every time you see that word?)
Please feel free (encouraged even!) to leave your tips for making public outings with more than one child less painful.