Mission: Denim Directive

shopping 2

Shopping with preschoolers can be fun.  Shopping for clothing for myself accompanied by the girls, however, is more like a military operation than any kind of enjoyable experience.  It requires speed, agility, intelligence, and bribery.

Step one:  (while still in the car)  “We are here to buy jeans for Mama.  There will be NO touching of the items in the store.  You MUST stay with me.  If you behave, we will go see the puppies at the pet store.”  Firmness and bribery work wonders.

Step two:  Arrive at the store just as they are unlocking the door, so we are the only customers.  I refuse to have my kids ruin anyone else’ shopping experience.  Nobody wants my kids asking them why they want lacey underwear, or voicing their opinion on the color of bra they have picked out.

Step three:  I go directly to the wall of jeans, ignoring any and all other clothing displays.  This is no time to browse.  We are on a mission, people!  No, don’t look at the cute new tops in the center of the store.  Pretend you have blinders, woman, and go for the denim.

Step four:  With one hand holding on to Ellie’s hood, quickly scan the bootleg jeans’ tags for the size I think I am, repeating to Laurel that no, she can’t hide behind the dresses on the rack next to us.

Step five:  Loudly announce that we have to go back to the fitting rooms so I can try on my jeans, thus alerting the store employee and my children that we are moving into Phase Two.

Step six:  “You can use the handicapped room, ma’am.”  Thank you, kind salesperson.  You obviously have children of your own.  Now we have containment.

Step seven:  Encourage the girls to amuse themselves by looking in the three-way mirror while I try on the first pair of jeans.  They are too big.  Crap.

Step eight:  Lock the kids in the fitting room and run back out to the jeans wall in my socks, frantically scan the tags for a smaller size, and run back before Ellie realizes that she can crawl under the door and escape.  Too late.  Ellie is missing.  I hear her giggling from the next fitting room.  Which is locked.  I coax her back out with the promise of puppies later.  Listen to sales lady laugh at me.

Step nine:  Get my old jeans back on, look for my shoes.  Where the hell are my shoes?  Laurel, get back here!  Why are you wearing my shoes?  Where are YOUR shoes?  No, Ellie, get back in here!

Step ten:  Take my new jeans up the counter.  Yell at the girls to GET BACK HERE RIGHT NOW while answering the nice sales lady’s questions.  Yes, I have a charge card.  Yes, I have a coupon.  No, I don’t want you to order another pair for me in the lighter color I really wanted.  I don’t have time for that.  No, I don’t want to spend five more dollars so I can save ten.  Nothing in this store costs only five dollars.  IF YOU TWO DON’T GET BACK HERE RIGHT THIS INSTANT WE ARE GOING STRAIGHT HOME.

shopping

Step eleven:  Push purse up to shoulder and shopping bag onto wrist.  Grab the girls’ hands, and head for the doors.  “Mama, I have to go potty!”  Of course you do.

Step twelve:  Beg sales person to let us use the employee-only bathroom.  Thank them profusely.  Pick up Ellie so she can’t run off while we wait for Laurel to go potty.  Hold her as she struggles and yells “DOWN” over and over.  Ask Laurel if she needs help.  No.  Try to get Ellie to calm down by dancing around and being silly.  Get smacked in the face.  Ask Laurel if she is done yet.  No.  Try swinging Ellie around in circles to amuse her.  “DOWN DOWN DOWN!”  Laurel, you need to be done now!  I need help!  Put Ellie down and try to keep ahold of her hand while propping the bathroom door open with my foot and reaching inside to push the soap dispenser for Laurel.  Lose grip on Ellie.

Step thirteen:  Catch Ellie before she can pull down an entire display of necklaces, grab Laurel’s hand, and head out to the car.  “Mama, what about the puppies?!”

Step fourteen:  Go to pet store and look at puppies.  Remember how much easier life was when we just had dogs.  Wonder if the store would take a trade.

puppy

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Dogs Are Not Babies

 

Foster

Foster

 

The other day a friend of mine told me that she understands the craziness of my life because she just got two new puppies, and it is NUTS at her house.  At first I just stared at her in disbelief, then I laughed hysterically.  But it got me thinking…this isn’t the first time I’ve heard people liken having puppies or dogs to having children.  I’m fairly sure I even made the comparison myself, before having the girls.  Because until you have kids, you have NO idea.  You just don’t know what crazy is.  And to prove this to you, here are some ways that dogs and children differ.

1.  Puppies come to you at around 8 weeks of age, fully weaned, running, and ready to play.  Babies..not so much.  Ignoring the entire pregnancy and birthing process, babies take a year to start eating real food and walking.  That’s a year of late-night feedings, and a year of carrying your baby around everywhere you go.  No just snapping on a leash and hitting the road.

2.  Puppies potty train within weeks of coming home.  Toddlers, on the other hand, can take years.  YEARS of dirty diapers, of poopslosions, of peeing in your face, of peeing on your couch, of pooping in your lap.  You get the picture.  Cleaning up your puppy’s messes has NOTHING on cleaning up after a toddler who has discovered that poop is just like finger paint that you make yourself.

3.  You are allowed, in fact encouraged, to train your puppy to sleep through the night by locking him in a small crate.  Try that with your kids, and you’ll find out if orange really is the new black.

4.  You can call your dog a asshole and not feel guilty about it.  You also don’t have to worry about your dog repeating those words in front of other people.  Actually, I wish my dog would start cursing.  Then at least I could make some money off the little jerk.

5.  You can have a dog and still have a life.  Need to go to the grocery store?  Pop Fido in his cozy little crate, grab your wallet, and be on your way.  Same with going out with your friends on a Friday night.  Not with kids.  Junior has to go with you everywhere.  No crates for babies.  Going to the grocery store with a baby is more like an Antarctic expedition.  You need the carrier, blankets, toys, snacks, lists, coupons (because now that you have kids, you have a LOT less money), diapers, wipes, and….. you get the point.  As for going out on a Friday…unless you can shell out for a sitter, your ass is staying home.  Sitters don’t make a couple bucks an hour like they did when we were young, either.  We’re talking $10 an hour in most places.  Good luck with that.

Puppy Love

Puppy Love

6.  Babies cost more.  I don’t care how many toys, treats, beds, clothes, or organic dog food bags you buy for your dog, it has nothing on a baby.  And toddlers?  Helloooo growth spurts, goodbyyye money.  They will eat you out of house and home.  And they aren’t satisfied with eating the same dry kibble every day, either.  Once they get off of breast milk or formula, they will eat everything.  I swear they can taste how expensive something is, too, and they will decide that the thing they want more than anything is the most expensive food in the house.  Don’t even get me started on the cost of daycare, preschool, or activities.  I’m going to need a second mortgage to pay for gymnastics.

7.  Babies take up more space.  Before we had kids, we lived in a 20’x20′ apartment with two dogs, two cat, and two snakes.  We had plenty of room.  It was great.  Then the girls were born, and we realized that this just wasn’t going to work anymore.  So we bought a house.  Holy crap.  Talk about expensive.

8.  Dogs love you unconditionally.  No matter what I do, my dog loves me.  If I have to go somewhere, he is waiting for me at the door, tail wagging and tongue lolling out the side of his mouth, just happy as can be.  If I don’t have time to rub his belly, he forgives me and lays at my feet until I can give him a quick pat.  I can call him any name under the sun, and he will just keep licking my face.  My girls, on the other hand, are a bit less forgiving.  Now, I know they love me, and that the always will, but they are almost four, so…  If I go somewhere without them:  tantrum.  If I don’t drop everything I’m doing to pay 100% attention to them:  tantrum.  If I give them the wrong color cup:  tantrum.  You get the picture.  I know its not that they don’t love me. I’m not an idiot.  But they sure have crazy ways of showing it at this age.  Dogs, on the other hand, are much simpler in their emotions.

9.  Dogs don’t care about Barney.  Or Strawberry Shortcake.  They don’t cry if I want to watch Master Chef instead of one more episode of Daniel Tiger.  Foster (my dog) just cares that he gets to snuggle up to me on the couch a little longer.

10.  Dogs are quieter, even when they are barking.  Until you have experienced the ear-shattering sound of a toddler who hasn’t gotten their own way, you have NO idea what noise is.

Let me say again that I love my kids and my dog, even though there are times I wish I could lock all three of them in the crate.  But they are different.  Very different.

Best frenemies

Best frenemies