I think I've gotten too complacent in my shopping trips. It got really comfortable hitting the store while the older two were in school. Just plop the younger two in a shopping cart and you're in and out. Easy as pie.
I'd forgotten what it was like to take all four of them. But obviously there's a reason I starting going during preschool/school in the first place. I took them to JoAnn's the other day and I swear I needed a Xanax by the time we were done. And that was with my mom there for back up.
But I must have some short term memory loss because I decided to brave the outlets today. The kids all needed new swimsuits, and since I'm fairly certain the stores will be busting out their sweater displays next week, we needed to go to Carter's. NEEDED to. Today.
And you know what? We actually did ok. We made it from the car, past 15 or so stores and in to Carter's without incident. We picked out four swimsuits and several $5 items and only had to pick up about 20 swimsuits knocked off the rack while the kids were playing hide and seek. We paid and made it out of the store without a single screaming fit.
I was feeling pretty darn good. So as we made our way back to the car, I called Daddy to see if he wanted to meet somewhere for lunch. I rounded the corner back to the car and opened the doors with the remote entry. The three oldest ran ahead and jumped in the car. I unlatched the infant carrier from the stroller, latched it into the car, buckled the toddler, opened the trunk, and finalized lunch plans. Then as I was going to fold up the stroller, I saw them....
Three baby blankets. You know, the kind attached to teddy bear heads. In the basket under the stroller. Milgie,the almost two year old, had been playing with them in the store. I know this because I remember putting about 5 of them back on the shelf. Obviously I missed some.
"I'm sorry, honey. We're going to be a little later for lunch than I thought"
"Well, apparently we stole some things and I need to take them back. See you as soon as we can."
So I put the infant seat back into the stroller, grabbed Milgie, waited for the other two to file out of the car, and headed back to the store.
Only this time, Milgie wandered into every store with an open door along the way. Which was every store by the way. She yelled "NO!" every time I asked her to stay with me. She threw herself on the ground each time I tried to hold her hand. She went into Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory four times. I had to physically remove her from the store the last time as she screamed "chocolate!!!" over and over. And Olyut had a meltdown the entire way back because he was certain they were going to throw us all in jail.
I'm pretty sure this second trip took twice as long as the first. I'm definitely sure I'm feeling more humble now.
Lessons of the day:
Never get smug about your parenting skills
Just because the first two kids never had sticky fingers, doesn't mean the younger ones will follow the same path
Wait to go shopping with fewer kids or with an extra set of hands to help
Less chocolate for the toddler. A LOT less.