Hide and Seek...in the Mall

I'm finding that being a homeschooling Mom does not lend itself very well to "free" time during the week. I used to have one morning a week where all my babies were at school and I could do WHATEVER I WANTED. I ran errands, met friends occasionally for lunch, exercised, SLEPT...those four hours a week were among the most precious I've ever known.

The rules have all changed now that my 2nd grader is homeschooling. I have my youngest in preschool on Tuesday mornings, but now, that time is invaluable to spend at home actually getting schoolwork done without someone wreaking havoc on a.)the house, b.)the dog {which okay, I don't really care about} or c.)our schoolwork.

Anyway, running errands during the week with the girls is inescapable these days. Yesterday was one of those times I had to take them to a REALLY tough place...THE MALL. This wouldn't be bad at all with my oldest daughter. She's pretty much learned to control her sudden moments of insanity while in public, and restrains from deviant behavior which could get us thrown out.

THIS one, however, has yet to learn such restraint.
Our first stop was to the Children's Place, my favorite spot to shop for the girls' clothes.

You need to know that Leighanne has kind of an obsession with mannequins. She tends to make a beeline for them whenever she spots one. I'm not sure what this says about her and maybe should be concerned. This day was no different. She headed straight for the plastic children in the display window and began undressing them.

Then she got mad because their shoes did not fit her and I made her put them back.

We finished at the Children's Place and made our way to the next store. Again with the mannequins. This time they were distinctly more mature, and much to Leighanne's delight, already naked.

I made a few selections (overriding my 8-yr-old's requests for shirts with pictures of every animal Noah had on the ark and anything that said, 'princess'...we don't need any more affirmation in that area, folks).

We made our way to the dressing rooms and I enjoyed about 4 seconds of sitting down and Leighanne and I played judges, giving a thumbs up or thumbs down as Olivia modeled outfits for us. Sadly, Leighanne was not as amused with our little game as I had hoped, and before I knew it, she was doing this:

The space underneath a dressing room door is perfect for a pint-sized person. I was pretty grateful we were the only patrons at that particular moment.

And where did that pen come from? How DO kids find random things like this everywhere we go? But yet if they ever misplace something that belongs to me, they can rarely locate it. Whatever. Keep the pen.

We finished with the all the trying on and hanging back up exercise, with just one small problem. My youngest little dependent had darted out of the dressing room without us and was now freely roaming the store. Not good.

We rushed out, calling her name and listening for sounds of distress (by employees, not my child).

"BOO!" I walked back in the direction I had come, and there she was, her little face sticking out from her hiding place in a rack of coats.
Again, with the pen she found somewhere, I'm still not sure where, but am really happy she felt so comfortable with putting it in her mouth. Hello, cold, or infectious disease, or bacteria I can't even identify.

I retrieved my little lost lamb and headed for the check-out area. There was no one in front of us, but the waiting just proved to be too much for her. She found the softest place she could to rest from her escapades.
It is a rule of the universe as we know it that 3-yr-olds need very little down time. She quickly recharged her batteries and set off once more, the possibilities endless...

Meanwhile, I was still trying to sort out the bill and get everything settled with the cashier, who apparently could not see the items I laid on the countertop very clearly and forgot about them, causing my checkout time to be even longer and more unbearable to the little lamb.

Finally, purchases in hand, we set out for the nearest exit. I could feel the watchful eyes of the associates on our little parade as we headed for the door. Sometimes it's not really wise to offer a kind smile to someone as they must pick up a zillion pillow pets your darling set free from their spots on the shelf. We left, the little lamb holding rather reluctantly onto my hand as she gazed at the wonderland of stuff she had somehow missed.

Ah, yes, shopping with little darlings is never boring. NEVER. It requires all your senses to be at their best. You never know when you'll have to search for your child in the clothing racks by sight, by hearing, and sadly, sometimes even by smell. It takes a lot out of you, a lot out of the mall employees, and a lot out of the perpetrator.

And let me close by making a formal apology to the mannequins who were harmed in any way. Next time you really should fasten your appendages a little more securely. Sorry about that arm.


Paula said…
Isn't the mall just the worst? Love the picture of her peeking our from the coats. What a hoot.

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