May 3, 2007

Shopping With A Toddler - The Dressing Room

Today, I went to a clothes store, figuring I could tire out Olivia and find a few clothes for my vacation at the same time, multi-tasking at its finest. I would put her in a stroller, push her around and she could be visually stimulated while I looked for some summer tops.

As soon as I arrived, I realized it was a bad idea. As I looked at the clothes on the clearance rack I kept noticing clothes were falling off the rack that was a few feet over. One slowly went off, then another one with a little more speed and then another one.

I moved over so I could see what was messing with these clothes. As other customers have a propensity to see clothes on the floor and either walk over them or leave them there, I have the nagging sensation to pick them up and I didn't feel like dealing with some thoughtless shopper today.

I turned and looked down over by the other rack, and there was my one-year-old daughter pulling clothes off the hangers as she innocently sat in the stroller. "Um, no, don't do that," I said nicely. She turned away, slowly put her hands on another pair of hanging pants, looked back at me and slyly smiled. "No Olivia, don't do that."

Boom! She pulled the pants down and looked back, smiling. I knew there was no rationalizing with a semi-non-verbal toddler who only knows the words "do do" for doggy and "ditty" for kitty so I figured I was left to my own ingenuity to figure out how to solve the situation.

I moved the stroller over to a vantage point where she couldn't grab anything and went back to look for some summer tops. I looked back at her for some reason (call it mom's intuition that something must have been happening because she was too quiet) and there she was, standing straight up in the stroller. "No, sit down, you'll fall and get hurt." There I was again, trying to rationalize with her.

I finally found a few tops and went to the dressing room where the woman kindly told me that there weren't any dressing rooms big enough to fit a stroller inside so I could use the one at the end and leave the door open, while changing my clothes and while watching her in the stroller. I said to myself, "We're all women right?, I can watch a baby and change at the same time, right?," and since I've entered my 30's I really don't care anymore about a lot of the things I used to, so I blocked the open door with the stroller and was able to get my arm out of one sleeve until, the banging started.

Olivia was close to the door and thought it made a great noise to consistently and repetitively bang the wooden dressing room door against her stroller. I took her hand and said "No, don't do that Olivia." I tried to be have an even tone and look straight in her eyes. Where upon she slyly smiled at me again as she rested her hand on the door, and once I turned around, yes, the banging started once more. Okay, my multitasking session was not working. I was not wearing her out, but rather she was wearing me out.

I pushed the stroller out of the door, took her out and put her inside with me and then shut the door so we were both inside. "Ha ha," I said, "you're not going to get to bang on the door anymore." For which she fell to her knees and quickly crawled underneath the door. I, still in my bra, had to open the door, go outside (thank God I was still in the dressing area) and capture a fast moving toddler which was headed toward the outside of the store. I brought her back in, blocking underneath the door with my legs and then she decided to go back to banging again, only this time it was the dressing room mirror.

I thought I was losing it. I had been in the dressing room at that point for a half an hour and had only tried on two tops so I put her back in the stroller, strapped her down, and shut the door. Well actually, I kept the door cracked open an inch. I've learned you can never leave a toddler totally out of your sight.

Shopping with a toddler can never be confused with multitasking, it is more like multi-insanity.

Somehow I believe that later, I will see these as precious times instead of a stressful day. So many people say that children grow up quickly and to treasure each moment you have while they are young.

I know though, I will save this story for when she is older and she will be like any other teenager who says, "Mom, don't bring up that story again, your embarrassing me." And I will reply, "Until you have to run out of a dressing room chasing a baby in your bra, I think I have a few more times that I can remind you of the first time we went shopping together."


isabellemurray said...

Wow! That sounds like it was insane! And, yes, you will be entitled to retell the story a few times over, given that you had to run out after your daughter in your bra! lol! It was great reading your blog! Hugs! Zaza

Roxane said...

Love it! You know, the first line of the book Olivia, This is Olivia. She is good at lots of things. She's especially good at wearing people out. She even wears herself out."
Hmmm, eerily appropriate.