Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Fabric Store Fiasco

It seemed like I had the odds in my favor.

Eli was being happy and chatty. Carson slept in late. Everyone was in a relatively happy mood. So I ventured out to Hobby Lobby to pick up some fabric.

My children *cough* Eli *cough* have a history of being wild indians in Hobby Lobby. Something about Hobby Lobby unleashes their deviousness leaving my only chance of a successful shopping experience possible if all our conditions are favorable.

I had favorable conditions today. So I took the chance.

I got Eli out of the car. He obediently ran straight to the sidewalk and stood patiently with his arms folded while I got Carson out. Victory number one.

We walked into the store. The true test. Will Eli take off never to be seen again? Will he scream at the sight of the carts? Will he drop to the floor, kicking and screaming for no apparent reason? These have all happened. But they did not happen today. He politely waited his turn for a cart. Pulled his chosen cart out for me to put Carson in, and we made our way to the fabric. Victory number two.

I held my breath as we passed the display of overpriced toys and candy. Eli picked one up before I had time to steer him away. Before he got too attached I said, "Okay Eli. You can play with that while we are in the store, but you have to put it back before we leave." "Okay." He happily responded. Three victories in 5 minutes. This was some kind of record.

I went to find the fabric I needed. Gone. Grrrrr. Deep breath. The kids are being good. I told myself. We can go to a store just down the road to pick up what I need.

U-turn. Back past the toys and candy. Quick drop-off of the loot Eli had been lugging around the store, we were in and out as quickly as a burglar in the night. No screaming. No nothing. But what I didn't realize then, was that our swift exit from Hobby Lobby would be the last victory of my day.

Because then we went to Hancock Fabric.

Eli ran in and found the candy immediately. Why must these fabric stores torment mothers with candy down at toddler level? It's cruel and effective. Because I told Eli he could pick out one piece of candy.

With sucker in hand, we picked up the fabric I needed. We made our way to the cut table, quick on time because I could sense everyone's patience was running thin. There was one person in front of us.

Eli bolted down an aisle as soon as I stopped the cart at the cutting table. Then he came back and tried to crawl through a little hole in the middle of the cutting table. Then he tried to open all the cupboards under the cutting table.

The lady in front of me smiled like, Oh. Poor you. You have your hands full with that one.

Then Eli started running laps around one of the aisles. Carson and the baby of the lady in front of us started laughing hysterically at Eli's antics. So the antics continued as Eli would give us side smiles and mischievous looks.

I smiled as I tried to decide if it was time to intervene, or if I should just let this whole scene play out and hope it doesn't evolve into a show of defiance.

I let it play out a little longer. Until Eli became a human avalanche as he ran with one hand grazing the thread aisle, sending spools of thread bouncing throughout the whole store.

"Hey Eli!" I said as calmly as I could. "Why don't you come over here and play my phone?!?"

With his sucker still clutched in one hand and a stray spool of thread in the other, he looked at me like that was the dumbest idea he's ever heard. "NO!" He screamed. "Eli," I continued, trying to persuade him, "remember the fun spelling game you love? Don't you want to spell cat?!?"

He ran. Defeat number one.

He continued doing laps. Losing more control over his body with each step. But we were still doing alright because my fabric was cut, folded and just needed to be bought. "Okay Eli! Let's go! Should we go buy your sucker now?"

He skipped towards me bopping between the aisles the whole way. I looked at Carson for the first time since we had been there and noticed he was starting to get a little restless. When I looked back up, Eli was standing at the door to leave. Sucker in hand. And he was eyeing me with a smirk on his face that I know all too well.

It was the smirk that says, Mom. I'm about to do something I know you're not going to like. But I'm going to do it anyway. So let's see how this all plays out. It should be a lot of fun. 

My eyes bugged out of my head. Remain calm. Remain calm. I told myself. He can sense fear. Don't move too fast and startle him. I felt like I was detonating a bomb and/or staring into the eyes of a cheetah. One wrong move and I was a goner.

I began sternly, "Eli. If you walk out that..." Swoosh. Before I could fully devise my plan of action he was out the door. Defeat number two.

I left Carson behind to run after my crazed escape artist who was giggling through the whole pursuit. I snatched him up and ripped the sucker out of his hand. "No sucker for you." I said. Tasting the sweet revenge of those words coming out of my mouth.

Then the volcano of a tantrum erupted. I believe he was hanging upside-down, kicking his legs and waving his arms by the time I made it back into the store. I tried to pay quickly while Eli was throwing punches at my face, "MY SUCKER!!!!! I WANTED THAT! THAT WAS MIIIIIIIIINE!!!! NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!" Tears. Screaming. Pain. Anguish.

Meanwhile...I got a tap on the shoulder. Which was hard to decipher between the kicks and punches I was also getting in the same general area.

"Um. Excuse me. I'm sorry. just moved your son to the basket because he was standing up in the shopping cart and he was about to fall out." Whoops. Maybe I forgot about Carson amid my high speed chase. Maybe I was trying so hard not to drop squirming Eli on his head that I didn't realize Carson was about to plummet to his own self-inflicted head drop. Defeat number three.

Where is my invisibility cloak when I need it?

I can handle having two kids. I promise I really can. So long as there are nice strangers nearby to help me parent them when I am losing my mind.

I dragged Eli all the way to the car. More kicking, screaming, pain and anguish. I tried to get him in his carseat. He boarded his body, making buckling impossible. I shut the door and put Carson in. Back to Eli. Who had now climbed into the back of the car and had started giggling at his attempt to outsmart me. I opened the back. He whooshed back to the front. Sweat beaded down my forehead. Fourth defeat.

"I WANTED to go visiting teaching!" He yelled at me. What?

As the crowning test of my strength, patience and agility, I finally got Eli buckled into his carseat. It was as if he was craving the restraint to bring his body back into control after our shopping experience because he instantly melted into the seat as soon as he was clicked in.

"I wanted a sucker." He moaned to me. "But I was a naughty boy."
"You made a sad choice, didn't you, Eli?" I said, trying to fully utilize this teaching opportunity.
"Yes. I'll be a good boy."
"We'll try again another day."
Another day faaaaaaaaar in the future.


LC said...

Oh my gosh. I feel for you. After an outing like this I sit down in the drivers seat to go home and I just have to take a minute to breathe and let my own body melt into the seat!
HARD. Having two kids is HARD. And I hate everyone who pretends its easy on blogs. haha. I love you! You are a good mom. annnd this story is hilarious- because it didn't happen to me (today!)

Kim said...

You had me on the edge of my seat when Eli was darting out the door for fear of what was going to happen next. Than I felt such angst for you in dealing with such an unhappy boy. I breathed a sigh of relief to learn Carson hadn't fallen on his head. I laughed at Eli's antics in the car (don't get me wrong--I was feeling very sorry for you, but this time I at least knew Eli was pretty safely contained even if he wasn't in his car seat). Then I laughed and laughed and laughed at the rest of your bemoaning. What a little stinker!! was my thought until I looked at that sweet, adorable face of him in the bathtub at the end of the story.

Great storytelling and very cute boy. You can tame the beast in him, Sarah. Just keep trying! And keep posting! Eli/motherhood stories are so entertaining!

Rebecca said...

But Eli looks so angelic in that bath picture!

You know I love a good naughty Eli story. Keep them coming. (And I thought of you today as Brooke was spiraling out of control and I was thinking about how recently I had told you my kids were just perfect as of late. Ha!)

jlthomas said...

Oh Sarah I feel for you! Loved the visiting teaching comment though :)

jlthomas said...

This is Laurie by the way. And every mom has been there!

Natalie&Brad said...

I fear that I may not go anywhere with 2 children :)
Sounds like you handled things well though. Wish I lived closer so we could venture out together. (or at least take turns while we watch each others kiddos)

jill said...

I have a vivid memory of sitting in the Babies R Us parking lot with Dave and our two kids. Our youngest at the time was just a few months old. I looked out the front window and saw a mother get out of her car with three children ages ~7 years to ~9 months and walk into Shop-Ko without a second adult to help.
I started crying, "Oh Dave! I'll never be able to go by myself to any store ever, ever again!"

Yet, here I am with three kids now and I regularly drag them with me all over creation.

Every mom needs a blackmail story on her kid. Eli is being generous. And adorable.

Kenzman said...

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaahahaha. That's all. Oh and also, I'm glad Eli is reminding you to do your visiting teaching. That was nice of him.

Love Kenz