This morning I was living one of those parenting cliches. You know the one: crowded mall just before Christmas, frazzled mom, shrieking toddler. Just throw in the fact that I looked distinctly unwashed, my outfit surely would have landed me a spot on What Not to Wear, and the toddler was not only shrieking, but sobbing, arching his back, and trying to launch himself out of my arms and on to the tiled floor.
Now in my defense — to those Bayshore shoppers who didn't hesitate to shoot me a "what kind of IDIOT tries to navigate Winners with a cranky toddler?" look of condemnation (I recognize that one, having fired it off indiscriminately pre-motherhood) — I try very hard to avoid such situations. Honestly. That's why I never take Charlie shopping in the afternoons if I can help it. Only a lack of basic nutrients will lead me to wrestle Charlie into a shopping cart post-nap. And this morning, all signs pointed to at least a half hour of holiday shopping: yes, Charlie was up early, but it was 6, not 5 a.m., he had been well fed and watered (thanks to a stop at Tim Hortons), he was happily chatting away to himself in his stroller just before the screaming started. And I still have no idea what set him off. So I dropped the lovely cashmere-blend socks I found and hustled him out of the store. And when setting him free from said stroller only led to more mobile displays of discontent, I promptly used my "parenting skills" (as in, I'm bigger than you kid and I can carry your writhing body and push a stroller and carry the world's most awkward and heavily laden diaper bag) to get him to the car where he promptly fell asleep. So I will battle it out with the weekend shoppers instead, sans Mr. Ticking Time Bomb of Irrational Fury. And people (read: the childless) wonder why I haven't finished my Christmas shopping.