For Once In My Parenting Life, I Blended In

My daughter is up from her one-hour-drive-me-nuts-because-she’s-only-napping-once-a-day-where-is-my-three-hour-nap naps, and I have the brilliant idea of taking my kids to the busiest mall in the Richmond area at 4 p.m. on a Friday.

I live in the South. On a Friday, rush hour starts at 4 p.m.. And during the summer, it’s noon. This is probably why they fought so hard to keep slavery.

I get N ready. She insists on wearing pink gingham capris, one size too small, under her white and blue dress. And then I turn to my son.

Me: E, you need to put on real clothes.

Because everyday this past week, E walks into the house after school, strips down and puts on his pajamas. He will often also refuse to leave the house at all.

While I am proud that he has picked up so many of my wondrous traits, it makes getting anything done that isn’t dishes or laundry or yelling at our cats nearly impossible. And it’s now Friday and I have HAD ENOUGH.

Me: GET DRESSED, E!

E: I AM!

Me: WELL, IT DOESN’T LOOK LIKE YOU’RE GETTING DRESSED! IT LOOKS LIKE YOU ARE CARRYING AROUND YOUR CLOTHING AND PLAYING A KAZOO.

E acquiesces. Oh wait, I do. And we all get into the car with E wearing his Lightning McQueen pajamas. And a coat.

I did at least convince him to wear his pajama PANTS. Don't bother high-fiving me. The accomplishment is depressing enough.

After getting to the car, I realize that the REASON we are going to the mall (to return JEGGINGS bought for my daughter because NO!), is actually in my husband’s car.

I lie to myself: Scott office is on the way. Ish.

If by on the way, I mean thirty minutes of swerving through a drunk fraternity party who’s politely yelling Y’ALL GET OUT OF MY WAY, YA HEAR!

And of course, we arrive at Scott’s work just close enough to the end of his day to create hope in me. The hope that he might go to the mall WITH US RIGHT THEN AND THERE. Instead, a bunch of sick kids keep showing up.

So my entourage and I go into his office, get the keys, go back out, get the bag and I keep his keys. (Not as stupid as it sounds because he had TWO SETS OF KEYS TO HIS OWN CAR SITTING ON HIS DESK. Feel free to address this in the comments, Scott.)

Onward we drive, into the mental institution that is the MALL. The entrances have NO STOP SIGNS. Cars can just pour in and all the desperate people trying to leave have to WAIT. But this idea is CRAZY MALL PLANNING so first-timer cars just sit at the intersection without a stop sign waiting for the cars with a stop sign to go. Those cars are afraid and tired from all the spending and needing and don’t know whether to believe that the first-timer car will LET THEM GO HOME. This leads to much inching and honking.

Since we are in the pouring in line, we honk and squeal and park.

My kids are spectacular in the department store while I return the jeggings (my daughter was mostly relieved) so we head to the mall’s great toy store.

While my children touch and drool on everything, I pretend to be very interested in the Knight in Shining Armor gear in order to spy on the dad who just seconds ago RAN over to the Thomas the Train section to show his wife “what their son wants” and is currently explaining why they can’t put too many hills in the track because the electric trains can’t get up. When his wife points out that their son is perfectly happy pushing the non-electric trains, he rolls his eyes. (I suggested that they get two sets so their two year old can play. But just to Twitter because that dad was WEIRD.)

I also see a mom with a pajama-clad daughter! I give her the YOU AND ME! WE’RE THE SAME look (but not creepy like in Falling Down). I love finding moms of my own kind.

And Scott FINALLY appears.

Me: What took you so long? {Yes, there is probably a blog post out there about the shrew of a wife}

Scott: There’s a HUGE event going on out there. Like tons of kids. And a band.

Me: Really?

And as we exit the store on our way to dinner, I see the band and the tents. And all these kids in PAJAMAS. This giant event is slumber party themed.

I suddenly realize that mom and I are NOT the same. She looked up a fun kid-friendly event and got her child dressed appropriately for it. I got the insane idea to return some jeggings on a Friday afternoon in rush hour traffic and towed along a boy in pajamas because otherwise I’d still be at home.

This pretty much sums up my parenting for my last four years.

PS. E is four years old.

Alex Iwashyna

Alex Iwashyna went from a B.A. in philosophy to an M.D. to a SAHM, poet and writer by 30. She spends most of her writing time on LateEnough.com, a humor blog (except when it's serious) about her husband fighting zombies, awkward attempts at friendship, and dancing like everyone is watching. She also has a soft spot for culture, politics, and rude Southern people who offend her Yankee sensibilities. She parents 2 elementary-aged children, 1 foster baby, 3 cats, and 1 puppy, who are all Southern but not rude. Yet.

34 thoughts on “For Once In My Parenting Life, I Blended In

  1. Ha! I took my kids to that event solely because my 5 year old insists on putting on her pajamas about 30 seconds after stepping off the school bus everyday. I figured, we’re dressed for it already, might as well go join the madness. And bonus point — our lateness just happened to score us a prime spot on the Santa path! Score!

  2. Hey, at least you got out and they were dressed. I say you won that battle lady. WTF cares what they are wearing? Seriously, in the end, it doesn’t matter. Plus, you could be like me right now, showered and then put BACK on your jammies only to drive to the grocery store to pick up your groceries you ordered online. Yes, my friend. I learned how to be lazy at grocery shopping! Jammies on, coffee in hand and grocery shopping done. Woot!
    PS. I bet your kids looked adorable in their jammies anyway!

  3. I learn something first thing today. Jeggings? After googling, a question comes to mind. What sick abusing freak thought to put Jeggings on a toddler? Grab a pair of fishnet thigh highs while you’re at it.

    Ewww and NO!

    West End Pediatrics
    Where Sick Kids Keep Showing Up.

  4. Perhaps just perhaps, you are more brilliant (and E) so they planned the whole event realizing it is just amazingly comfy and fun to wear pj’s (besides it being Polar Express themed and all). Plus, it makes one feel very special since no one else really does it. Hey, pj’s look better than vamp fingernail polish and goth eyeliner right? Amazing N already has fashion sense. Love it. But does she have good taste in shoes like her mama? LOVED this post by the way. Thank you for letting us all feel normal.

  5. There are days where fighting the clothing war is just not worth it. Upon letting my 3 year year old go grocery shopping with us wearing her pajama bottoms (the soft fuzzy fleece on the outside and inside..seriously, they are so comfortable who doesn’t want to keep them on all the time) Hubby was slightly appalled at this venture until while we are in the frozen food section, we spy one little girl in her bathing suit top, stripped leggings (which btw did not match that top), rain boots, and a winter hat and coat…”see” I tell my hubby, “she could be insisting on wearing her bathing suit when it’s ten degrees outside. Breakfast casual (which is what we call wearing pajamas outside the house…cause that makes it totally okay) is so much better”.

  6. I was up last night with Alex, which infuriates my mother because “WHY ISN’T HE SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT YET??” and I thought “Oh, well, Alex is probably up somewhere with us too.”

    Which means? You’d fit right in around my house.

  7. “Thomas the Train section to show his wife “what their son wants” and is currently explaining why they can’t put too many hills in the track because the electric trains can’t get up. When his wife points out that their son is perfectly happy pushing the non-electric trains, he rolls his eyes.”

    This is my husband if left unsupervised. It’s the engineer in him. He wants to do everything precisely as it “should” be down to the last detail. His logic falters if after all that the kid just wants to wear the train as a hat. But they’re *supposed* to go on the perfectly manicured train track next to the miniature village of people!

    I think parenting will be good for Hubby 🙂

  8. Mayyyyybbbeeeee…the woman’s daughter was not there for the slumber party but also on a Clothes Sabbatical and, in turn, the mom thought you were the fabulous parent with well thought-out activities up your sleeve? Maybe?

    Also, I tend to strip down once in the house as well. All smart people eschew pinchy pants in the confines of their own home.

    (The word “jeggings” makes my stomach clench. Do not like.)

  9. 1. Hubby has a second set of keys to my car that is hidden from me. I only very recently learned of this set. His reasoning is that if I knew about it, I would take it and lose it. Which is incredibly madding, because it’s totally true.

    2. Last night I had a “Thomas the Train Daddy” incident. Let’s just say I found the complete Victorian Mansion set from Playmobil on Ebay. It’s sick. Unfortunately Kid wants the hospital set. Damn her and her medical aspirations! I want to play with funny little Victorian scullery maids!

    1. get your kid’s inner historical medical self out for Christmas –
      Victorian doctors still made HOUSECALLS at the mansion, no?
      homebirths, homedeaths, cholera, smallpox… the possibilities are endless.

  10. Sorry my sick kid slowed down his progress to the mall. In my defense, we went in the AM. So I guess we really didn’t slow him down. Much.

    I am SO not looking forward to C having an opinion about her clothes. She really doesn’t care at this point. As long as she has a bow in her hair, she would go out in just a diaper!

  11. Oh honey. You think you are crazy, but I think you are the sanest of us all. 🙂

    And the keys?! Can I be honest? I kind of want to copy Scott on that. Maybe I’d spend less time looking for my set that way.

  12. I LOVE this! I was at the Dollar Store and a lady much older than 4 was in her PJ pants AND fuzzy pink slippers- no JOKE. It’s wasn’t Pajama Day at the Dollar Store either and this morning, I followed the Dad of the the two boys I take to school in the am, home. He got out of his car sporting plaid pj pants carrying a loaf of bread. Must be a theme??

  13. But this all started with the idea of giving jeggings the benefit of the doubt, proving you are a positive, what-the-heck sort of gal. With a clear sense of fashion (hence the returning of the jeggings). Skinny jeans, yes. jeggings, no. Oh, and once, in high school (read: aloooooong time ago), i was sitting net to one of the “popular” girls in English. And she was wearing a Vicky’s secret pajama shirt. With jeans. And I know this because I had the same jammies. And i had the balls to lean over and say, something to the effect of, it is cute enough to wear to school, right!?!? And she was mortified and begged me not to tell. Ha.

  14. Love it- although ours isn’t a battle over pjs, it’s over my 3yr old wanting to live in a princess costume at all times, us going to ghe video store looked alot more acceptable last month(now I wonder if people are starting to wonder about us)

  15. You are not alone.

    My daughter? Tells me that she wants to stay at home “Again and again and again and again.” And never leave.

    To accomplish this, she’s realized that if she can be as difficult as possibly during the tasks necessary to get ready for the day. So, should you stop by at 4pm, she will be in her pajamas. tangled mess of hair in her face and a smear of tooth paste across her cheek from when she ran from me as I attempted to brush.

    Good times.

    You and I? We are the same. High five.

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