My mother used to say that male Labradors are great; but until they’ve outgrown their two-year old bouncing up and down for hours phase, they will drive you out of your ever.loving.mind.
I have firmly decided that the same holds true for those of the human species.
Upon realizing that Itty Bit’s stroller was unusable, I opted for the only other thing that would somewhat contain him during a shopping excursion.
Anyone tried one of those child security leashes?
I know, I know… I used to think that only terrible parents use them. You know, the kind who can’t control their kids and end up saying stuff like, “honey, you need to stop playing swords and give that nice old lady her cane back”, and “sweetie, quit picking your brother's nose”.
I never thought I’d resort to a leash, but hotdog… my kid is FAST. A couple of frantic (for me) and giggle-filled (for him) dashes through the clothes racks was enough to convince me that I’d be in deep trouble if I lost sight of him.
(Anyone else see the irony in the fact that he could be standing behind a mannequin yelling his head off, and I’m the only one in the store that wouldn’t be able to find him because I can’t hear him? It’s okay to laugh, I am.)
Sooo… out came the Elmo leash today. He put it on just fine and immediately tested it. Uh-huh, and fell flat on the floor at JC Penneys. He started figuring it out and was fine as long as he could swipe whole piles of clothes off the shelves. After the last stray sweep of his arm, I hauled him off to the shoe department.
By hauled, I mean: I alternately got yanked through some displays, or ended up pulling him out of them.
“No, no no!” he didn’t want to look at shoes. Until he discovered the little SALE tags on some of them and helpfully removed them and stuck them on other shoes.
He even struck up a conversation with an older gentleman. It went something like this:
"Hey there fella, is that Elmo?”
“You like Elmo?”...
“Thomas the Train!”
“Oh, you like Thomas the Train?”
“Yeah, Thomas get stuck in the mud! Off the tracks! Push him out!”
Then followed by a bunch of apparently random utterances:
Mommy do it!
Around and around!
Rise and shine!
Yes, with exclamation points all. The poor gentleman didn’t stand a chance with the emphatic Itty Bit. He stood there through the barrage, then smiled and walked away in confusion.
Sorry… got off track.
Pay for the shoes, say “wanna go see the playground?”
Man, was that a dumb thing to say to a motivated 2-year old whom you have TIED to your arm?!? What was I thinking? Oh wait, I wasn’t…
He takes off like I’ve given him Mountain Dew intravenously and I am plunged into a mixture of tank tops and other shoppers. (Tank tops? Come on people! You try to sell those in the Northwest in February and you wonder why profits are tanking? No pun intended)
We somehow navigate the myriad of shoppers at warp speed. I catch fleeting glimpses of disapproving grandparent-age couples. I actually spot one of them saying, “I cannot believe she…” and I shoot her a look before getting dragged through.
We make it to the playground (yeah, remember the one?) and he gets a good 45-minute reprieve. Then off to look for Valentine’s Day cards. His path of destruction is only as wide as the leash allows. Which apparently is too much as he destroyed a card (yes, we paid for it, and yes, someone is going to get a really weird dinosaur card). He turned on the charm for the salesgirls and blew them kisses.
That charm lasted all of 3.1 seconds upon exit. He wanted to tear through the mall thoroughfare. I spent the entire trip to Gymboree dodging strollers and goth teens (trust me, I was glad Itty Bit was running at that point. It’s far worse when he starts to stare, the pointer finger goes up, and his mouth opens… YIKES!)
I’m sorry Mimi, but doesn’t Gymboree know that we’re in a recession and sale prices would be awesome about now? I love their stuff, but clearance is about all the quality I can afford there :)
Itty Bit is primed for a meltdown when I have the nerve to ask him to leave the cartoons playing there. He throws himself on the floor and we do a highly entertaining program of pick-me-up-drag-me-a-few-steps-until-my-legs-turn-to-noodles-again…of course while the innocent
and highly naive parents with newborns are looking at me aghast and probably thinking their kids would never be so ill-behaved. Just wait, ha!
So we head to Baby Gap, where the leash story hits a new low. He decides to start doing that crocodile roll thing. You know, spinning around and getting himself all tangled up? I’m loaded with bags and he’s trying to spin himself out of the leash/strangle himself.
I try to distract him a bit by slapping a pair of sunglass on him and he calms down suddenly… like a dog with that funny cone thing that is afraid to move. He actually starts DUCKING as he takes a few tentative steps.
It is the best laugh I’ve had all day and he’s finally giggling again. I decide to buy the savior sunglasses and a hoodie on sale. I see a cute t-shirt and start heading to the display.
Suddenly “escape mode” kicks in again. I am checking out the size on the mannequin and Itty Bit goes from Zero to Gail Devers instantly.
Me? I’m still checking the t-shirt and suddenly I’m hugging the mannequin and my bags are sliding to the floor as my right arm is being wrenched out of the socket.
The mannequin comes OFF the base, the base crashes to the floor. Itty Bit takes a sharp turn and my balance is again upended… I lose my grip on the friendly mannequin and he drops to the floor headless.
Itty Bit is startled by the crash and does a 360. I leverage myself against the stretched leash, put the base back on the display and try to figure out how the boy mannequin fits on it. A store employee (no doubt alerted by the ruckus) starts to walk toward us.
The little guy won’t stay propped up and Itty Bit pulls on me again. I end up knocking the mannequin all over again and it bounces off Itty Bit’s head.
He stands there in total silence as the salesperson gasps and asks me if he’s alright. I’m picking up the kinda-freaky little headless body and I see that Itty Bit is alright. I hand off the cutely-dressed torso and limbs and suddenly Itty Bit whips around and heads the other direction around the display.
The ultra-helpful leash catches the edge of the GIRL mannequin and sweeps her off her feet. She goes flying backwards and convinces her buddy to join her on the floor.
See, I just THOUGHT I was mortified before. I had no idea.
In the ensuing chaos, a couple little kids run over and start playing with the mannequin on the floor, “OH COOOOOL!” Itty Bit wants to play too. Of course, what could make my evening any more memorable?
I cannot get out of there fast enough. I start to head for the counter to pay and Itty Bit plants his feet. All of his skinny little 2-year old weight is no match for my embarrassed determination.
I pay for the items while he is literally laying on the floor trying to claw his way out of the leash. Good times, yeah?
At this point, running through the strollers and goth teenagers back to my car is EXACTLY what I want to do. Itty Bit happily obliges.
How could you be mad at this for long?