This morning it was necessary to take Larry, Moe and Curly to REI to purchase winter coats. This year I decided that I don’t want to be one of *those* mothers who fail to purchase adequate winter coats for their children. (I was just such a mother last year and assumed fleece was sufficient) REI is a world of excitement for the stroller bound – the racks are close together thereby making it all too tempting to pull on every article of clothing that comes within reach. And for Curly, they are all good enough to eat.
As I parked the double wide in between a rack of clothing in the children’s department, Larry took off running. He was relatively easy to locate (even while dashing under racks) on account of his chortling. As soon as I wrestled Larry into a puffer jacket a kindly REI Sales Associate offered to distract Larry with her infrared gun while Moe and Curly were briefly released from captivity to try on their respective coats. While I had conflicting feeling about Larry being flashed in the eyes with laser beams it provided me a moment to breathe – and coincidently the people who had fled the children’s department upon our arrival seemed to return now that Larry was adequately entertained. Had there have been two size 2T jackets in the store we would have quickly proceeded to the check-out line and made a fast escape – but alas we were directed to customer service where a line was already forming. While waiting in line Larry spotted a bald older gentleman with a belly – he automatically assumed it was my Mother’s new husband Ed – who Larry affectionately refers to as “Grandma”. (My Mother prefers to be called Grammy… like the award) The excitement of sighting “Grandma” proved too much for Larry as he quickly began to tug on the gentleman’s coat hem and yell, “Grandma, Grandma, and Grandma it’s me - your Larry!” As luck would have it, Larry happened upon the only senior citizen in Oregon who seemingly detests children. While I gently reminded Larry that his “Grandma” lives in Arizona he remained unconvinced and pleaded for “Grandma’s” attention. Upon completing his transaction, the elderly gentleman took his leave as Larry broke free from my restraint and clamored across the store hollering “Don’t leave Grandma; it’s me; your Larry! STOP PLEASE!” I abandoned the stroller containing my now crying twins and retrieved Larry. As I managed to collect my wits long enough to order a second jacket in size 2T I looked around and noticed that everyone was staring at me. With.That.Look.
As I retold this experience to my BFF NBF she reminded me that once upon a time not so long ago I used to dispense “that look” without pity on every mother whose children interfered with my shopping experience. NBF was relieved to learn that whenever I have the opportunity to shop alone I routinely dispense “that look” just for old time’s sake.