I found this story I wrote up a long time ago. If semantic errors drive you crazy skip it, because I have not time to correct it right now!
I have decided to take the five kids along with me to buy birthday presents for the weekend parties. We were actually invited to three parties, but will only be attending 2, because Steve and I have a Chinese wedding to attend on Sunday.
I get the kids shoed and jacketed (if there is such a term, and even if there isn’t). I send the big boys down the stairs first to wait in our tiny area we call “the entrance or entrance way”. When I had first moved from Manhattan I couldn't’t stop calling it the lobby. As in “wow this is a really small lobby.” Steve would not so patiently remind me that it was not a lobby that we did not live in an apartment and he was under no circumstances the DOORMAN. Any way some people are very sensitive about job titles, doorman, bellhop really what’s the difference.
This day I put Cara’s pink Mary Jane’s on, though I prefer her pink sneakers, I was forced by the pandemonium breaking out around me, as it often does when the shoes are brought out, to settle for the Mary Jane’s. The babies understand that the shoes mean we are leaving the house and apparently leaving the house calls for an excess of laughter, screaming, ever more feats of dangerous climbing (Mark can climb up to, and stand on the window sill, edge his way across the window sill to turn on the radio or to knock it off its perch) and lots of tears. So I went with the Mary Jane’s.
I open the door to the den and the three 16 month old babies run, fall down, get up, step on each other and race for the doorway, getting stuck as all three end up there at the same time some how, with the one who is the least able to get through, stepping back to pull on jackets and hair to get the other two blockers to his or her freedom out of the way. This tactic rarely works. A few screams and a backward body slam usually send the puller down on his butt and the other two burst through to our landing, which is precariously small for three toddlers who need to turn around and get down on all fours to crawl down the stairs. There is usually one that will attempt the stair forward and needs to be seriously redirected. My goal at this point is to sit halfway down the stairs (there are only 8 steps) to slow people down and give some direction. Mikie is first to hit the stairs but 2 steps from the bottom something shiny strikes his fancy and he had the audacity to STOP! Before I could move Mark literally climbed on Mikies back shimmied down and landed first. Mikie yelled and batted at him, but he never had a fighting chance I mean he STOPPED, he didn’t have a leg to stand on.
Now we have made it down to the lobby and I am seriously fuming that the stupid doorman is not their and he will certainly get no tip this Christmas. The babies are crowding poor Chris and Matt who have little patience in this small space. The babies are trying to grab all the keys they see on our little key table as Chris freaks out yelling “no babies danger!” Matthew swings open the door and I swear there is a full moment when all action and noise ceases, just like in a movie. Matthew makes eye contact with me and realized a beat too late that he should not have opened the door.
Matthew beats a fast track out of there and I run out the door knowing that my only chance is to swing open the large side doors of the van. I grab the handle and it’s locked. One baby is making his way to the backyard, another to the street. I get the key and unlock it. Like that the gremlins, I mean babies, hear the door and start charging the van. Chris sees their intention at the same time as Matthew and they jump over the babies to be first.
I lock all five kids into seats and put in a movie (so much for no TV under 2 how about no R-rated movies under 2 ? Sometimes goals must be amended). We arrive peacefully to the mall, which includes me driving an 8 foot tall, 15 passenger van, under a bridge clearly marked 6’11”. We park outside of the garage because it is marked 7’, you would think after the bridge I would have no respect for those signs…but I am trying to be good role model some of the time.
I gather everyone. Matthew and Christopher fell asleep on the way so I am able to get the triple stroller together and put the babies in the stroller in relative calmness. The boys are great holding carefully to the stroller as we make our way through the parking lot. It never ceases to amaze me how many people treat the parking lot like the Indy 500 as I brush off any memories of me acting the same way only a few short years ago. It is so much easier to be a self-righteous mom if you edit our any part of your life when you were not a mom.
We tried to look for a gift at the Children’s place but it is too crowded and I give up. Oh but there is a KB toys store. We walk in and there is a potty emergency so we run back down the hall to the potty, thank God for family rooms that they have now. Chris does not want to go, but I promise not to flush the toilet and he agrees to the terms. Leaving the family potty room the other families are stunned. I have clearly gone way overboard in my effort to fit into the “family potty room” definition, perhaps I am trying to get those slackers with only one kid in tow to look bad. .
We get back to KB and I find the perfect gifts 2/10.00 so by perfect I mean dirt cheap and age appropriate (give me a break they won’t even be in the same school next year). While shopping the big boys see that the store has a pool set up full of balls. “can we go in?” um sure. Now should I let them play while I shop or will they get stolen? Ah well they’re almost 4 they have to learn to fend for themselves some point. And though it is annoying to me and the other shopper in the store, I call out to them every five minutes and they have taken to running between me and the pool. I check out and the help doesn’t even bother stopping there conversation when I pay, let alone make eye contact. So, the babies need to stretch there legs too, it is only fair. Into the pool they go. All five kids are playing as if they never left the house before. They were having so much fun. Other parents stop in and try to get there kids to play also, but it is too intimidating for the other kids. People are literally stopping in the window to watch and my kids. They bring a smile to everyone who sees them (maybe it is just a smile of relief that they are not theirs but a smile is a smile). I feel incredible proud of them as absurd as they may sound.
Any way after about 20 minutes I pull Mikie out, when I go to get Cara out he dives head first over the edge of the inflated pool and into the balls. I never saw him laugh so hard. Cara takes a walk and tries to leave the store, but not on Chrissy’s watch. He screams “no Cara, no don’t leave Mom, Cara is leaving!” He runs the 4 steps to her side grabs her arm, she loses her balance and falls, this does not deter Chris who drags her on her butt back to the stroller. Cara tough girl that she is, never bats an eye at being knocked over and dragged by her pink clad arm in the opposite direction of her intentions. With promises of ice cream I get them all situated and going again.
I realized at this point that Cara’s shoe is missing. Her sock is black now, and I don’t know how long the shoe has been missing. But lets face it I don’t like those stupid shoes and one of my great parenting strengths is that I am not very detailed orientated, often putting my comfort and rest above changing diapers in a timely fashion and changing the babies clothes when a few stains mysteriously appear. So if anyone was vaguely under the impression that I would consider charging back through the mall looking for an ugly shoe you were seriously mistaken.
The ice cream is bought, cones for the boys a small cup for the triplets to split. We find a nice quiet area to make loud and not so nice and chow down. The boys are corralling the babies who will not wander far from the source of the ice cream any way. Then I pack everyone up for the van. When we are leaving Matthew is begging to stay. I can’t blame him it was a great afternoon and I came home with two gifts, of course I realized that I actually need two for each party.. but any way. It was a nice day. It was not Disney World, but it seemed magical anyway, it so hard to convey why. And to top it off what is on the running board of “big”? The pink ugly Mary Jane! All I can hope now is for the doorman to be home to help me get all these kids out out of the lobby.