you have, how much patience and how much love you can bestow on your wonderful
and well-behaved children.
Are you laughing? Cause I am. What follows is what really happened, that
other part was just a rhetorical question.
It was Sunday, Josh was away in the morning and the kids were climbing the
walls. So we went to the mall. Are you still laughing? Cause I still am. And so
is our friend who stopped by the house to drop something off just as Josh was
pulling up to the house after coming back from the mall, the mall where
he had to come so he could jump the van for me.
Wait, I'm getting ahead of myself. But my point is this: when this same
laughing friend says something along the lines of: So wait, let me get this
straight, the kids were going crazy in the house so Jen thought it would be a
good idea to take them to the most crowded, busiest mall in New Jersey on a
Sunday to walk around?, you should really listen. He knows of what he speaks.
Let's look back in time a few hours, to Sunday morning. The kids were all
cranky, I was cranky and we needed to get out. So while the baby took her
morning (and this day, only) nap, the kids got dressed, found their shoes and
helped me pack a lunch (three cream cheese and a tuna, in case you were
wondering) and a diaper bag. Once the baby woke up, off we went, in our newly clean van.
Things went well in the beginning. We found a good parking spot, everyone
who was supposed to sit in the stroller, sat. Everyone who was supposed to walk,
walked - and even held on to the stroller. Although, sometimes I wish they would
just walk next to me without holding on. It's really very difficult to push a
double stroller while two older kids are hanging off the handlebars - but I'm
not complaining, at least they weren't running around because seriously, that
mall was crowded. As in every single person who lives in NJ (and their mother)
was in the mall.
we walked out with four shoe boxes, one for each kid. Not really the plan, but
when the store is having a sale and the shoes are buy one, get one half off on
top of that, you kind of don't have a choice, you know?
thrilled my kids to no end (we don't get out much), and they even listened when
I said they needed to keep their bagels on their aluminum foil and not on the
nasty, dirty, germ-laden table.
And because they were so well-behaved for a whole hour in the shoe store, I
had promised them ice cream. Unfortunately, there was only one kosher ice cream
place in the mall and it was all the way on the other end of the mall,
and downstairs. So thirty minutes later, we got there. I ordered three small
chocolate and vanilla swirl cones. Kid sized, if you will. The woman then hands
the kids the largest ice cream cones they have ever seen. It's been a while
since I've seen their eyes bug out of their heads like that. I requested extra
cups so their cones could live in a cup when they no longer wanted to hold them
(read: 60 seconds later) but the woman told me they don't give out cups. Or
spoons to people who buy cones. I offer to pay for them and she declines my
offer. Okay then.
humongous ice cream cones, one this-cannot-possibly-be-a-child-sized-cup-of-chocolate-ice-cream for the baby and I start walking, looking for a place to sit. We sit, they eat, and it drips everywhere, and the woman would only give us one napkin per person. Really, what is that? I couldn't even take more napkins, they keep them behind the counter. But don't feel too bad for us, I had a huge thing of baby wipes, we were okay.
Many many minutes later the kids finish their ice cream - or rather, it's
been a half an hour and I want to go home, so I tell the kids they had enough
and we chuck the rest of the cones. The kids actually look relieved that they
don't need to finish them. I was just praying that no one would throw up in my
clean van. Or rather that no one would throw up. No, I'm kidding, I was really
just worried about the van; my kids throw up all the time.
On the trek back to the elevator, we pass a toy store outlet and because I
am in a generous mood and the kids are behaving, I tempt fate and we go in
for a small toy each, okay guys? Looking back, I so wish we hadn't. The
running up and down of the aisles, the begging for $30 toys, the uh-oh, I
have to make, mommy*, which can strike terror in the heart of any mommy
with four kids in a mall. Why, oh why, did we go into the toy store? Why didn't
we just walk straight back to the van, not looking around us, just focusing on
getting to the elevator and out?
Whatever, it's a moot point now. The bathroom-needer was able to hold it in
until after all the negotiating and spending of $26.37 in the toy store and we
finally got out of there.
We finally, finally, made it to the elevator, back to the second floor,
around the entire upstairs to the entrance that we used to come in, out into the
blazing sun to the van, everyone out of the stroller and into the van. Before I
loaded up the bags and the stroller, I leaned in to start the van so I could put
the air conditioner on. And the van doesn't start. Again and again, it doesn't
start. Hmmm, okay, it's a thousand degrees in the van, so everyone out, back
into the stroller and back to walking next to stroller and we go back inside the
mall where we call Josh, who thankfully, is home already.
the van with his (read: my parent's second car we're using for the summer) car,
and an hour later (after sitting on the gross floor of the mall and doling out
what snacks and drinks I had left, and playing countless rounds of "what number
am I thinking of"), we were on the way home.
Not a terrible day at all. We had a lot of fun. It was just a hot, long one, that I think will require a second set of parenting hands the next time we try it.
*Four kids, a double stroller and many many shopping bags does not make
for a pleasant and relaxing trip to a public bathroom. I'd tell you what happened, but it is my hope that one day my children will read this blog and look
back fondly at the memories we make, and so I will have to, for the first time since
the blogging began, keep this one to myself.