Dinner and Shopping

“Wow! Only two of them?! We can do ANYTHING we want!!” This was my first thought yesterday, as the boys were off getting their haircut and I found that I had an unexpected opportunity for time with just the girls.
You see, the planning, or rather the flexibility of navigating the unexpected, that goes into having all four littles (who are five and under) is definitely an energy consuming. It doesn’t usually stop me, but sometimes my experience is a little blurry, for sure. So, with only two of them, surely this will be a breeze!
I asked them what they would like to do with our unanticipated adventure. I offered swimming at the beach, pottery-painting, trampoline gym, puppet show at the library, or whatever they could imagine that I could easily resource in our three hours. They whispered to themselves for a bit before responding. This is a bit nerve-wracking to witness them conspiring as I felt as if I should prepare for a counter-argument. I have no doubt that one or both of them will end up on their high school debate team.
They nodded, fist-bumped, and turned to face me together. Alexandra (age 3) started, “So, Mama, we have decided that we would like to first have something to eat at a sit-down restaurant where a people comes to our table to bring us food that was cooked just for us.”
Victoria (age 3) continued, “And then, we want to go SHOPPING!”
Mama, incredulously, “Dinner and shopping?”
Victoria, “Yes! We want new summer dresses for our new summer camp.”
How can this have happened? This is not in my DNA. I thought I had screened this out. They are too young for peer pressure, right? I was flummoxed and flabbergasted. And stuck. I have been working really hard to honor the explorations that they want to have, but seriously? This is what I have nightmares about. Regularly.
So, off to Macaroni Grill. Met their requirements, and I got to draw on the table to distract myself since I was really hoping we would be sitting on a beach instead. They held hands all of the way inside the restaurant, politely saying, “3 please” to the hostess, and lead the way to the table of their choice. When asked for their drink order, they both said, “Fizzy water, please, in a real, grown-up people, glass.”
They reviewed the menu and Alexandra, who claims that she cannot read, pointed out the item (without a picture) of the Fettuccine Alfredo saying, “I want this pasta, not this one with the broccoli and chicken” as she pointed to the lines above. Victoria stated, “I will have the same.” And put her menu down.
In true toddler mama fashion, I ordered a fancy appetizer for my entree knowing full well that they would not eat it and also understanding that I would have plenty of their leftovers to eat if I was still hungry.
When the drinks came, Alexandra quickly grabbed her straw and, before I could stop her, shot her straw paper across the table, missing me, hitting the person behind me. I must have had quite the disapproving look on my face (or the person behind me did), because she just as quickly hopped out of her chair, marched over, and said, “Excuse me, I am sorry for hitting you with my straw paper, I was aiming at my Mama and I missed.”
Thankfully, the rest of the meal was unremarkable. But to be sure, in the parking lot, they reiterated that they wanted to go shopping for new dresses. I had to coax my car to drive toward a department store. I may have even shed a tear or two.
Once in the store, I guided them to their section, and let them loose to choose a dress. They selected several and dragged me to the dressing room to try them on. I could not convince them to just pick one, try it on at home, and return it if they don’t like it. I seriously sat and watched Victoria try on 12 dresses. 12. 12 different dresses. (Next shopping trip, a store with far less options.) Alexandra was done after the first purple one she selected (she did, however, take forever to select one to try on). She was also happy to give Victoria a thumbs up or down on the selections though. She even stated, “Toria likes to look at herself in the mirror a lot!” Apparently my comments were not as helpful as Victoria repeatedly rolled her eyes when I said things like, “Yes, that looks like a dress that you might like.” “Yes, that is a dress.” “Yes, that dress is yellow.”
I may need some tips for this adventure activity, if indeed it ever actually occurs again.
#4fiveandunder #adventureday #girlsnightout #sitdownrestaurant #shoptillyoudrop #mannerseducationwin
#13willbeinteresting #letthemexplore #practicingpatience #momentsofjoy #leaningin

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