I recently took my baby to the mall to go shopping with me – not a grocery store or Wal-Mart or Target – but an actual mall. I’m not sure about other parents, but I know that this parent does not frequent shopping malls. I associate a mall with “fun shopping” and quite frankly, that’s something that I don’t get a chance to do very often. But thanks to my 32nd birthday, I had a bit of birthday cash burning a hole in my pocket. So, off to the mall we went.
When one takes a baby or small child on an extended public outing, one must be prepared for the unexpected. This is something that a planner like me has a difficult time dealing with. But thanks to my Rowdy Boy, my patience has increased and my ability to go with the flow has as well. So with the stroller, the Elmo backpack full of diaper supplies, plenty of goldfish, a sippy cup, my personal belongings and my new jumbo-sized supply of patience, we hit the mall with smiles on our faces. Pushing a stroller around in a mall has it’s advantages. I can put my purse and all the shopping bags I accumulate in the nice little storage basket in the bottom. That’s pretty cool. Plus, as long as your kid’s not screaming like a maniac, folks tend to look at the child with a sweet smile, and then that’s typically followed with a smile to you, the parent. Side Note: I suspect that the folks giving out those what-a-cute-baby smiles are parents themselves. I don’t even remember paying attention to any kids in public pre-parenthood, unless they were crying of course, in which case I would probably have felt rather annoyed and inconvenienced (I’m much more empathetic now.) Approximately 5 stores, 1 lunch from Wendy’s in the food court, a 1 hour nap in the stroller (him, not me) and 3 hours later, we walked out that same door at Macy’s still smiling, but with a heavier load (I found lots of great stuff!). Rowdy was an angel in the mall – an absolute angel. In fact, we even went to Target afterwards and he was great there too. The kid never cried once. The most drama that came from him was a little whiny whimper when he dropped my keys (a.k.a. his entertainment). My initial thought after this very enjoyable shopping trip was, ‘What did I do to deserve this wonderful day and this wonderful kid?’, but it didn’t take me long to convince myself that I have done plenty to deserve it. Enjoy it, Britney. 🙂
I can’t help but wonder about other parents’ experiences when out and about with their kids. You see, I have no reference. I hardly hung around babies and small children before Rowdy was born. I’m told that he is very well behaved (most of the time – ha!). If that’s true – if I really am just fortunate to have a tolerant child – I will cherish it and be grateful for it until the day I die. And if it’s just a sweet phase he’s going through to be followed by a mischievous and trouble-seeking phase later on, then hey, at least I hit the Saturday Shopping Lottery Jackpot and got a beautiful new handbag to remember the beautiful day we had…
…at the mall.