I did something tres stupid yesterday.
Oliver was home for his first of TWO PED days in a row, and Ava Scarlett doesn’t have preschool on Thursdays. Since we’re in the middle of having the house painted (which is taking a MILLION YEARS, by the way) I figured I should keep them out of the house as much as possible. After a short time spend at a toddler play-group, I decided to take the kids downtown for a short while.
I wanted to have a look at some department store furniture (there’s stuff on sale right now) and as we’re getting close to the purchasing-stage of some items we need, I thought we could just whip downtown on the Metro, maybe meet daddy for lunch if he had time to see us, then have a fast look around said department store, and just come home again in time for a late-day nap for Madame.
The crazy part was I decided to forgo the stroller and just hoof it.
I know. I know.
Here’s the thing: I see people walking around with toddlers ALL THE TIME out in the world. My nearly-three-year-old walks very, very well. In fact, she RUNS just about everywhere. The trouble is, she’s also exactly the kind of child that those leashy-restraint thingies are designed for. She’s willful and crazy. She doesn’t like rules, and I think she eats DANGER for breakfast.
I really don’t know what I was thinking.
Our home life is so crazy these days… we’re all crammed into basically TWO available rooms these days – everything else is under plastic. We’ve got extra furniture and toys and stuff all over the place, and we’re on top of one another constantly. These children are all up in my grill, man. Holy crap.
I wanted an easy day with less stuff. She’s been potty trained since the summer… she can walk for long periods of time… no wipes? No dipes? No sippy-cups or snacks? Easy-peasy, I thought. We’ll be gone for 2 or 3 hours max, I won’t be buying much of anything = no extra bags to carry, and besides, they LOVE riding the Metro. It’s three short subway stops. Let’s just GO!
First, we had to make a public washroom stop before we even got on the Metro, and one when we got off. And another one just after lunch. And yet another before we got back on the Metro for home. In case you don’t already know, I loathe this sort of experience with the Littles.
And? Madame fell down a few stairs on the way down to the metro platform. I was trying to stuff my wallet into my purse, which was already bulging from the fleece jacket, couple of hats, two pairs of mitts and scarf I was suddenly carrying. She wanted to go down the stairs by herself (of course) and before I knew it, I witnessed her head bounce face-first off a step, and I was certain she’d be gushing blood from every orifice the moment I turned her over.
Oh my god. Oh my god. Oh my god.
Fortunately, when I reached her, she was intact and perfectly fine – mostly scared – but you know that kind of terror doesn’t live for long. She stood up and tried to jump on every step the rest of the way down. It wasn’t even the first near-heart attack I experienced with this child that day. She is killing me. Seriously. Lordhavemercy.
Of course, we had to have lunch the moment we got off the train, because they were sooooo huuuuuungry! Sadly, daddy was on a conference call and couldn’t join us, so we found a McDonalds (after our second bathroom break of the day) and got in line.
It’s very nice that the McDonalds ladies are so kind to my kids. Really, it is. But when they start fawning and screwing up their faces in that ohmygodthey’resocuuuuute kind of way, I feel a bit ridiculous – especially because the line of people behind us is so long… erm, can we just get our lunch, please?
The nice ladies in the glossy hair-nets say, “Oh, can we give them an ice cream? On the house? Oh please… just a little tiny cone?! A treat… oh please…”
Naturally, Ava Scarlett hears the word ice cream and practically starts hyperventilating. It’s obvious to me that none of these young ladies behind the counter have any kids. I’m pleading to them with my eyes… PLEASE DON’T DO THIS TO ME… but instead, they just lean over the counter and pinch my kids’ cheeks and stuff. I let out a long sigh and then put on my best smile.
“That is soooo kind of you! Can we come back AFTER they eat lunch, please?”
They understand now. They tell us not to even get back in line afterward – just come to this side of the counter when you want your cones. Don’t forget!
Not bloody likely, lady.
So my kids each eat approximately one third of their lunch, and I painfully toss the rest into the trash, and we go back for miniature cones, since my kids can’t stop shouting about them. (You’d think they’d never been allowed to have it before, they were so happy.) And the cones drip mercilessly. Sticky mess. Back to the washroom. Ack.
Ice cream!! ICE CREAM!! Sugar is GOOD!! They RUN!! A lot!!
I have to fight to get Madame to hold my hand. She twists and she writhes. She’s not getting her way, so she goes limp and refuses to walk. Her sudden slackness wrenches me sideways as I’ve suddenly got 28 pounds dangling from one arm. No wonder my back aches all the time.
In the furniture department, I’m constantly chastising someone in a whisper-shout to stand right here… get off the couch, please… DON’T TOUCH ANYTHING!! I can barely turn over a price-tag without having to run to the sudden rescue of someone too close to the escalator or something. My eyes are always checking the locations of two short people with dark hair. It’s exhausting.
Then comes the too-loud laughing. And the whining. And the giddiness. And the tears. It’s like being with mental patients, I swear.
And then begins the litany of complaints. I’m thiiiiiiirsty. I’m tiiiiiiired. I have to go to the baaaaathroooooooom.
I decide to abandon ship in the pillow-section of the store, which is uncannily quiet, but for the shrieks of my Littles. My eyes are cast upwards to the heavens, as I wonder why I’m being plagued this way.
An older woman comes over to me and puts her hand on my arm. She smiles and tells me how beautiful my children are, and how lucky I am. And how these are the best days of my life – to enjoy every minute.
I narrowed my eyes and gave her the once-over, wondering if she was on crack.
I smiled back weakly, and resisted the urge to punch her in her wrinkled old-lady neck.
The best days? Really?! I’m not so sure about that, woman. Gah!
Of course, I might not have questioned it so harshly had I brought my stroller with me yesterday. Let me tell you – I won’t be doing that again anytime soon. We’re not ready for that much freedom just yet. I’m certainly not ready.
I’ve decided that those people who are out in the world with their toddlers-out-of-strollers are either a) at least a pair of adults to keep their kid(s) reigned in, or 2) have their cars parked within forty paces of their shopping destinations, or f) are crazy in the head. I am not one of them. It ain’t me, babe. Oh hells to the NO, it ain’t me, babe.
Got any stroller-woes to share? Please tell me I’m not alone here…