"Shopping? No! I hate shopping!"
"Not as much as your mother does, bud."
It's true. I really hate shopping. Grocery shopping. Clothes shopping. Shoe shopping. Especially shoe shopping. I find it exhausting- not physically exhausting, but mentally exhausting. I walk into a store and I'm just overwhelmed by all of the STUFF, the decisions, the price calculations. I've hated shopping ever since I was little, but now that I've added seven kids to the mix, shopping is just no fun at all.
Bryan, on the other hand, LOVED shopping. He'd go to the mall during his lunch break and comb sales racks, the whole bit. It was his idea of stress relief, and I was more than happy to let him take on that task. (But not grocery shopping. He liked grocery shopping too, but he could spend the food budget for the entire week and come home without a single item that could be made into an actual meal.) Now, of course, if something's going to be bought, I'm the one who has to do it.
I have learned many things shopping- especially by shopping with kids. Things I never would have known otherwise. For example, it is possible for a child who cannot yet walk to wriggle out of the grocery cart strap, climb over the seat and land in the basket. Plastic containers will break if they're hurled across the aisle (but usually only if they contain liquid.) The clothes racks at Gap are not always fully secured. (And clothes rack repair, apparently, requires the attention of every associate in the store.) Six year olds think waving their hands in front of the door so that it dings OVER and OVER again is funny- really funny. Kids have no concept of money- "It's only $20!" Boys think the open aisles at Wal-Mart were designed for light saber battles. Dress shoes were invented by evil gremlins to torture young men.
And then there are the many things I find out by listening to my kids talk while we're shopping. Because no matter how much overload my brain is registering, talk they will. The whole. entire. time. The Samsung Galaxy S4 is faster than the iPhone. All the other girls have closets full of cool clothes. None of the other boys ever have to dress up for church. (Remember when suits gave way to khakis and then khakis to jeans? Now, apparently, jeans have given way to shorts and t-shirts. Only very uncool moms require "business casual" for church.) Anakin is the most powerful Jedi of all times. Jedi do not have to eat food that they don't like. Carsten, when he grows up, is going to "watch military movies" in his room so that his kids won't be scared but he can still enjoy them. Steffen, on the other hand, is more specific,
"When I grow into a man...when I'm four...I'm going to watch the 'Wevengers' and I'm really going to like it, because it's not really 'biolent.'"
The good thing about shopping for myself when the kids are along is that I never have to worry about them not being honest when I try something on.
Me: "What do you think of this outfit?"
Justin: "Your shoes aren't good. They're not high and not fancy."
Megan: "You are definitely going to need to buy a pair of heels."
Carsten: "And a new belt."
Nathan: "How much is that going to cost? Do you know how many games we could buy for that?"
Thanks, guys, next time, I'll just stick with Amazon.