For as much as I love my kids, I sure do hate shopping with them. Tonight we went to the mall to get the girls dress shoes that fit. Sounds simple, doesn't it? Theresa, Noelle, Natalie and Regina needed dress shoes that fit. I wanted them to have shoes that fit that also strap onto their feet, so they can run about without their shoes flopping off.
Welllll, Theresa insisted that there wasn't a shoe in the store that would fit her except for a stylish black ballet flat, and she started crying as soon as she learned that I would not be buying any ballet flats tonight. She can be a total grumpface under normal circumstances, but she's impossible whenever we go shopping for shoes or clothes. Regina missed her nap today and was fairly hard to manage, screaming and squirming when anyone other than Conor or I tried to hold her. She immediately put on a pair of pink rubber boots, and refused loudly to take them off. I eventually found several possiblities, and tried them all on her, but while doing that, I wasn't helping Theresa, Noelle, or Natalie find their pairs. Noelle preferred a sparkly shoe style, of which only one in her size could be found in the entire store. Natalie found a shiny mary jane that she liked with relative ease. The biggest problem with the twins was that I needed a bear trap to keep them in place long enough to try anything on - the siren song of the Shoe Store Play Center was irresistible. Conor kept complaining because it was taking too long. Why can't all the girls be quick&easy, decisive shoppers like he is?
Why can't you control your kids, you may ask? I don't know. Too many things going on all at once, too many balls in the air, too many fires to put out. Just trying to accomplish what we came for, therefore redeeming the price of gas and the marginal cost of the trip to the mall.
After the shoe store, we had to stop into one or two others, and by then I'd had it. The rest of the mall stores on the docket had to be scratched, and we headed to Kmart, which was a requirement since I had returns to make. In Kmart, once again Regina proved herself unruly - I will spare you the details. Suffice it to say that I wished the floor would swallow me up. However, it costs me sixteen bucks in gasoline to go to the mall, so I'm going to get what I went to get, goldarnit.
Throughout all of the shopping, Regina kept getting tireder and tireder. And tireder. Finally she stopped fighting it when we were about halfway home. I was able to take her, still sleeping, out of her car seat and into the house. I just didn't have the energy to haul her up two flights of stairs, so I poured her onto the couch while we got everybody in and headed towards bed.
After the bedtime routines, all was quiet, so I threw in a load of laundry and decided to order my circle picture prints and place my internet Christmas orders. That took an hour or two, a good, solid, satisfying block of time in which I was able to concentrate and knock off a huge portion of my gift list. The kids only get one gift each from us, but this year my mom and my dad asked me to shop for the kids for them, too. Anyway, the gift list is relatively short. Big checkmark. Feels good.
Then it was time for me to hit the sack. I thought I'd go sleep on the couch, too, since I hadn't heard a peep from Regina, still downstairs, and I didn't want her to wake up frightened and alone. I walked down the stairs in the dark, and flipped on a small light to check on her.
The house is all locked up, and she didn't cry. There's no way she can unlock the deadbolts, and she didn't come past me. So in my head, I know that she's here somewhere. But still, my heart freezes for just a split second.
Then at the bottom of the steps, I see this:
I cleaned my living room on Tuesday. Today is Saturday, and it's still (mostly) neat and pleasant. That's some kind of record.