<p><p>Yesterday we made the trek to the mall. On a Saturday. Yeah, craziness, but my ever growing eldest child was in desperate need of new shoes. It started out okay, parking was relatively easy, we got into the mall ok. Then we headed to the shoe store. Once inside the baby very loudly protested being put in the stroller. But it was okay, I handled it. In my mom genius I had brought along a much beloved package of Mum mums. As my daughter happily chowed on her baby rice cake I perused the shelves in search of suitable shoes for two young, yet very opinionated, boys. Of course, being young boys, they wanted character shoes. I have no issue with character shoes as long as they are well made and won't fall apart by the third wearing. On this particular expedition they both had their little hearts set on Lightening McQueen shoes. So I search the selection for shoes featuring the red number 95 car. And they don't appear to have the ones my 3 year old wants in his size. Uh oh. And the baby starts crying for more Mum mums. Deep breath. I hand the baby another portion of her snack and scour through the shelves once more for the elusive shoes. And... Eureka! There's one last pair hiding behind the disguise of a superhero shoe box. Great! I grab those shoes and the two other backup pairs in case the first pair doesn't work. The baby whines. More Mum mums for her and I get my son to sit down and try on the shoes. Luckily my oldest son had been assisted by his father and had already settled on his shoes. And yay! My middle child's shoes of choice fit! Great, now we can get out of the shoe store. We get in line and it happens. That wiggling, jiggling, bouncing and rocking movement that clearly screams "I've gotta go potty RIGHT NOW!" that my 3 year old has down pat. I grab his hand, leave my other kids with their father and dash for the restroom. Now any woman knows mall bathrooms are often hit or miss as far as cleanliness. Check the first stall, gross! No go. The second stall is apparently having a flushing malfunction. The third stall's the charm. We get inside and he utters the words every mother dreads hearing in a public bathroom. "Mommy, I need to poop!" After an indulgent sigh I layer the not so sparkling clean potty (is there such a thing as a sparkling clean public toilet?) with toilet paper. I lift him up to set him on top so he doesn't scoot on and slide my carefully constructed hiney protector off. He sits. And forgets to aim his boy parts down. Miraculously the stream misses him. Hooray! But it hits me. Boo! I grab t.p. clean off my arm, scrub at my jeans. And silently curse that now I'm going to smell of pee. Leaving the mall isn't really an option. I've still got things to do and any woman knows how hard it is to get kids and a spouse to the mall. Easier for us all just to suck it up. But aha! I've got great smelling hand sanitizer in my bag of tricks, also known as my purse. I rub some over the wet spots, get us cleaned up and head for the door. Yeah, I handled it despite the empty towel dispenser.
You know that song "Sexy and I Know It"? I jokingly set that as my husband's ring tone. So as we're walking across the restroom from the depths of my purse I suddenly hear "I'm sexy and I know it...wiggle wiggle wiggle wiggle wiggle yeah!" And although I can clearly and loudly hear my phone, of course I can't locate it. And the lady who has just come in to clean the bathroom is looking at my like I'm completely nuts. I had to laugh. We walk out of the restroom and there stands my husband laughing his butt off. Of course he'd done it on purpose.
When you have kids you rarely make it through an outing without hearing "I'm hungry! Can we eat?". And there is inevitably someone who doesn't want to eat what the rest of the family agrees on. In this case it was my 4 year old. He wanted McDonalds and at first refused to eat what we had chosen. But, I'm a mom and I handled it. He ate his food and even enjoyed it once he actually tasted it.
On to the next store! Halfway through the baby decides she needs to nurse to sleep immediately. So she does. And my 4 year old suddenly asks if I can be arrested for brestfeeding the baby in the store. No idea where he got that from and I was surprised considering he's used to seeing my nurse anywhere and everywhere. But, I happily reply "Nope!" and he's satisfied.
Then came the Disney Store and the expected requests to go look. I debated but they had been good so in we went. When you walk into these kind of stores you mentally brace yourself for the "Can I have"s and prepare yourself to say "No" a few hundred times. But again, I handled it and we made it out without tears on either side.
Eventually we made our way to the new, much needed and awesome play area. The very crowded, very busy, very hectic play area. I watched closely to see if my 3 year old would interact with or cringe away from the other kids. And I held my breath as my eldest daredevil took a tumble from atop a scale model of some important building. Luckily the floor is padded and the important building is made of some genius material that's firm enough to climb on but not hard enough to split a head open.
We finally made it out of the mall with pretzel treats in hand. Unfortunately, we discovered the temperature, which hadn't been toasty to begin with, had dropped and it was now raining and sleeting to boot. Cue mad dash through the parking lot and frantic hurry to get three kids buckled into their seats. We made it home safely only to repeat the mad dash into the house. Phew! Three deep breaths and a diaper change and it's time for dinner. After a brief not so calm and quiet respite, so began the bedtime fight, err I mean routine. Nearly an hour later I finally made it to my own bed thinking it had been a long day. But I'm the Mom and I handled it.