By Cheryl McBride
It seemed like a good idea at the time. A quick trip to the Bay to get Taeves a pair of mittens. We entered the store from the parking lot and Taeves, at the top of his lungs, screamed “Christmas Trees!” In hindsight, this is when I should have cut it short and returned to the truck.
But we needed mittens, so I aimed Taeves toward the escalator. Off to the right was a six-foot tall pyramid of colourful Clinique products. Taeves took off and got to the display before I did. I caught one of the boxes just before the entire display came down.
I was a little stressed as hand-in-hand we rode the escalator to the second floor. At the top was a rack of Olympic mittens. Hooray! However upon examination, the ones that would fit Taeves had no thumbs! Dog mittens? Okay maybe we would find mittens in the boys department.
We turned down an aisle and Taeves ran ahead – directly for a display of porcelain Christmas gifts. I got there in time to take a porcelain rocking horse out of his hand and return it gratefully to the table. Just a little further to the boys department. Where are the mittens? Where is Taeves? Apparently hiding under clothing racks is irresistible for a two year old. He reappeared 8 racks down under a row of red satin party dresses.
Okay, no mittens or gloves that fit are to be found in this department. Perhaps we could buy some shirts since we are here. As I was checking sizes I realized Taeves was missing again. I heard “Gramma” from far away. I hurried to the main aisle and saw a lady half a store away pointing ‘this way’.
I ran down and found him in the CRYSTAL department. The CRYSTAL department! He did not want to come with me so he lay on the floor, in the middle of the CRYSTAL department!
We returned to the service desk so I could pay for the little boys shirt. Taeves opened a container of cheese and crackers and sat on the floor to wait for me. Before the purchase was rung through, Taeves had removed a ball from a Christmas tree next to the cashier and it was rolling under a display table. Taeves disappeared under the table in an attempt to retrieve it. I was able to re-attach it and we moved on. Of course, he wanted to hold hands with every mannequin we encountered. I had no idea one store could have so many – all threatening to topple as Taeves went by.
I’m not sure what I was thinking, but I decided we needed an Orange Julius. This meant going through the mall – how bad could that be? When we left the Bay and entered the mall, Taeves spun out into the open, hit the floor and was either making snow angels or attempting new break dance moves – in any case we were delayed a bit.
I will add at this point that I really hate malls and particularly Mayfair Mall. I am not familiar enough with it to know my way around and inevitably I get lost. Even though I asked at Information for the most direct route to the food court, we never did find it and we never got an Orange Julius.
During our search for the food court, Taeves spotted a boy about his age leaning over a stroller with his baby sister in it. He hurried over to see the baby. He pushed the brother out of the way and went in for a hug with the baby. The mother was okay with the hug but asked Taeves not to kiss her, which he did immediately after the suggestion was made. The little family moved on and my next challenge was to remove Taeves from this particular store that sold KNIVES and sharp things! The look on the clerk’s face as I attempted to move Taeves along was priceless – obviously he had never dealt with a two-year-old before.
Finally we are out and heading down the wide open space of the mall aisle, and there ahead is the same little boy we met in the KNIFE store, kneeling on hands and feet on a carpet near his Mom. Taeves took off toward them and literally threw himself on top of this boy. Knocked him down and was ready to do it again when both Mom and Gramma intervened and Taeves had to say ‘sorry’. Sigh.
I was absolutely exhausted at this point and we still had to make our way through the mall, through the Bay, to the truck. We got back to the Bay and Taeves wanted to stop and have some raisins. He pushed some cashmere sweaters to the back of a low display table, sat down and patted beside him to indicate he wanted Gramma to join him. So I did. We sat there and ate raisins. Watched people go by. Listened to Christmas music.
I really don’t remember the rest of the trip to the truck, but we got home safely. Taeves announced to his Mom and Dad that we “didn’t find mittens”. I handed over the shirt and headed home. Oh, just as I was leaving, Taeves’ Mom said, “I should have remembered to tell you to take the stroller.”
Author Cheryl McBride is a brave grandma who lives in beautiful Victoria, British Columbia