Today I was driving home from Target (where I must go because I've sworn off Wal-mart, forever). I was replaying in my mind the excursion. It was nothing out of the ordinary. But "nothing out of the ordinary" with children on board is anything but ordinary.
First we stopped by J.C. Penney's. I had to make a return. A quick little painless return...at the register near the door. Emma and Mark wanted Webkinz. No, no and NO. Are you kidding me? Then they wanted to just look at the Webkinz. Just look. Yes, they'd stay together. No, they wouldn't crash into any other hapless shoppers. (not my first time in a store with these hoodlums)
I relented. I was finishing my return and heard them then saw them loping towards me, each with a Webkinz in tow. One they wanted, needed, had to have.
On the way back to the van Mark earned himself a lecture on gratitude by telling me I'd ruined his life because he only has three Webkinz and it is all my fault.
Our next stop was Target. Somehow, Mark at Target is like trying to keep track of 15 puppies at once. How can that kid go in so many directions? I gathered a few pairs of pants for Emma to try on. I sent her over to try them on. My task? Keep Mark still. Emma was too shy to request a fitting room. I got her settled and told her to come out and show me the pants. I turned back to Mark who was scaling the side of the cart. We waited. And waited. I untwisted Mark from various pursuits.
And we waited.
Finally I went back to the dressing room (with Mark's hand planted firmly in mine).
"Emma," I called, "Have you tried the pants on?"
She emerged happily from the dressing room, fully clothed in her old jeans. "I tried on both pair." She was triumphant, reveling in her efficiency and speed.
"I wanted to see you in the pants."
"Remember when I said, 'come and show me'?"
This time I yanked Mark into the dressing room. He voluntarily put his nose in the corner so he wouldn't see Emma change. He stood stock-still. A miracle. The pants fit. One pair was selected for their comfort. We moved on.
Next stop was miniature toiletries for travel. Mark said he needed deodoring. Emma, long suffering, corrected him. "Mark, it's deodorant."
"I think it's deodoring."
"Mom, tell him it's deodorant."
"Mom, I think I need some deodoring. I might have used Braeden's before. Maybe. I think I need some...deodoring." (now I think he was just trying to bug Emma)
"Mom! Tell him it's deodorant."
Then we reached the candy and candy was the bribe to make them feel better about having to shop with me instead of stay with Grandpa like Braeden got to do.
So they got candy. Mark selected a big bag of M & M's. I told him he could share with me and he was willing. Emma chose pink Bubblicious gum, strawberry.
We made it to the van. Emma popped a mighty square of Bubblicious gum into her mouth. The scent transformed me back to the Starr Valley school bus where I spent 2 hours of each day during elementary school (an hour each way). The bus was airless, scorching hot in the seat by the heater, drafty everywhere else. It was bumpy with melted snow from boots swirling on the floor and ruining ill-fated dropped homework papers. It was loud and it smelled exactly like Bubblicious gum. It's funny how smells can transport you.
And funny how memories can remind you that even if you have exasperating children on trips to Target, at least you're no longer on the Starr Valley school bus for two hours each day.