Thursday, March 20, 2008

How I Lost My Privacy

If you are male and tend to be embarrassed over women's issues, or if you are male and tend to harass me about anything, ever, then close your browser. Now. Don't talk back, just do it. Because this is not a gender neutral post. It's a girly-girl post.

On the family blog.

Today, it became rather apparent that I seriously needed to go shopping. No, not because I am a shopaholic. Those who know me can testify to my lack of concern for fashion. I miss the days of leggings and oversized sweaters. Oh, wait. That is stylish again now. But I have gained weight in places that leggings don't flatter. Or flatten. Whatever.

And I didn't need to shop because I love it so much. Age is bringing on a growing appreciation for window shopping, but not for clothes. See shopaholic reasoning. I simply don't care. So long as I am looking modest and neat, then the latest fashion can keep right on hanging on that rack.

No. Shopping was certainly with a purpose today. As it would have to be. I took all three kids with me. And no stroller. DO YOU HEAR THE WORDS THAT ARE COMING OUT OF MY MOUTH? (er, being typed by my hands?!?) I took all three children into a department store. By myself. Without my beloved stroller.

I was indeed a woman on a mission. While I was puttering around the house today, trying to get another load of stuff crammed into the back of my van, I felt an odd popping sensation. While I was busy cramming, my brassier was busy dieing. I just trashed my next to last comfy one a few weeks ago, promising myself to make time to go shopping. Alone. In Victoria's Secret, or something that made that kind of shopping glamorous.

Let me just insert here that taking three kids into VS does nothing to help define glamorous.

That's why I found myself in Penney's with a baby propped up on a hip (that's why women's hips really spread, to make a comfy pad for the kid to sit on) and two pre-schoolers giggling at the lingerie that they could put on their heads. Why do they hang the largest cup sizes so low? I would have laughed and been clicking pictures of those two, but, no. Not really feeling the funniness of it all at that moment.

As I perused the selections, the kids giggled and grabbed and played peek-a-boo with the DD sizes. Elizabeth did her level best to chew or drool on anything she could get a grubby hand on, and I tried to manage my selections in the same hand that held Elizabeth while using my 'spare' hand to remove future shopper's selections from her mouth.

Finally I was ready to head to the dressing rooms. Oh, happy, happy, joy, joy. The Lingerie Lady eyed me and my children and my bundle of bras. She nodded in the general direction of the dressing rooms and told me to take my pick. They were all open and empty. Would my children like some candy?

People say that out loud. 'Can I give your kids refined sugar in dark colors and brightly colored packages?' And the kids will look at me with huge, pitiful eyes that are begging for this lovely treat. And I caved. It was much easier than dealing with the inevitable fall out. I mean if things go well, the kids don't whine, but then they are nitpicky with each other. If things don't go well, I wind up with someone whining, crying, or sometimes sitting down and stubbornly glaring at me.

I would love to say that my kids don't do that, but they do. Especially when they are tired. And I take them in a store to shop for not fun stuff.

So Lingerie Lady gives each child a small chocolate bar. I herded them into the largest fitting room, sat Sarah Grace in one corner and gave her the go ahead to unwrap and enjoy her chocolate. Thomas sat kitty cornered to her in his spot and unwrapped his bar. As the chewing and slurping commenced, I moved the chair (with arms!) over to the mirror and sat Elizabeth in it to play with her reflection. Then I did what I needed to do.

Except Elizabeth kept grasping for tags and trying to chew them. Quick, distract her with a hanger. Try on another one. Remove bra from Elizabeth's hand. Where did she get that long piece of string she is chewing on? Next one to try on. Remove bra from Elizabeth's mouth. Give her another hanger.

As all of this is going on, Thomas and Sarah Grace are very diligently working on their chocolate bars. Somehow, they managed to keep their faces and their hands neat. Oh, and the fitting room is filling up. As I was trying on the last of the undergarments, Thomas chose to be aware of what was going on. Loudly and with much praise in his voice, he chimed in with his opinion.

'That one fits you good and you did it on all by yourself, Mommy!'

*giggle, snicker, outright laugh*

Sigh. No dignity to this. None. And it's not like in the bathroom where you just wait until all the other people leave. No, not like that at all. I had to go out and face my audience. Or Thomas' audience, rather.

I managed to pry all the rejects from Elizabeth's little hands and get the kids lined up without further commentary. We marched out of the dressing room area as several ladies smiled and I tried to hold my head high. I noticed that as we stepped out into the shopping area, Lingerie Lady had taken away the reject rack. Not wanting to lay all those unwanted, ill fitting bras down to create further work for anyone, the kids followed me through the department as I replaced them to their racks.

Just as we were finishing up, I turned and saw Thomas and Sarah Grace facing each other with a rather large bra covering their heads. Their entire heads. I was grateful they couldn't see my face, because it took me a moment to quit giggling and compose my features in a way more suited to tell them to please put it back and quit! For the love of Pete, quit!

The kids were rambunctious and sugar buzzing and feeding off each other's energy by this time. We made our way to the check out counter where I placed Thomas on one side of me and Sarah Grace on the other side of me. I falsely believed this would keep them still for the three minutes it would take us to check out. No. Thomas started tickling Elizabeth's feet (which stay bare, since she just tosses the socks in the floor of where ever we happen to be) and Sarah Grace had to check out what the giggles were about. She poked her head around and started laughing, causing Thomas to peek around and start giggling. A new game of peek-a-boo ensued with all three kids laughing maniacally as Lingerie Lady rang me up and kept glancing at the kids like they were some fantastical creature rather than just a crew of noisy, happy children. She handed me my receipt and reached for her candy basket, all prepared to offer more sugar to my children.

It took all my restraint not to slap her hand. All of it. She must have noticed my hand trembling because she asked me with her eyes if the kids could have more candy. The fervent shake of my head must have been enough to convince her to stay quiet, and the basket was quickly stowed back beneath the desk. I grabbed my bag and told the kids to hold hands. As we were leaving the Lingerie Department, Thomas glanced over his shoulder and yelled 'thank you' to the Lingerie Lady. I happened to look back to see if she heard him and saw one of the shoppers pointing to us and talking to another lady.

No doubt telling her of my Super Mommy skills and how I needed my three year old son's advice on bra shopping. And that, friends, is what having kids is all about. Learning that privacy is really only a pipe dream and that kids really are a slice of humble pie.


Katherine said...

I was so nervous reading about your braving the dressing room with three kids. You are a brave lady. Very brave!

Love, your cousin,

The Bouldins said...

Hee! I still haven't even braved the supermarket or just a regular trip to Target with two kids. Bra shopping with three? Did you wear your super hero cape?

Lora Lynn said...

i suppose now you're going to be demanding a gold star...

Anonymous said...

GOOD JOB! GIRLIE-- and yes--u get a GOLD STAR!!!

Amy Cranston said...

Wow! That was a great post! thanks for making me smile yet again! I haven't checked your blog in a while. I loved it all! The pics of the kids are great! Love you!