Shopping With Toddlers

Why shopping with toddlers is a bad idea.

For people who follow my other blog you will remember this post. For everyone else I wrote this when my kids were 2, 3 and 4 years old and it's what happens when you go shopping with toddlers.

For years I could wear the same clothes over and over again but once you hit motherhood you actually need new clothes. I am not talking about maternity clothes, that's obvious, but you actually get too big for some clothes and too small for other clothes as you lose your baby fat, and don't get me started on what happens to your ever-changing shoe size. Then your kids will actually gnaw on and tear your clothing and stain your favorite outfits with various excretions. So, I am not exaggerating when I say I need a couple of new outfits. Taking a 2, 3 and 4 year old to the mall is usually one of my least favorite things to do but somebody has to do it.

As soon as we get to Macy's, Hazel and Mitch find a sofa and sit down. I am stunned! I expected them to stay with me but not actually sit and behave. This is looking really good. I am super happy. Jay is in the stroller munching on Cheerios and I actually find a skirt and 2 shirts right away. My luck is improving. I ask Mitch and Hazel to follow me to a different part of the store and they listen, and they stay with me.

As I rummage around looking for a pair of jeans that will make my legs look thin, I hear a voice ask, "What brand of stroller is that?". I look up and see a cute mom with 2 girls. So I tell her the brand, and then she just stares at me. I recognize the look on her face. It's the please talk to me,and don't make me go home by myself and be alone with small children look. I know that feeling, I don't want to abandon her, but I am working on borrowed time here. My kids are behaving and who knows how long that's going to last. But I can't leave her. So I ask, "How far apart are your girls?" Less than 2 years apart.

I knew it. Us moms that have kids less than 2 years apart can find each other anywhere. Across a crowded room with rainbows and hearts coming out of our eyes. She didn't know that was the reason she was talking to me because she is right in the middle of it, but I knew. Her youngest is 3 months old and her oldest just turned 2 years old. Now I was torn. I had a mission, find some clothes that didn't make me look fat, feed my kids, and get home in time for naptime. But now I just found an overwhelmed mom in the mall who needs company. So I took a deep breath and talked to her for a few minutes. As soon as Jay started throwing Cheerios everywhere and trying to wipe his boogers on clothes, and Mitch really wanted to kiss her sleeping 3 month old, (which is sweet but germy), and Hazel was getting jealous that I was talking to other little girls. It was time to pull the plug.

I headed to the dressing room. In the past I have grabbed clothes, bought them, tried them on at home, and then returned the ones that don't fit. But I am feeling brave and we get the giant dressing room that is fully enclosed so nobody can sneak under the stall walls. Macy's is having a massive sale so the dressing rooms are packed with women.

Once in the dressing room I actually let Jay out to run around since it's fully enclosed, and I start to disrobe.

"Mommy, I see your panties."

"Of course you do, I just took off my pants." I could have sworn I heard a giggle outside our stall. I take off my shirt.

"Mommy you're fat."


"Mommy you're fat," Hazel chimes in, she has to do everything Mitch does.

"Hazel and Mitch that's not nice."

"But Mommy you are fat." Now I can definitely hear laughing outside our dressing room.

"Ok that's enough you are lowering my self-esteem." More snickers.

"What's self-esteem?"

"You are making me feel bad about myself by calling me fat."

"But you are fat." More laughter. Sigh.

"You are fat because you had 3 babies in your pouch." Ok, somebody actually snorted. They laughed hard enough to snort.

"Like a kangaroo." Hazel chimes in.

"I didn't have 3 babies at once and it's not a pouch, it's a tummy." And I don't care how much I work out and lose weight and do sit-ups I do, I still have a pouch of skin around my belly-button.

So now Mitch takes this opportunity to grab that excess skin and try to fold it into a taco and start kissing it. And saying,

"But Mommy your tummy is so cute and soft and cuddly and you had babies inside it, mwah, mwah, mwah." (Those are kissy sounds).

At this exact moment Jay realizes that the door only locks on the inside and he can leave this joint. So he turns the handle and starts to open the dressing room door.


I lunge at the door just in time and slam it shut with the palm of my hand. In the meantime, I knock over Mitch and Jay has grabbed my leg and is trying to bite me.

"Jay no biting!" Nobody is trying to hide their laughter now and I want to dissappear.

I slam the stroller in front of the door and lock all 4 brakes.

"Mommy you pushed me down!"

"I didn't push you down, I tripped over you because you were standing right on top of me!"

"Get off the floor and go sit next to your sister! Look how good Hazel is."

"She is licking the mirror."

"Hazel! Don't lick the mirror, that is disgusting!"

I have managed to get my clothes back on and Jay has figured out he can't move the stroller away from the door and he is in a screaming rage. Nobody is laughing now. I have to wrestle him back into the stroller and that is like wrestling with a midget on PCP.

I am sweating as I back the stroller out of the dressing room and nobody will look me in the eye as they all try not to laugh.

At this point I still have to buy my clothes, feed the kids, do naptime, pay work bills, clean house, laundry, dinner, bathtime and bedtime.

I deserve a night out.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

L July 13, 2012 at 04:38 PM
Sure, I know that kids learn differently. I also know all too often I've seen parents allow their children to act completely out of control and they either ignore it or laugh it off. I don't think the original poster necessarily allows out of control behavior based on what I've read, or anyone else in this comment thread, because I don't jump to conclusions. I will not "read between the lines" regarding what A Reader has said about his/her parenting, because based on what he/she said, I don't see anything that leads me to believe that his/her kids grew up fearful of their parents. I don't necessarily agree with A Reader's analysis of ADD, but that's another thing.
Renae Wilber July 13, 2012 at 05:40 PM
Oh that reminds me! My daughters had this comfort zone walking into my bedroom without knocking. I didn't really enforce the knocking, so no big deal. Then one day when one was around 15, she walked in while I was changing...fresh out of the shower...and her reaction, quite raw "Oh my Gawd mom! Oh my Gawd your naked!" she covered her eyes and ran out of the room. I simply said (while laughing) "knock next time." They are never too old to teach, we just have to hope that we have nurtured a healthy enough relationship with them that they will listen.
Renae Wilber July 13, 2012 at 05:49 PM
Sorry to offend L, you just didn't tell us when you said "Quite frankly, I could do without TV, there's nothing but crap on anymore" that your comment wasn't supposed to be taken at face value. Were we supposed to read between the lines? Oh wait, you said we shouldn't read between the lines. I do think you have made a lot of really good points, in fact, you were spot on, on many things - but "A Reader" went on and on about expensive restaurants, kids kicking chairs, etc. etc. when nothing remotely resembled anything of what she was responding to from Charlotte's blog. It was a funny story, no more, no less...."A Reader" got on an angry kids are brats rampage which reflected a lot of hostility leaving the readers wanting to defend Charlotte and her great story. And a great story it was.
Janice P Ellis July 15, 2012 at 03:36 PM
I absolutely LOATHED the "children should be seen and not heard" sentiment when I was growing up! It was one of my late mother's favorite quotes. I remember how ashamed I would feel when she said that to me. Even today, over 50 years later, I'm still reminded of the phrase when I hear some of the neighborhood children screaming their heads off. My mom would have nearly decapitated me if I had screamed like that. I don't believe parents should allow their children to behave like wild animals (check out the Danville Costco sometime - suggestion to parents: it MIGHT be a good idea to hold your child's hand in the parking lot if your child is younger than 4 years old. And, allowing your children to run around the store like lunatics isn't such a great idea either). Still, I believe some parents OVER discipline their kids. It's called childhood, not boot camp.
jennifer de smedt July 15, 2012 at 06:46 PM
Charlotte, I enjoyed your story and have appreciated the lively discussion. It speaks volumes about your willingness to share relatable stories, your tolerance of opposing viewpoints, and your talent for opening the minds of others by encouraging them to pause before reacting and forming judgements. Changing perceptions is a tough business, but you are doing it through your passion of educating others in a humorous, relatable way. That's a sign of a good writer! Thanks for the post.


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