Target Turns My Kids Into Orangutans

I have three little boys. Well, the one isn't quite so little anymore. He's nine, skinny as a cornstalk, and almost as tall as I am. I can slip my feet into his flip-flops to go out to get the mail. Cornstalk is definitely growing up.

You'd think that'd be a deterrent to the primate antics at Target, but apparently, all three of my sons see that crimson sign and think, "LET'S ALL TRY OUR DARNDEST TO MAKE MOM'S HEAD EXPLODE OFF HER SHOULDERS AND RICOCHET AROUND THE CLEARANCE SECTION."

They're winning.

I took the three of them to Target after school today in an "I absolutely can't put this off any longer" shopping expedition. I needed Christmas shirts for Cornstalk and the 2nd grader (we'll call him Moose). I needed toilet paper. A roll of paper towels. Some hand soap.

That's it.

How long do you think this trip took? Thirty minutes? Tops?


One hour and twenty minutes later, we exited. Moose was wearing a Santa hat I'd apparently paid for, and my 3-year-old (we'll call him Nutso for obvious reasons) was lying on his belly on the bottom shelf of the shopping cart, dragging his hands between my splayed legs as I walked cowgirl style out those automatic doors.

We began our shopping trip by browsing through the boys section looking for shirts. Let me rephrase that. We began our shopping trip by me chasing Nutso down the aisle because he wouldn't listen to my hissed, "Get back here. Get BACK here! GET BACK HERE!!!!!" Why, was he running do you ask? Well, he was chasing Moose, of course, who thought midday at Target was the perfect time to see how fast he could gallop.

And what sort of mother am I to allow Nutso out of the cart? Welp. I'm the kind of mother that is over and done with the whining. OVER. AND. DONE. He wanted out of the cart (I had him the cart. I swear it.), and I caved. I did, however, threaten his iPad, his free cookie (a curse on Target bakery for offering it and a curse on my husband for discovering it), and his very life if he didn't walk nicely by me while we shopped.

He didn't walk nicely by me while we shopped.  

Yes, he's alive, but am I? The jury's still out on that one. I think I'm wandering around in some sort of half-cocked, quasi-reality with one hand clasped around a wine glass and the other trying to keep clothes on my children so they don't run naked into the streets like the animals they are.

But, I digress.

Cornstalk took it upon himself to reprimand both Moose and Nutso for their antics, and although I appreciated the offer, the help wasn't really effective. There's just something…oh…I don't know…awkward when you hear your 4th grader yell, "YOU'RE BOTH GOING TO BE STOLEN AND SOLD INTO SLAVERY!" across six aisles of startled Target shoppers. Yes, I've warned him of the danger of this sort of thing happening, and yes, Nutso and Moose were so far away at that point I could barely see them, but no, that kind of language isn't helpful and may cause concerned mothers to speed dial Child Protective Services on their smart phones.

It all got worse from there.  Nutso snagged a bottle of Febreeze off a shelf, insisting he needed it, and threw it in the cart every time my back was turned. Then Moose and Cornstalk got into such a nasty fight over who got to load the stuff onto the conveyor belt in the checkout line that I considered tying both of them up and shoving them in a freezer with the organic string beans. 

The whole trip reminded me of the time I watched a mother orangutan calmly nurse her baby at the zoo while watching her other offspring shred a head of romaine lettuce and throw it around in the air. She backhanded him, sending him cartwheeling down an embankment. 

After this trip, I could totally relate. I wanted to backhand all three of them and they hadn't even gotten into the produce. 

Personally, I blame the cough syrup.

Moose had been on the sauce for two days when this trip occurred and I'm certain that Cornstalk had been dipping into it, too. I get it. It tastes good(ish), and there's something magical about suddenly being able to breathe after weeks of coughing up phlegm balls like a lifetime smoker.

Lesson learned.

But, really, what can you do? Shopping must be done. And children must not be left in hot cars. I suppose I could start purchasing all of my stuff online, but who am I kidding? That would take actual planning. No, I'm stuck. Maybe next time, though, I'll wean them off the Robitussin before we go.

Or, maybe I'll just start drinking it myself and join the zoo.