My husband and I have noticed that it’s getting harder – not easier – to go places with our three-year and 11-month-old.
We don’t go too many places to begin with, but sometimes we have to get out of the house. Occasionally we take a trip over to the Mall of Georgia for this reason.
It’s funny because before I had children, I didn’t care for malls that much. If I needed to shop for something at a mall, I’d usually go in and then get out as soon as possible. Once I had children, the mall became a completely different place.
Where else can you go where you can stretch your legs, buy lunch, and find some fun things for the children to do? You need to go where your children’s volume isn’t going to disturb other people too much. You need to go where strollers are accessible and bathrooms with changing tables aren’t far away. This place also needs to have free admission and air conditioning.
Last week we decided to take one of our trips to the Mall of Georgia, but the trip didn’t go very smoothly. (Though “smooth” is not how I would describe any outing with children.) First, on our drive there, our three-year-old began to complain of a “bump” in his throat and started to look pitiful. Children can’t communicate as well as adults, so when they do something like this, it can mean anything. He could be getting a sore throat, or he might be about to throw up. If you are lucky, he is just thirsty.
I gave him a drink, and he said it made him feel better, but his demeanor didn’t console us. We were much closer to the mall than to home at this point, so we decided to keep going and hope it was something that would pass.
We always park outside Nordstrom’s department store. We can’t afford a single item in that store, but we deeply appreciate the bathrooms, which are clean and have ample space and privacy for a nursing mama like myself. The mistake I made on this trip was believing my three-year-old when he said he didn’t need to use the facilities.
We usually browse at the Apple store, which is my husband’s toy store. I sat with my three-year-old at the children’s computers and tried to navigate my way through some unfamiliar program for toddlers. My son got frustrated with me that the game wasn’t moving along, and I got frustrated because I was on a computer at the mall! Enough of that.
My husband and I rarely shop for ourselves unless there’s something specific we need, but last week I think my husband felt sorry that I never get to shop. He encouraged me to browse through a shoe store, but trying on new shoes just isn’t fun when your husband is outside the store trying to console a cranky and wiggly baby.
At 11 months, our baby is crawling, and he wants to be free from any restraint. He wants to grab everything in sight, and all this energy makes him very hungry. Fortunately, he was just hungry at this point, so I took him back to the ladies’ lounge at Nordstrom while my husband took our three-year-old on the little train in the mall. Believe it or not, resting in the bathroom at Nordstrom’s is not such a bad thing for a busy mama like me.
After reconnecting with my family, it was already time for lunch. My husband and I wanted to try this new, little bakery/ café on the second floor, which was quiet and had a savory menu, but we reluctantly decided to go to our usual spot in the food court. There, the three-year-old could get French fries and watch the carousel. The busy area also kept our baby stimulated, and that helped him to sit still in the stroller.
The “bump” in my three-year-old’s throat came and went during the day. Fortunately, it never developed into anything. Unfortunately, I was too busy to realize that he was in a frantic fidget until we sat down to eat. We didn’t make it to the restroom before having a bit of an accident (the first accident since being potty trained), and my husband soon found himself in Old Navy, shopping for a pair of shorts for my son.
After a change of clothes and a ride on the merry-go-round, we had a successful trip to the Disney Store. (By successful, I mean it was relatively short, and we escaped without buying anything, though not without a few tears.) May it also be noted that during this trip to the mall, I took five trips to the bathroom, but I “looked” in only four stores. Like my husband said, a trip to the mall is for the children, not us. It’s work no matter where we are, but at least we got out of the house and out of our daily routine.
On the way home, both boys slept in the car, so they were wide-awake at home. I struggled to stay awake for the rest of the day.
Shelli Bond Pabis is a Winder resident and columnist for the Barrow Journal. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If your precious children are such "trouble" for you and your lame "hubby," why did you whelp? I am single and childless; IOW, in your belief, I am a worthless member of society since I don't have kids. In fact, I will go you one further, which will thoroughly cement my dastardly status in yo mama-eyes: I don't like kids. They infest the mall like the pests they are, and a stroller-wielding mommy always believes she has the right of way. But, annoyance transforms into full-blown hatred when you bring your untrained brats into a restaurant or movie theatre.
07/24/10 at 02:37 PM
Oh dearest cousin to my husband I know exactly how you feel. Good news for you though from a mom of boys 3 and 5. It gets better....mostly. Soon they will play with each other or fight. Going out is still an adventure but reasoning with the children or rather making bargains gets easier.
We were at the mall this week too. In fact, we took the exact same route that you did :) I do think it gets easier as they get older. If for nothing else, there are less trips to the bathroom!
George- I applaud those who recognize they do not want to be parents. Each person should come to that decision freely and without shame. But your comment was harsh. I feel it's unkind to assign beliefs to people without direct experience with them.