Today we had to go to Target.
I love Target. I do. It has Starbucks, it has bananas, it has the BB cream I like, it has cheap and durable kid clothes and it even has toilet paper. It is the One Stop Shop for moms, without the grime, dirt and mullets of other box stores.
That is why anyone shopping at Target between 7am and 3pm on a weekday should not be surprised to encounter That Mom.
Little known fact: There is some sort of Behavior Roulette you unwillingly play at Target upon walking through the red doors. Every randomly generated number of mothers with small children will pass through unscathed. If you are the unlucky mom, my sincerest apologies, your kid gets triggered with some sort of pheromone that will make them bat$hit crazy somewhere about two thirds of the way through your shopping list. Which is only ever about a quarter of your overall Target experience.
And that unlucky mom is the Mom You Love To Hate. Today, I was that mom.
We grabbed the coffee, and my eldest even got me a little cup holder and set it up on the cart for me. Aw! How thoughtful! You can think of others!
Then there was the Dollar Spot. I try to run by this section usually, but with the impending Disney trip a meager six months away, I've been trying to buy up some dollar spot chothckis for fairy gifts, as if that will somehow stop them from wanting the exact same thing in the park with a 3000% mark-up. And today it was actually worth it. Princess and Frozen themed hair doodads, Ariel bath fizzies that can stain the resort tub and make my kids look like Violet Beauregarde just in time for the most photographed moments of their lives save birth and possibly their wedding days, and really cute notebooks that the kids can "journal" in or tear to bits. Bonus, the pack had a spare, so now I can keep my crazed notes in yet another place. (Pro tip: Post-its are great in the classroom, but suck at Disney vacation planning. I'm talking to you, Type B people.)
Each girl chose one (princess, of course) sticker book with stickers with the promise to act like humans (not even civilized. I set the bar at human) whilst shopping.
You know those sticker books didn't make it home. Sorry to the shopping attendant that finds them in a basket stand near the taco shells.
So here I am, that mom.
I remembered that Target had a Mickey shirt last time I was there. I trudge all the way through the clothes to find the rack. Looks like every other person my size got there first. Sorry kids, keep walking.
Next, I want to see what size my geisha-footed preschooler's feet sprang to overnight. Of course, if one gets to take her shoes off in Target, the other must. Of course this is still early and I reason that letting a calm raptor lose in Candyland can't be a bad thing, so I take her out of the cart.
If they hadn't JUST had a breakfast of plate-sized pancakes, maybe. But no. Not today. They weren't loud about it, but they were tweaked. Which is why I couldn't sneak by the toy section. I took up a post in the main aisle and let them run up and down showing each other every. single. thing. It is still the stuff from last time we were here, but they are happy and accepting my standard "Ask Santa" response. (Because they know a surefire way to get hauled out of the toy aisle and not return for months is to whine for a toy. I do not play that game.)
Thirty minutes after walking in the door, my coffee is gone and nothing is checked off our list. Time to get down to business.
The next section was fun, because it is seasonal. And June means Back To School! The whole section smells like Crayola crayons, so I'm happy. The girls got to grab some crayons and put them in the cart, so they are happy. We cruise through the food section and I start to think we might actually make it out okay.
Somewhere between grocery and home goods is the two-thirds mark of our trip. Cue the crazy. I laugh at the naivety of my thoughts not seconds ago, which just makes me look crazy. I asked an attendant for help, since the lids on display never match the storage container. In the eternity he is tracking them down for me, I lay down the cart law on my toddler. If you try to surf in the cart seat, you will get buckled in.
A mother attempting to be helpful comes over and talks to The Angry One, who responds with much gnashing of teeth. She gives me a wry smile and assures me her teenager, waiting in the car, still acts the same way. Although I smile and nod at her kind sentiment, I can't help but think how nice it would be to lock the kids in the car and grab my stuff and drink my coffee and maybe pee alone while I'm living the dream.
Two sales attendants, both somewhere in the 13-17 year age range, come over to assure me that the lids are in stock, they are just on the highest shelf in the furthest corner of the darkest back room. In Peru. They say this while trying to make eye contact, but staring wide-eyed at the red ball of fury I seem to travel with by choice. Go ahead and gawk, kids. Just doing my part to ensure the young and hormonal make wise choices when it comes to hanky panky.
I remember that I came in with two kids. Someone capitalized on the situation and snuck over to lamps while I was monitoring her sister giving away free birth control. There she is, touching every lamp on the end cap to see if any one of them will turn on. I'm so relieved and upset to find her not ten feet away and not where I left her that I don't have the wherewithal to ask her if any one of them is turned on. Or point out that if she can turn those lamps on and off, why can't she turn off the one in her bedroom, ever?
We get the lids. I forget the flour, which I will regret in three hours, when I'm finally home and trying to bake something. Julia the Child has stopped the fury screaming and attempts to wriggle free or claw out of her buckle and has taken to screaming "HELP." at anyone nearby. This draws some cold, judgy looks from kidless people. Good. If my kid was actually kidnapped, people might notice. I usually hold to the idea that judgement is generally in the head of the person feeling judged, but one woman actually let out an obvious sigh and shade as she walked by. What kidless person goes to Target on a leisure shop on a Thursday morning and gets upset when a kid loses their mind? You knew the risk, lady.
I do, in an odd moment of clarity remember cat litter. And it isn't something I can ignore. My touch-every-last-thing kid is giving me the hard sell on these dog treats because she wants our dog to have "fashionable, sparkly, human teeth." Those were her words, not mine. I did mean to get our dog some treats for when we are on vacation, grab the discount treats, and everyone is disappointed they don't come with a creepy smiling dog on the package.
The Target gods smile upon us (or people cleared a wide path) and we find an empty line. The friendly grandmother cashier tells me all about her granddaughter who also has hair and likes Frozen and would love the hair ties I asked her to stealth ring up while I ignore my child asking me about every package of Pokemon cards and figurine. Thankfully, this isn't a gum aisle, so I don't need to play my least favorite sorting game the strung-out toddler loves to set up for me. The cashier asks the toddler for the dog treats, which I have used my ninja skills to maneuver into a barcode-up position during our conversation. Bad call, lady. I know her intentions were good, but that is a rookie move. Cue the wailing. In the end, she uses the zapper to scan it. It only took two of us to get that barcode face-up again. Of course, all this emotion reminds her that she was supposed to be angry about the buckle, and she starts yelling about that again. The sweet cashier who feels horrible even though I tell her my kid is just being heinous at the moment gives the girls some stickers and we run out of the store.
The sticker says "I buckled up for safety!"