This past September we added a third child to our brood and welcomed Susanna Mae to our family. Some say that going from one to two children is the biggest shock and that the third is easy, but others say that going from two to three is the most difficult. I feel younger and more capable than I’ve ever felt in my life and Susie fits right in. That said, I can tell you that getting in the car and going somewhere for the first time with your newborn and her siblings is still terrifying.
I decided that our first trip should be an excursion to Target. We went early on a Saturday morning to buy birthday gifts. This involved the dreaded toy aisle. In the car I was prepping for the inevitable nagging and begging that would ensue, when I happened upon a brilliant plan.
“We’re buying presents for our friends today, not toys for you. I’ll tell you what, though. If you’re good I’ll let you each pick out your very own box of tissues for your bedroom. What do you think about that?!”
I waited a tense moment before they both erupted into excited chatter about what color box they would choose and were they really allowed to keep their very OWN tissues on their night stands.
Not only did the baby sleep through the whole trip, but the other two were on their best behavior, sitting in the cart together peacefully, allowing me to peruse clothing and other departments that I normally skip in the name of practicality and efficiency. Yes, I was on top of my game in and total control of the situation. Hell, I even felt that (with a little help from mascara) I looked the part of a well-rested, well-adjusted mother of three well-behaved children. This was going way better than I had expected.
“Mommy?” Sophia asked.
“What does i-n-t-i-m-a-t-e-a-p-p-a-r-e-l spell?”
“What does that mean?”
“Underwear. Intimate apparel means ‘underwear'”.
I turned away from the cart for a moment to look at a t-shirt and I heard my three year old, Timmy, telling someone, “I LOVE intimate apparel.”
I looked over to see two young men in hooded sweatshirts walking by.
“For real?” one of them asked politely as he shuffled past.
“Aw shit! Check it out, bro!” the other hooted, pointing to the sign in the underwear department, “Little man loves bras and shit!”
“I LOVE intimate apparel!” Timmy said, delighted with their reaction.
“Aw snap! This kid makes me weak! He sayin’ he likes underwear!”
They ambled off, chortling and looking back over their shoulders at my son. Timmy, ever the comedian, was thrilled by the attention and proceeded to attract more of it as he began loudly telling anyone who would listen that he LOVES intimate apparel. I pushed the cart down the aisle as employees and shoppers laughed at Timmy, who was now hollering, “I LOVE INTIMATE APPAREL!”
As funny as he was I did shut the comedy routine down before he became downright obnoxious. The kids were angels and spent a fair amount of time choosing their tissue boxes. I was satisfied and smug. I had successfully reached the end (or nearly) of our shopping trip and bribed Sophia and Timmy for a grand total of less than three dollars. I could DO this. I was able to take all three kids out in public without any major meltdowns or traumatic events. Almost.
I had benevolently added a six-dollar trip through the car wash as an extra incentive. Note to anyone who makes a trip through the car wash with kids: be sure to engage the childproof locks on the rear windows before entering.