Christmas as a mother is entirely different than Christmas on the other side, the side where I had the weekends off and got to sleep in past 6:30 at least once in a while. I have never really enjoyed shopping, and now that I have a child shopping is like having toothpicks shoved under my toenails. Just operating the car seat is like a 50 minute Jane Fonda workout, in and out and PLEASE SIT STILL WHILE I BUCKLE THIS BUCKLE THAT WAS NOT DESIGNED TO BUCKLE. Did I mention that it’s 30 degrees outside? And what makes Jesus so special that EVERYONE YOU KNOW has to get presents on HIS birthday?
In order to shop for gifts I have had to go on about 40 different outings because the wee one can only last so long without hitting nuclear fallout. About a week ago after one of her naps we headed to a local mall to finish shopping for Jon. I was going to be hitting several different stores so I stuck Leta in a stroller and strapped her in. It had taken 15 minutes to maneuver her out of the car seat because every time I pulled her arm out of the strap SHE STUCK IT BACK IN.
Why does she have to make it so difficult? I say to her, “Give me your arm.” How hard is that? It’s a short command, and every word in that sentence has only one syllable. THE DOG UNDERSTANDS THAT COMMAND. And the dog… I found him last night licking the butt of a plastic reindeer that poops out jelly beans (thank you, Purenancy). Leta had thrown it across the room and I heard this slurp slurp slurping, and there he was, snout pressed firmly up that reindeer’s ass.
After buying several presents for the father of my child I needed to hit one more store. I had four bags of goodies, heavy, heavy goodies, and the only way to carry them was to hang them on the back of the stroller. Leta may be taller than Kate Moss, but she doesn’t weigh more than a veggie burrito, and the bags FAR outweighed the little peanut. I watched in horror as the stroller fell backwards, Leta looking like, “Dude, this is cool,” and caught it right before it hit the pavement and before baby legs and arms could explode in a fantastic display of NEGLECT!
On the way to the last store I had to push the stroller like a wheelbarrow holding two tons of bricks, leaning forward to make sure the baby didn’t catapult into the windows of The Pretzel Palace. I found what I needed and headed to the cash register where I set the bags on the ground and came around to the front of the stroller for the first time in the trip. It was at that moment that Leta realized she was not in my arms and she began SCRAAA-HEEEMING, arms outstretched with a look that said, “You’ve been here the WHOLE time? Why have I not seen you until just now? The physics, they just don’t compute!”
Everyone in the store stopped dead in their tracks, and by everyone I mean all 4,000 people in line and browsing items along the shelves. The cashier started laughing and said, “I think she’s a little upset.” And I was all, “HUH, YOU THINK SO?” I quickly paid for the items and turned to Leta and said the first thing that came to me, very loudly so everyone could hear, “YOUR FATHER had better love these presents, SO HELP ME GOD.”
Ah, Christmas. Joy, joy, joy to the world! Good will toward men whose wives go shopping with children in tow.