I, like every red-blooded American between the ages of 18-80, am a huge fan of Target, and am deeply suspicious of people who are not. My dad, for instance, swears only by K-Mart, which makes no sense, unless you enjoy shopping like you’re living in a post-apocalyptic wasteland:
Target, by contrast, is a brightly-lit wonderland of deals and discounts, where everyone is boldly dressed in red and all the movies I want to own magically only cost $5 and YES, I WOULD LIKE TO TRY THIS BAG OF CACAO NIBS AND THIS ORGANIC CONDITIONER THAT GIVES VILLAGERS IN AFRICA CLEAN WATER FOR A MONTH AND ALSO SMELLS LIKE SUNSHINE AND MANGOES.
But no matter how much of a paradise Target may seem– and sometimes, with a 20% off clearance coupon on Cartwheel, it straight up seems a more desirable location to spend my afterlife than actual legit heaven– it transforms into a grueling death march once my children are introduced into the equation.
This evening’s trip was to be fairly typical– we needed the following:
- A hot glue gun (please don’t judge me for being the only living woman who did not yet own a glue gun)
- A box of crayons
- Cat food
- Turkey bacon
I was prepared. I had a list. I snagged the cart that has the two child seats in the back. This time was going to be different.
Within five minutes, I made my first critical mistake– attempting to even glance at something not intrinsically necessary to survival within sight distance of my children.
Me: I could use some new sunglasses…
Addie: SUNGLASSES I NEED ALL THESE SUNGLASSES I NEED THEM ON MY FACE RIGHT NOW DESPITE THE FACT THAT EVERY TIME YOU BUY ME SUNGLASSES I LOSE THEM WITHIN FIVE MINUTES AND CRY ABOUT THEM MONTHS LATER WHEN YOU LEAST EXPECT IT AND DEMAND YOU SEARCH THE ENTIRE HOUSE FOR THE NOW-MISSING PAIR OF SUNGLASSES BUT I NEEEEEEEEED THESE NOW NOW NOW NO–
Rosie: HOW MANY OF THESE CAN I FIT UP MY NOSE? ALL OF THEM? ALL OF THEM!
I abandon my dream of not having permasquint and hustle to the valentines, where Addie spends what feels like approximately five hours selecting the perfect ones to reflect her true personality and sparkle to her classmates (3-D zoo animals with googly eyes, which makes a lot of sense, actually). But then–
Addie: What about Rosie’s valentines? For day care?
Me: Rosie doesn’t need valentines, she’s two. She can’t read.
Addie: [Inexplicable sobbing over the tragic unfairness of her sister being left out of the Valentine’s Day exchange despite the fact that she can’t read and has no idea who any of the other kids even are in her class, except for the one girl who keeps biting her.]
I see that valentines only cost about $2, so I make the executive decision to purchase some for Rosie if it will shut Addie up.
Me: Rosie, which ones do you want, Minnie Mouse or Paw Patrol?
Rosie: YOU FORGOT TO PUT A DIAPER ON ME BEFORE WE LEFT AND I JUST PEED THROUGH MY CLOTHES ALL OVER EVERYTHING IN THE CART AND ALSO ON THIS VERY EXPENSIVE-LOOKING TOY THAT I STOLE WHEN YOU WEREN’T LOOKING!
Addie: Now that we’re as far from the front of the store as possible, this might be a good time to announce that I am about to pee my pants!
So we sprint all the way back to the front of the store, me running with Rosie tucked under my arm like a football, Addie gripping her crotch with both hands, and by the looks on all the other moms’ faces, I am definitely nominated for Mother of the Year for this particular display. After Rosie is changed and Addie mercifully makes it to the potty before critical mass is reached, I realize that so far, we have been here for half an hour and somehow managed only to get one item on our list.
Addie: I BELIEVE I WAS PROMISED SHOPKINS, IT WAS NEVER EXPLICITLY MENTIONED BUT IT IS AN UNSPOKEN PACT, I REQUIRE SHOPKINS OR I WILL BURN THIS PLACE TO THE GROUND.
Rosie: I AM NOW JUST CRYING FOR NO REASON AND EVERYONE IS LOOKING AT YOU AND I’M NOT GOING TO GIVE THEM ANY REASON NOT TO SUSPECT YOU JUST KICKED ME RIGHT IN THE FACE.
So I load both kids into the cart and Supermarket Sweep the remainder of the items on our list, my eyes misting over as I ran past the display of 30% off spring scarves and adult gummy vitamins. We’re almost home free– one day, I mouth mournfully to the rack of anti-microbial water bottles– when we stall out in the check-out line.
Addie: Is this chocolate? Let me open it and find out. Yep, it’s chocolate! But not the kind I like! Allow me to spit the half-chewed remains of it into your outstretched palm and then not bat an eye when you have to pay $3.50 for the opened container!
Rosie: THERE IS NO ROSIE, ONLY ZUUL!
So finally, two hours later, we limped home, defeated and downtrodden, but at least in possession of a mini glue gun. Almost immediately upon walking through the door, we had a man down:
I unloaded our bags, emptying our newest purchases into the river of junk that runs through our house. After everything is put away, I realize that somehow, in all the chaos, I must have abandoned Rosie’s pee-soaked pants somewhere on the Target campus, and I hope that the Target gods see this as an offering. I left behind soiled Circo pants for you, Target. I also realize that somehow, I made it out without purchasing any Shopkins, and a slow smile spreads across my face. In my book, that makes this trip a success.