Recently in the Gap, I was trying with great determination, uncharacteristic positivity, and two children, to find a pair of jeans. Jeans are hard to come by anyway. I mean unless you have $700 to spend on a pair of crazy designer jeans then you just sort of expect to be disappointed in some way. That’s before you have a baby. After you have a baby, everything goes all to hell. Unless you are Heidi Klum, you will have a kangaroo pouch that would be really handy for carrying the baby, only it is full of fat. No one makes post-partum jeans but they really should. My butt and thighs are the same, bigger but not including a marsupial pouch. There is no place to put the pouch in a lot of jeans. If they fit the pouch, they will not fit the butt and thighs. After one disappointing experience, we decided to try the Gap. I usually can’t afford Gap jeans but ill-fitting Wal-Mart jeans don’t always cut it. More on Wal-Mart later. A really great thing would be if a company like Gap made a pair of jeans based on the size you used to be but with more realistic post-partum expectations.
I had my two children and my mother along and things were going ok until we actually entered the store. I took him back outside, got down at eye level and calmly explained to him that while he would rather run around in the big open spaces of the mall (these things are hard to explain to little kids), we were to go inside the small, bulging store and it wouldn’t take long. To my amazement, it worked and we re-entered the Gap where grandma and the baby were checking out the baby girl clothes. It really got complicated when I went to try on jeans. The baby was in the sling and it is hard to try jeans on while baby-wearing. I handed mom the baby, wheeled Ezra into the dressing room and tried to try jeans on in the 4 square inches of space left once I got the stroller into the dressing room. At the previous store, Ezra had been fascinated by the 3 way mirror. Which was awesome and he was calm and adorable. Everyone thinks “well-behaved” children are super cute. But there is really no such thing. The Gap dressing room deigned to just have one mirror which was not good enough for his highness. Ezra started doing the two-year-old, soul-piercing screech of death. I tried on three pairs of jeans in about four minutes all while threatening a two year old with no more cookies ever and other such threats that we both knew were total bluffs. He is a smart guy and he knew that as soon as we walked into Target, a nice box filled with delicious animal crackers would be his. He was right.
I would have crammed about 15 delicious animal crackers in his mouth at that moment if only I’d had the foresight to bring them. I didn’t have a pacifier or sippy cup or anything at all to jam in there. He kept screaming like a drunken banshee for four minutes which felt like 45 hours.
All moms want to be able to go into a public place and not be totally humiliated by their offspring. This has not even happened once in the history of mankind. Mothers are very delusional about it. We have to be or we’d never get to go anywhere ever, not even Wal-Mart. And let’s face it, far more embarrassing things have happened in Wal-Mart than my kids. There are entire websites devoted to embarrassing things at Wal-Mart.
Next time you see a kid pitching a fit somewhere in public do the following:
- Do nothing at all. Keep your mouth shut and do not give anyone a nasty look either.
- Do not assume you could do better. You couldn’t. You can’t. You won’t. Forget it.
- Keep walking and squash all the feelings of superiority that are bubbling in your soul.
I admit that before I had children, I was the perfect parent. I had endless patience. I always knew the perfect thing to say. I certainly never let my hypothetical kid fall out of a little, red wagon on her head (that happened Monday). I also had a sense that I didn’t know what worked for every child and every family in the world. I was just certain that I would do this or that without ever considering the how part. Considering the HOW is number one. When I have made an effort to make a plan, things always go better. If you are delusional enough to consider take small children to a restaurant, make a plan first. I was too concerned with my marsupial pouch to make sure I had water, paci, toys, etc. to occupy toddler while I tried on jeans. I let him out of the stroller while there was still shopping to be done. Rookie mistakes. Only let child out of stroller when all errands are done. I sound like someone’s mother (HA!) but preparation is key people. It…is…key. It won’t prevent every tantrum but it might prevent one and one less toddler actively engaged in a tantrum in the Gap is a good thing.
When I’m at my best, I pack a bag of stuff to do, stuff to eat, stuff to drink, and stuff to occupy. Be prepared to take everything and the kitchen sink. The annoying thing about being prepared is that you usually don’t need any of the stuff you packed but if you don’t have it, you will need it every single time.
With that said, keep in mind when shopping with children that they are children. They hate shopping. They are surrounded by bright lights, loud sounds, they are trapped in a shopping cart or stroller, it’s a frenzied environment (especially around the holidays) and the whole world expects them to be “good” and quiet. Mkay. Lol. Two hours of shopping and that includes getting in the car, walking into the mall, and the acquisition of food all count towards the two hour total. Any longer and I’m the mom with the melting down child. Little people are not designed to be able to sustain all day shopping marathons in a Black Friday type crowd. This will save your sanity. Keep it short, don’t dawdle, keep child fed and watered, dry diaper, scope out places for breastfeeding upon arrival, wear the baby, know your children and what is actually possible for them and chill out. There will always be someone judging your parenting. This is inevitable.
What have we learned here? Post-partum jeans would be great. I’d buy the heck out of them! Kids are stinkers in public. Prepare to distract and redirect while trying on jeans by learning to juggle. Better yet, order everything from the internet and save yourself the banshee screaming in public. It will still happen but you’ll be at home.