Recently I took all my children shopping at Chez Target. I will try not to wax poetic but you must know how much I love that place. In particular, I laud and magnify the store designer who thought to centrally locate the dressing rooms! Gone are the days of trying to keep four boys from misbehaving while bored out of their gourds in the girls' department as their sister tries on EVERYTHING. I (once and only once) went the route of sending my sons over to the boys' dressing room by themselves. What brand of crack was I smoking that day?! Anyway...
These days it's Target or nothing if I have them all (or even four-fifths of them all) in tow. On this particular day in Target, we were stocking up for spring and early summer. And we weren't the only ones. Maybe it was the tornado outside or maybe it was simply 'the' place to be on a Thursday night after 8, but that back corner where the dressing rooms are was hopping.
Havoc, who is seven, had finished trying on his clothes before all of his sibs - which is not surprising because he likes everything I pick out for him and 8 slims fit him perfectly. He was skipping around being cute and everyone (all 412 of them loitering around the changing rooms) thought he was the bomb diggety. Especially compared to his brothers who were not remotely adorable. Chaos was insisting that any pair of jeans that came in contact with his body above his butt crack were waaaay too tight. Mayhem was complaining about the itchy tags and icky colors of everything. The Ninja Princessa was neither adorable nor a pain in the potatoes - she was just intent on making sure she knew ALL of her clothing options. (If you think that my timing in hitting Target a mere hour before they close was accidental then you have NEVER been shopping with the Princessa before! It's a great way to limit the damage without being the bad guy. Try it on your own Princessa. You will love me for it.)
The other mothers gave me knowing looks and sympathetic smiles as they dealt with their own (pre-)teens. The hordes of older teenagers hanging around all wanted to talk to me about my piercings (and thereby completely fool Target management into thinking they weren't either the best friends or the love-stricken admirers of the two ridiculously beautiful girls handing out dressing room numbers and manning the walkie-talkies.) More than one teenager commented on what a big family we had and more than one mom said something like, "I don't know how you do it. It's all I can do to manage with just two." Right on the heels of one of these comments, up skips Havoc.
"Mom! Mom! Can I have these cute flip-flops? They're right over here!" Then he skips just around the corner and YELLS, "They're blue and gold and say Co-Ro-Na! Oh Mom! Your favorite!! CORONA! Just like the church key you have. Doo da loo da loo loo! Cerveza senor?"
Ok - I do, in fact, have a bottle opener that sings a little song and asks (in a sultry voice) 'Cerveza senor?' (it was some freebie somewhere along the way) and for my whole life bottle openers have been called church keys but... man, that boy's timing! The teenagers thought Eddie was EVEN MORE adorable now and the mothers chuckled.
Oh the bad mommyness of it all! Of course, I told Havoc he could not have Corona flip-flops (and no, they weren't sized for a seven-year old anyway or there'd be waaaay more to this little vignette.) I really, truly hope that I did not leave the impression that it takes alcohol to have a big family (in the first place) or to manage it (in the second place)! And if I compromised on the definition of "above your butt crack", bought Hanes shirts with no tags, bribed the Princessa with her very own copy of Harry Potter on DVD to hurry up, drove through the end of a tornado, put the kids to bed immediately and had a beer (with a twist off cap), then I'm not telling a soul.