Today I found myself in a department store. With my children. I could probably end there and just let your imagination run wild with the antics that might take place when one woman takes five children into a department store. Reality can be so much more entertaining.
We just left the dentist. I should have gone directly home and taken a nap. But, Everett needs a pair of slacks for church. I decide that stopping at the department store wouldn't be a bad idea. I must have lost my mind. Every time I get home from an "event" I always forget about the looks, questions, and conversations that take place while I'm out. We are a spectacle. Five kids walking around with one adult would get some stares. One Asian child, two African children, and two white children walking around with one adult gets quite a few stares. Add to it that one child is in a cast up to her neck (talking LOUDLY ALL THE TIME) and we get more than looks. It's almost as if the Muzak in the background screeches off while we walk by.
We get into the store and ride the escalator to the second floor. Now, I realize that escalators can be dangerous. I've heard the 'crocs stuck in the escalator' stories. But they are high fun for kids. Especially the kid that hasn't been on an escalator since the plane trip home from Ethiopia. We shop, I see the prices, we get ready to leave. Our trip up to the second floor was so easy that I don't consider how careful I need to be on the ride back down. We are all seasoned riders now, right? I don't realize that you can't see how high you are as you ride up. Looking from the second floor down a moving staircase is terrifying.
Ella got on and then I stepped on (with baby in sling) and Sally ripped her hand out of mine and froze. I'm going down...down...down. Three of my kids are standing at the top. For a split second I consider running up the down...but I'm not Lara Croft. So I start yelling (this is more my modus operandi), "Everett stay with them! You guys just stay there! I'll be right back! But, GRACIOUS STEP AWAY FROM THE ESCALATOR BEFORE YOU FALL!!"
I slowly turn around as they step away and meet the stares of the entire cosmetics department. All conversation has ceased. All eyes are on me. Ho hum, nothing to see here folks. I'll just be running over to the other escalator. For fun.
I almost told Ella to stand by the earrings and wait (she was slowing me down) until I got my wits about me. Telling this child to stay put would be idiotic. Once, I gave a spiel about taking candy from strangers, helping to search for lost puppies, etc. After my 30 minute talk about stranger danger, I asked her what we say to strangers who offer us candy. Her reply, "Thank you!" Yep, can't leave her alone. Ever.
Ella and I get back onto the escalator and as I'm pulling her around the corner I hear this thumping noise. It's my other three kids who have overcome their fear of escalators and found out that playing with the rubber black handrail can be quite entertaining. Just as I'm almost to them, two concerned clerks approach them. And why wouldn't they? Three kids alone playing on the escalator? Sounds negligent to me. Dangerous even. I think I hear children's services being called as I grab two sets of hands and pull them onto the escalators. We safely make it down and I try to hold my head high as we make our exit. Sans new slacks and sanity.