If there is one thing that must be done when the Big Kid is busy at a friend's house, it's shop.
Listen, I love shopping with the kid. She is a fantastic little person to spend time with always, but definitely when it comes to walking through the mall. It warms my bargain hunter heart to watch her learn how to navigate the racks to find the best deals. In fact, she recently reached the stage where she has learned to check the price before deciding if she likes something. "This dress is cute, but it's not $50 cute," she'll say before moving to another rack.
I get really tired of saying the word "no." Alexis is in a phase where she throws all of the darts at the board and hopes one will stick. I know she doesn't want that shirt and is only asking so that when she asks for the next thing, I might be more likely to go with it. It's ... exhausting.
With Alexis happily occupied, I grabbed Mila and ran to the Outlets. Mila doesn't ask for much in life. Thus, she's currently a really outstanding shopping partner.
On this particular outing, I had a mission. I am at that awkward post-baby phase where stuff doesn't fit but I don't want to spend money on clothes that won't fit for long. Sadly, I can't go out in public naked. I need to find a few super bargains to get by. I figured I might get lucky at the Gap Outlet since clearance was an additional 40% off this past weekend.
I dashed into the store and began hunting. A pair of capris for $8? Workable. A dress for $12? Sure. How about a pair of $12 shorts and maybe some $18 jeans? OK!
But I needed to try the things on. I truly have no idea what size anything is right now. As luck would have it, Mila was due to eat at about that time, so I set up the fitting room cafe and then prepared to try on some clothes.
But Mila was mad.
Her belly was full. Her diaper was clean. The only other reason she fusses is when she's mad that she's awake. There's not much I can do about that. She has to stop being mad, close her eyes, and everybody is happy. The key there is that SHE has to stop being mad. SHE. She holds the power. Nothing anyone does can make her snap out of her angry spell, so I've learned to just roll with it on the rare days that it happens. She's safe. Nothing is bleeding. After 5-10 minutes, she'll go to take a deep breath and forget why she was screaming. While she tries to remember, she'll fall asleep. The problems solve themselves.
With all of this in mind, I went ahead and started trying clothes on with a screaming Mila safely tucked in her stroller. I paused every minute or so to offer her a pacifier and all of that, but each attempt at assisting with the problem solving was met with more anger.
WHY AM I AWAKE, PEOPLE? THIS IS NOT RIGHT.
I could have given up and just left, but ... no. I drove an hour to get to that store and I was determined to at least try to find something wearable.
Mila was fine. Just screamy.
A few minutes later, I had a couple of successes and a couple of failures. I put the failures back on a rack. All the while, Mila sat in my arms expressing her anger at the world for making her have her eyes open. In my arms, in the stroller, it didn't matter. SHE WAS AWAKE WHYYYYYYY OH WHYYYYYYYY.
Whatever. Babies cry.
Apparently not everyone has been a part of this rodeo before and realizes that sometimes babies need to figure things out for themselves. I noticed the employee staring at the spectacle that was Awake Mila and Her Crazy Caravan as soon as we walked out of the fitting room. She hadn't stopped staring. In fact, she was following us around the store to stare.
I said "hi" and smiled as I walked toward the register.
Mila continued to grump.
There was no line, so I quickly paid and walked towards the door.
Mila continued to grump.
The Staring Staffer walked over. "You should really do something about that," she said.
"Have a nice day," I said as I walked out the door.
I took five steps, Mila inhaled, and then fell asleep before she could exhale.