Yesterday I had the brilliant idea to take my four little angels to Target in search of birthday paraphernalia, and I managed to convince my friend to come along with her two kids. There's nothing Target employees love to see coming more than a convoy of six kids ages 1-7 being dragged along by their optimistic, determined (deranged) mothers. It's like the kaleidoscope of red and khaki clerks know how the story will play out even before it begins, and they're all just waiting with amused anticipation for the train to derail. Which of course it does.
We made it into the store relatively unscathed with the kids crammed into two carts. My friend's daughter unwittingly talked Camden off a ledge by complying with her mom's request to ride in the buggy. Camden, initially believing he would be subject to public humiliation, was content to ride once he realized he wasn't the only child over the age of five doing so. (Can you imagine the nerve I had to ask a six-year-old to ride in the cart? Tragic.) We debated adding a third cart to our fleet but opted instead to have Scout ride in the big section of the buggy with my friend's son. I trekked over to the concession area and ordered popcorn only to discover I had no wallet to pay for my goods. When I realized my friend didn't have my wallet either, I had to retrace my steps back to--yep, you guessed it--the buggy we almost took, which held my purse, wallet, and car keys. Phew, that was a close one!
Before we even made it past the greeting cards section, Lawson fell off his seat in the kid cart (the really giant one with the seats attached to the end that steers like a Winnebago) and bumped his ribcage. Cue screams and tears. He finally agreed to get back in the cart, but three feet up the aisle he dropped his bag of popcorn and spread all the buttery fluff on the floor. My friend and I stealthily swept it under a shelf with our feet and moved on, taking a "divide and conquer" approach. When I realized I forgot something and circled back, Hudson dropped his popcorn bag in the exact same spot.
My dignity and confidence were slowly fading. I had to search for what I needed and passed two scowly young Target personnel members while I was weaving through the aisles. I suspected the source of their discontent and received confirmation of my suspicions once we rounded the corner and found both women sweeping up our popcorn explosion. Not one to hang my head in embarrassment, avoid eye contact, and scurry by (actually I might have been this kind of person had it not been blazingly obvious we were the culprits), I apologized for the mess, hoping the fact I had four kids in one cart would warrant their sympathy. They were at least cordial to me, and I'm guessing one day when they're frazzled moms in a store, they'll think of me.
We were almost in the clear for any other incidents thanks to my friend's innovative game of I Spy in the checkout lane, but I pushed my luck too far. We stopped to put jackets on everyone, and I gathered all the empty popcorn bags and juice boxes to walk them a few feet away to the trash can. While I was gone, Hudson declared "I spy your wee-wee!" and the volume level shot up several decibels with just that one sentence. Our babies were spouting "I spy blank inappropriate body part" left and right while I tried in vain to explain to Hudson why his comment was rude and my friend tried to take the volume down a few notches. In those moments I almost felt as if I was in the perfect scene for a blockbuster comedy. The clerk was shaking his head, the security guard was gawking in awe, and my friend and I were dissolving into giggles over the insanity of it all. Yep, people. Yesterday we were the best form of birth control out there.