Yesterday afternoon we decided to pay a visit to the Providence Place Mall–one of my favorite places to shop and eat (hello, Indian restaurant in the Food Court). With two gifts to buy, I had dreams of a blissful two hours tooling around the mall with August while Don took Oscar and Edgar to the movies–selecting cute baby clothes for my cousin’s shower and something gorgeous and dry-clean-only for my mother-in-law’s birthday.
I dropped them off at 2:45 PM, and chirped, “See you in two hours.” And off I skipped, thinking, “Ah, this is going to be heaven–shopping, hanging out with my sweet baby,” who was so tired I thought for a moment he might actually take a nap.
And then it began . . . We’ll start with the yelling. Not yelling as though he were angry–just an exuberant volume that is charming only in a sixteen-month-old (and, even then, barely so depending upon where you are):
“Look, August . . . See the elevator?”
We exited the elevator and proceeded down one of the main corridors of the mall, where passersby said more than once, “He’s missing a shoe”–or a sock, depending upon what he had decided to remove and throw.
Soon we entered a store, where he grabbed and pulled at every article clothing he could reach from his stroller (which was remarkably quite a bit) and pulled off and put into his mouth a tag or two or three for good measure. I turned my head for a moment to find the right size of something I wanted to buy when suddenly all the jeans on a nearby display–twenty or so pair–were on the floor. A befuddled clerk, who looked as though she had to do this all day, whisked in and started to pick them up–but not faster than he was tossing them.
Our next stop was a, shall we say, fastidious store that didn’t offer a lot of stroller room. At one point August had three boxes of cards in his stroller, to which the pained owner pointed then said to me, “Ma’am, do you plan to buy these?”
Keep in mind, of course, that at all times the yelling continued . . . and by the time two hours was nearly up, August had figured out how to remove the shoulder straps from his stroller and essentially stand up on the foot rest–giving himself a little height and more than a little freedom. He went through the mall yelling, pointing, and standing–all without shoes and socks, which I ultimately had to remove after the tenth or so time of having to retrieve one or more of them. (And to all the ladies who gave me “the look,” please keep in mind the recycled mall air is kept at a comfortable ten thousand degrees. He was perfectly fine.)
As we strolled back to the movie theater to pick up Don, Oscar, and Edgar, August was in his full glory. We entered the elevator with an older teenage boy and his girlfriend. The young woman looked down at August and remarked on his cuteness, to which August screamed in response, “AAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGG,” all the while trying to escape from his stroller. She then of course asked, “Where are his shoes and socks?” I explained how he had recently discovered the joy of throwing them and watching me find them! She chuckled lightly, at which August screamed again. Her boyfriend, looked down at my shoeless, sockless, standing, screaming boy and remarked, “That kid is awesome!”
He hides my telephone and calculator, throws toothbrushes in the toilet and clothes in the garbage can–but you know what . . . he really is.