I made a terrible mistake, which began, as it so often does, with me venturing outside. to the mall, specifically, where I made the second mistake, which was to take the five youngest with me. and now my head is spinning.
back in the early years of raising kids, I used to run out fairly often. at least a few times a week, I'd pile the littles in the car and off we'd go. to the mall, or Target, or if I was feeling really adventurous, the grocery store even. most of the time, it was because I was either bored or craving some adult interaction (or both!) that I decided to venture out. okay, and maybe I just had to have those adorable shoes from baby Gap so what?
eventually, as two kids morphed into four, and four kids into six, and six into I lost count, those spur of the moment outings became fewer and farther between. not only had life become more hectic, I had become older and wiser and therefore knew better than to shop with a pile of kids in tow. really, it never amounted to anything besides disaster and frustration anyway, so what was the point? of course, every now and then I'd forget and take the littles out shopping only to kick myself later over the stupidity of my action.
here I was at the mall with not just two, mind you, but five little kids. with Gary plus four kids gone backpacking, Hannah had somehow convinced me that this would be something fun to do to help pass the time. read: she had a Victoria's Secret gift card and some babysitting money burning a hole in her pocket. and so, after she promised to help keep the kids in line, I (reluctantly) agreed to go.
after unloading everyone and everything out of the suburban (which btw, was quite the production), we slowly made our way through the parking lot and into the mall. I was pushing Finley in the stroller, Hannah had Rowan and Scarlett by the hand, and Ella and Phoebe were obediently following behind. maybe it wasn't going to be so bad after all, I thought.
the second we stepped into Victoria's Secret, everything sort of fell apart at the seams.
Hannah, eager to find something to spend her gift card on, let go of Rowan and Scarlett and made a beeline for the yoga pants. Rowan, realizing he was now free, took off at a dead run toward the scantily clad mannequin and began pulling at her panties. "look mom!" I heard him exclaim, "this guy wears underwear!" I was about to tell Ella to go fetch Rowan, when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw her racing towards the cosmetic section where an intoxicating cloud of perfume was billowing through the air. through the haze, I caught a glimpse of Phoebe frantically trying out all the perfume testers. fortunately, Scarlett hadn't strayed too far. she was busy yanking bras off of a nearby stand and throwing them on the floor. the pile was growing at an alarming rate.
all this and we hadn't even been in the store for a minute.
not wanting to cause more of a scene than I already had, I quickly lassoed up the five hooligans and raced out of the store as fast as I could. on my way out, I caught Hannah's attention and motioned to her that I'd be outside waiting. in other words, DON'T DAWDLE.
once we had everyone and everything loaded back into the suburban, I collapsed in a heap into the driver's seat, thoroughly exhausted from our mini excursion. I was just about to say, "NEVER AGAIN," when Hannah looks over at me, smiles and says, "well, that wasn't so bad, was it?"
I can not wait until she has her own brood.
PS. I've been steadily building up a stockpile of "crazy Rowan photos" which I will use as ammunition to get back at him someday. I'm thinking I'll pull these ones out right after he introduces us to his new girlfriend. that ought to break the ice.