Toy Shopping and Date Night.

January 4, 2013

The girls had a good morning playing together. It only took until near the end of the winter break for them to realize they can actually have fun together!  Even though I will probably curse the amount of beanie boos or babies or whatever they are called in the near future they have accumulated, today they are having a party for them and are occupied.  Jacob is following me around, but he likes to help Mommy do her chores so at least I can get the kitchen cleaned up and make the beds. It’s amazing how much a toddler likes to help clean! By our third I figured we should start them early in helping around the house.

I casually mentioned to Mr. L that I desperately wanted a shower, (Notice I now say wanted instead of needed, this is a change any three or more Mom will tell you!) but alas no response. In a moment of brilliance, I quickly downloaded Bubble Guppies, the current favorite show of all three kiddies, onto my iPhone. Thank goodness for technology some days! Jacob will sit for twenty minutes, so I can jump into the shower and wash my hair that still smells like chlorine from the waterpark.

Today is an errand morning. I need to buy a birthday present for a party tomorrow so I have planned a trip to the toy store with all three kids with a promised lunch out afterwards if they behave. Audrey has enough points for a new toy and Elizabeth has saved money to buy yet another Beanie Boo so they are happy. We started a chalkboard points system a few months ago for certain behaviours that required a bit of work. If they earn ten points, they get a reward. Most of the time it works well.

Listening to Sharon, Lois and Bram driving across town, I yell above the music outlining the expected behavior to the kids stating strongly we are there to buy a present for someone else first, then we will get their promised toys. In that moment, Elizabeth yells, “Mom, my lip is bleeding!”

After taking a moment to worry about my newly cleaned leather seats, I calmly ask her if she bit it, then she pauses, “Oh it’s my nose, I mixed it up.” She is six and a half and cannot tell her lip from her nose! Stifling a sigh, I ask her if she needs me to stop, is it gushing or is it just spotting blood. Digging through my purse I find a pack of kleenex and throw it back to her at a stoplight. The art of being able to aim and throw random objects into the back seat when driving a vehicle, only a Mom with a van would get it. Thankfully it seems to be just spotting, so we continue driving.

Audrey then starts yelling, “Ewww…I don’t want to see it…put it away!”

Jacob then starts yelling, “Mama! More music! Up!” Just a typical day driving the swag wagon around town.

Upon arrival at the toystore all our discussions en route seem to be forgotten as I have three little bodies hurling themselves in three different directions. Beanie Babies! Trucks! Umbrellas! (Jacob has an obsession with umbrellas.) Feeling as if I’m herding sheep, I get them all generally in the same area to achieve our goal, a birthday present for a friend. The girls start whispering about what Beanie Boos they have, which they want and finally after what seems like an eternity they choose one for their friend. Jacob has found the garbage can, the train table and the umbrellas, again.


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Taking a quick survey of the toy store, I quickly grab a couple more toys to add with the stuffed animal. Then foolishly decide to search for a baby gift I needed to buy as well. Jacob was done looking at the toys at this point. Ten minutes into the shopping trip and he was ready to take off out the door. Keeping an eye on him to ensure he didn’t actually slip out with someone who couldn’t help but smile at my blonde-mopped toddler with the mischievous grin,  I grabbed the gifts and pushed them to the book section where I finally took a breath while they all looked at their favorite books. Then I saw it. Jacob’s face as he white-knuckled the small wood table standing uncharacteristically still and thought, “Great, the one time I didn’t bring the diaper bag inside.”

“Jacob,” I said as quietly as I could, “Did you go poo-poo?”

Shaking his head firmly he shouts, “NO!” and proceeds to run down the aisle leaving a definite odor behind him.

The girls by this time are climbing on the book shelves trying to reach the latest fairy book they desperately need to look at. Mentally counting to five, I pick up books dropped by my crew as the staff looks on. The older ones smiling as if remembering their own lives and the younger ones trying not to stare as I try to keep two girls at the cash, pay for gifts (as well as the few random items my kids have thrown into the bin), ask for gift receipts, wrapping and trying to keep an eye on Jacob who has disappeared into the toy aisles. Paying for everything I realize I can’t hear or see Jacob, so tell the two girls to stay at the cashier.  Smiling as if I’m not panicked I notice a well-meaning father pointing towards the front of the store where Jacob has taken a huge white cougar from the display and is hugging it yelling, “My teddy!!!”

Firmly taking him by the hand, we put “teddy” back in the window display, I try to tell him that he can’t run away from Mommy and we go back to the cashier where the two girls are squirming trying to stand still. Picking up the bags, I ask how long will it take to wrap the gifts. The cashier kindly tells me a few minutes and then points towards the bathrooms at the back of the store. Thanking her, we make the trek back out the van, grab the diaper bag, unload the shopping bags and all four of us head into the large family washroom where I can finally get Mr. Stinkypants’ diaper changed. The thought of a promised lunch out after we are all settled back into the van makes me so very tired, so I tell the kids it will be a drive-through lunch to eat at home. Piece of advice for all parents, always take in the diaper bag!

The best part of my days as a SAHM are Jacob’s nap times and I have a Sleeping Toddler. While cuddling my little guy we read stories, listen to music and promptly fall asleep together in the giant glider chair I invested in when he was a couple of months old. Why it took to child number three to invest in a chair I can put my feet up and sleep fairly comfortably holding a small child is beyond me? Part of me knows I should be breaking him of this habit. Any babysitter, grandparent and his own father can place him asleep in his crib and he goes to sleep. But when Mommy is in the room, he screams bloody murder if I dare tip toe near the door before he is completely asleep. The soft-hearted part of me that still remembers his cries after his tenth blood test when he was born just cannot be firm with him and actually, I cherish these daily moments. I get a brief rest feeling his little heart beating and his steady breath against me and I know my time is limited. After all, he won’t sleep like this for naps forever. (Or at least I hope so!) Soon enough he will drop the naps and be on the go all day with no break for Mommy. I will take cuddles (and rest) where and when I am able.


 Tonight is very exciting! Mr. L arrives home and I’m off! It is a welcome respite in our family filled week to have a bit of time on my own which I will relish. After my appointments and errands, Mr. L and I have a fun date-night planned. A Groupon purchased a year ago is finally going to be redeemed. A 5-course meal prepared for us in our home. Yes, it took me a year to redeem it.

Groupon is very addictive and I had to put myself on a shopping time-out until I had redeemed all my unused Groupons. Whoever came up with this idea is brilliant!  At the tap of a button I can purchase anything my heart desires for me, my family and my friends at discounted prices! Last year as I lay in bed for the third time in six months with a mild flu but raging fever, I spent nearly an hour tapping, buying and looking at experiences I could have. After emerging from my sweaty sheets to actually shower and looking at the damage I made on my credit card,  I vowed not to buy any more Groupons, WagJags etc. until I used ALL the ones I had already bought. Although loving a discount, these things did not align well with our financial plans of saving money.

In any case, tonight we get to redeem one and Pino,  The Chef on 2 Wheels, arrives promptly at 8 pm. It’s the first non-kid oriented meal we have had in the last couple of weeks. All the kids are asleep thanks to our combined efforts and the rare use of bribery for the girls ensures they all stay in bed. Mr. L is in fine form, relaxed and chatty. Unlike our typical routine on a Friday night where we are both snoozing and too tired to even talk properly it is quite a welcome change. The Chef is great and the food tasty. He shows us some tips when cooking Italian food, how to properly set a table and I fail miserably at napkin folding.

Laughing I shrug and state, “He didn’t marry me for my domestic skills.”

Mr. L and I catch up on our days while nibbling on beef carpaccio then penne a la vodka sipping our Italian red wine. It was a very nice way to end the holiday season and well-deserved after a chaotic month full of Hanukkah celebrations, school festivities, Christmas, holiday parties and of course Jacob’s second birthday which is near the end of December. Not a bad way to start the new year.



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