It's like I actually have amnesia.
Every single weekend, when my mom comes home from her job in Oakland and we get a day together, we decide shopping sounds fun.
We'll just take 'em!
They'll be fine!
We'll bring snacks.
And every weekend this conversation means that we have completely wiped the previous weekend from memory.
We drive to the store happy.
The Mary Poppins soundtrack playing cheerfully in the background.
We find a great parking spot and give the kids a talk about how we behave in stores and promise that if they behave maybe, just maybe, we'll stop at the park afterwards.
We tell the girls to remember what we've said.
But WE forget.
We forget that Tessa will try on everything she sees that is remotely inappropriate and then parade it around while people stare and whisper. Giant underwear, Reading glasses, Orthopedic shoes. She isn't biased.
A couple of weeks ago it was a neon yellow sports bra over her clothes with the hanger still attached.
The hanger which then got tangled in her hair and practically took the Jaws of Life to remove.
I bet the guys in the security office rewound that tape over and over again.
Today it was a pair of size 9 rainbow leopard pattern G-strings at Target that she held up to her chest and asked if she could get "for swimming."
We forget that if Chloe is made to walk for more than 15 minutes she'll be crying that her legs hurt REAL BAD and begging for ibuprofen and a heat pack and to be carried and screaming out for someone to alert Child Protective Services because THIS IS ABUSE!
For Christmas that kid is getting a Hover-round.
We forget to bring wipes EVERY time and EVERY time Paige poops.
You can guarantee it's the kind that comes up the back of her clothes and we're left wetting down paper towels in some dirty ghetto bathroom while people look at us with pity because they are almost positive we must be homeless.
This bathroom will also almost surely be without a changing table, so this diaper change will take place on the sink or in the stroller or on one of our laps while one of us does a floating chair stance against the bathroom wall.
We won't have a change of clothes either.
You can almost bet on it.
All we'll have is a towel in the car and I am embarrassed to say how many times we've used it in the place of a blanket.
We once went to the country club for lunch that way.
We forget which diaper bag pocket we put the pacifier in, then the baby is crying because she's cold and half naked and were dumping out everything we own on the store floor to find it.
THERE'S my lip gloss!
We forget that it is impossible to try on clothes when you're busy dragging kids from under someone else's dressing room stall and lecturing them on privacy, and stopping them from removing tags, and dragging them out by their ankles from underneath clothing racks as we remove straight pins from their mouths.
Is it HOT in here?!
Why am I SWEATING so much?!
Put that back.
You can't take that out.
You have to buy it first.
Don't chew it! No! Take that out of your mouth! You don't know where that's been!"
Now an alarm is going off.
Is that US?
Did WE cause that?
And while we're spinning in circles and dumping stuff again and trying to figure out why the alarm is sounding, the girls have gotten into a slap fight over who gets to hold the empty hanger they found laying on the floor of the dressing room.
A drink spills.
We have to tell Customer Service.
The guy's bringing a mop.
From the look in his eyes, he doesn't get paid enough to deal with the likes of us.
Now I make them sit.
You here, and you HERE.
I realized today that I literally ALWAYS feel dizzy in a dressing room.
I thought it was claustrophobia,
but now I think it may be a form of
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
I try things on and then I later realize - I don't ever think I looked in the mirror.....
Was it cute?
Probably I just looked like a stray dog in a dress.
Wild, blood-shot eyes.
Hair all astray.
Odd smudges on my cheek.
Mysterious wet spot on my leg.
Probably I should just get yet ANOTHER pair of stretchy pants and yet ANOTHER solid tank.
Those are tried and true.
I know it might be shocking, but I actually DO have style.
But, alas, it takes two hands to put on a structured jacket and then how would I free Chloe's arm which is now stuck in the sunglass display?
Oh great. Now the baby's crying.
Maybe I'll mix her a bottle.
Can you hand me the formula?
I'll just tap a little of it in here and then FREAKING DUMP HALF OF IT ALL OVER THE STACK OF CLOTHES I HAVE PILED ON TOP OF THE STROLLER TO TRY ON.
So now, before I've even BOUGHT them they look like they're already mine.
Covered in crap.
Maybe I should really just break them in and gnaw a few holes in the front for good measure.
I'm pretty sure that with the look in my eyes and the fluffy white powder that is now all over the clothes, the department store workers are sure I've been doing lines of cocaine in the dressing room.
By now I'm probably feeding the baby a bottle in the dressing room in just my bra as I sit on the bench staring into the mirror at my own pleading expression.
UNDER this bench, Chloe and Tessa are playing house.
A house that, by the sound of it, is about to be visited by the police because of a domestic disturbance.
Now they're hungry and everyone is crying - INCLUDING me and my mom.
"What are we having for dinner?"
"When are we leaving?"
"I have to pee."
"She wiped a booger on me!"
"Is Paige DOOOONNNNEEEEEE?!"
You can wait a minute to pee.
I just have a few more things to try on.
But it's really hard to try on clothes with two pair of critic eyes watching.
Eyes that see outfits and make comments like
"That looks like Alladin!"
"I like that clown shirt."
Of course, I don't know what I'M worried about.
These are the same kids that wear THESE outfits:
Who are THEY to judge?
My mom and I spend an entire day like this.
Start off with good intentions, smiling, sipping coffee, plotting our route -
End up musing out loud about laying face down on the living room rug and just moaning for hours while someone rubs our necks and feet.
And we usually never end up buying even ONE thing.
Maybe next week we should shop at GNC.
Maybe that would help us remember.
I guess we're just optimists.
We think, "Maybe this week will be different."
Maybe this week Tessa won't eat the lotion.
Maybe this week Chloe won't cry so hard in the shoe store that her jaw almost dislocates.
Maybe we'll remember the stupid wipes.
If you're looking for me next weekend, I can almost guarantee I'll be shopping with my mom and the kids.
I'll be the one in the handicapped dressing room with three kids feeding a baby a bottle in just a bra.
If the door is locked, just listen for the sounds of hyperventilation.
That'll be me.
YOU, hopefully, will be the one with the Vallium.
And I won't care what you're wearing.