Yesterday was a long and tiring day. It wasn’t because I did anything like real work. I did something far more exhausting than using my muscles. I took four boys to buy clothes. It was like trying to herd cats into a paper bag. By the end I was ready for a supernap.
In this small town we only have a few options for children’s clothes. I decided to head over to the smaller than normal JCPenney where they have a pretty decent boys’ department.
Before we left home I discussed with each boy what clothes they need and told them to remember their own list for me. That wasn’t the best idea because when we got there and I pointed to one of them and said, “OK, what do you need?” He looked at me like it was a foreign concept. Elijah said, “What do you mean what do I need?” Uh oh. New plan.
I ran through the list in my head and pointed at each boy again, “You need 2 pair of jeans, some dress slacks and one shirt. You need one pair of jeans, some socks and a swim suit,” and so on. Then Levi says, “What do I need?!” I told him he doesn’t need anything; we just brought him along for fun. It was fun alright. For Levi.
The second thing I noticed, after the fact that I should have written the list down, is that the store was unusually warm. Within 5 minutes I was looking for a sales flyer to fan myself. I knew I wouldn’t last long in the heat, but we moms have to suffer for our children and this was going to be one of those suffering times.
We gathered a few things and headed to the little dressing rooms. There are 2, side by side, little rooms that are the size of a phone booth (kids, a phone booth is a small, “room” outside that is only big enough to hold one person standing up and they used to have them all over America, but then cell phones were invented and now we just stand around talking where everyone can hear us and not paying attention to the cashier at the grocery store). Noah, at 13, doesn’t want to dress in front of mom, which I understood, so I put him into one dressing room and I went into the one nextdoor with the other boys. Adam and Elijah immediately freaked. “Mommy! You CAN’T watch us get DRESSED!” Oops. Sorry. I’ll just stand out here. Y’all let me know when you are dressed and ready to show me the clothes on your body.
No problem. I love standing up in a hot store for an hour while 3 boys that I gave birth to and nursed for over a year worry that I may actually see their stomach.
One of the dressing room doors would open, we’d examine the clothes to check for fit, they’d go back in the room while I went for another size. I’d get back, knock to let them know I was back with the new size and they would barely crack the door open for me to hand them the next thing. I felt like I was in a spy movie.
“Here’s your…ahem…pants,” whispering loudly, “knock twice for a new size and I’ll signal if the coast is clear. Over.”
It all got very confusing after a while. Did Noah have pants yet? Has Adam tried on the same swim suit twice? Does JCPenney sell fans so I can just buy one, plug it in and point it straight at me for the duration of this shopping trip?
All the while Levi is constantly dragging me over to the jeans and announcing that THOSE jeans are named after him.
He insisted he should buy them all and take them home.
We finally finished shopping and headed for home. In the car I told everyone that we weren’t going to take the new clothes into their rooms until we cleaned out the drawers and went through the clothes they already own. I dragged a chair into the middle of their room, sat down with a glass of iced tea with Sonic ice and had Noah, Adam and Elijah empty out their drawers into piles and I’d help them go through it all and see what we needed to keep and what we could get rid of.
That was a circus act all in itself….clothes flying around the room, “Adam! I think these pants are yours!” and, “Hey! There is that brown shirt I’ve been looking for!” until 2 hours later when we had it all finished. In the end, Noah found his jeans and dress slacks, Adam realized he had an extra swimsuit already and Elijah has more clothes than any 9 year old should own.
I started pulling the clothes out of the JCPenney bag that we had just bought, “Um, Adam you don’t need this swim suit, do you?” Nope. “Elijah, you already have dress pants, we don’t need these.” No again.
By the time we were finished with the whole project the only thing we were keeping from our shopping trip to JC Penney is the socks.
Which I could have picked up at Walmart the next time I went grocery shopping.