Today I met my PIM friend Jen at the mall so the kids could play in the play area and we could grab some lunch and maybe do a little shopping. Jen has twin daughters, and in order to protect the innocent I am going to defer to Jen and refer to them as Toothless Wonder and Pantie-Wad Girl. We’ve had several outings with Jen and the girls, one of the more memorable ones being PWG removing her pants and TW trying to take off her shirt as well at the Children’s Museum. And no, it wasn’t Nudist Day at the museum. I’m sure that Monkey Man will be kicking himself one day to think about all the times he was hanging out with two hot little half-naked chicks while he stood by and thought about other things like monster trucks and chicken nuggets.
Side Note: PIM, by the way, stands for Psycho Internet Moms. Without going into another big long saga, I met my PIM friends way back when Monkey Man was an infant on a bulletin board for working moms. One of the husbands started referring to all of us as PIM’s so the name has stuck. And I suspect the only true psychotic ones are Jen and me, and she’d probably back me up on that.
We let the kids play for a while, then stuffed them full of Chick-Fil-A in the food court, took them outside to run around and throw coins in the fountain, we rode the train…we were pulling out all the stops. After the train ride, Jen asked if we could go into Children’s Place to get socks for the girls. Shop? Duh, of course I’m in. So we all went inside.
I’m sure that all the moms out there can see where this story is heading. Of course, as we’re at the register paying, Monkey Man announced that he needed to go poop. This means leaving the store, going back up to the food court area, and hopefully finding a clean bathroom. Suddenly, PWG decided that she needed to go potty too so I offered to take both of them with me. At that point, Jen had her hands full of clothes and was attempting to make TW try on some shirts. So I told her we’d be back in a few minutes, I took the kids’ hands, and we left the store.
We got about two stores up when I hear this horrible wailing behind me…sure enough, TW had made the jailbreak and had left the store all alone to catch up with her beloved sister PWG. Or so I thought that's what all the wailing is about. I was sure in her almost 5-year-old mind she was thinking it was some sort of conspiracy to go to a toy store without her. So Jen stuck her head out the door in a panic looking for TW, and I told her it was fine and to head back and finish up and meet us upstairs in the food court.
And thus, the adventure began. With all three kids, I started to head for the elevator. TW attempted to make a break for the escalator but I managed to corral her into the elevator, where a scuffle broke out over who was going to push the button first. All three got a turn and were very proud of their ability to make the big glass box move. TW was still wailing and I finally got her calm enough to decipher that she was upset because she had put her shirt back on backwards. I had an immediate flashback to the Children's Museum Nudity Incident and I managed to convince her that it would be okay to wait until we got into the restroom to fix things. Bullet dodged.
Luckily, our mall has a pretty nice family restroom, and thank God the woman in there with her two kids was just leaving. I hustled the three inside and of course they each proceeded to touch every germ-laden surface in the entire place. Immediate Mommy Panic sets in – all I can think about is making sure that nothing happens to TW or PWG….Monkey Man is strictly on his own at this point. Hey kid, you better learn about survival of the fittest now before it really starts to count. So MM announces to the group that he is going to poop. Suddenly, EVERYONE has to poop. Oh, crap. Two toilets, three poopers…this ain’t gonna be pretty, people.
I was totally relieved to find out that our Original Pooper, Monkey Man, was truly the only one who had to camp out on the potty. It’s funny how kids are – if one announces that they need to go potty, the rest are like lemmings and have to follow suit. I think the girls were going to do a sympathy poop thing for Monkey Man but they had nothing to give. Anyway, the girls did their thing and then dutifully washed their hands. As I assisted them in getting soap, water, towels, etc., one was washing hands while the other one was turning the lights on and off. All while Monkey Man is still sitting there. (Side Note: What is it about men that they have to camp out when they poop? I would love to know, is this a Y chromasome thing or what?) Finally he wrapped things up, everyone got hosed down with disinfectant, and we all left the restroom.
Jen showed up at that time and we decided to take the kids back downstairs to the toy store so that they could buy a birthday gift for a friend. The line for the elevator was too long so we decided to take the escalator.
Now – another one of my more charming oddities is this…I wouldn’t call it a phobia, per se, but a certain wariness about escalators. As in I can’t just hop on and hop off one without being almost panic stricken about falling. As long as I have one hand on the rail thing, I’m okay – but give me a drink or package in one hand and Monkey Man’s hand to hold in the other hand, and I’m almost in cardiac arrest.
So as luck would have it, TW broke into a dash to the escalator and hopped on immediately. Jen got on right behind her, while PWG lagged behind. I soon realized that she was too scared to get on without holding someone’s hand, and I was starting to panic. One escalator, two kids, one big scaredycat = big trouble. Jen tried to run back up the escalator to try and get PWG but of course she also needed to keep an eye on TW as well. So the poor girl had to get TW at the bottom and ride back up to the top and retrieve the three of us. And of course, everyone waiting at the top of the escalator while I stood there in sheer panic was wondering what planet I’d dropped off of, especially that one lady with the five kids. Hey, don’t judge, lady! I never said multi-tasking was one of my stronger points!
It was at that moment that I flashed back to five years ago, when after 2-1/2 years of infertility we were finally pregnant and for some odd reason I had this feeling that it just HAD to be twins. And honestly at the time, when we had our first ultrasound I was crushed that there was just one baby cooking in my belly.
I guess maybe I would have adjusted over time, but hats off to any mom that has more than one child, whether they are multiples or not. With this whole escalator issue that I have, I would never get to go anywhere. At least not until my kid could hold my hand and make sure I was able to get on and off without being sucked into the jaws of the escalator. And having to take all of the tribe to the restroom at one time? Unh. Just shoot me now.
So Jen, you’re my hero today. I am always in awe of you when I spend time with you and the girls. I don’t know how you do it, although I suspect being slightly insane is a good portion of your coping skills. And I mean that in the nicest way, really. Just consider the source. The woman who is scared of escalators.