We ventured to the mall this morning to check out a children's show I had heard about recently. We were late (not unusual) but still arrived about 20 minutes before the show was scheduled to end. When we got there everything was being packed up. I didn't bother stopping to ask questions since C had spotted a nearby fountain and was really excited about that. Maybe we'll try again next week?
We walked over to the fountain and she started taking off her shoes telling me she wanted to go IN the water. Oops.
While we happened to be at the mall, I have been on the search for quite literally months trying to find a cross-body purse that isn't ugly. Anyone who has ever had to get a child in and out of a car seat on a regular basis, sometimes with bags of groceries and obnoxious parcels like a 12-pack of paper towels, understands the need for a purse that physically can't fall off your shoulder. I didn't think about it much when I still carried a diaper bag because it strapped across my body. When I decided to stop carrying that and switch back to a regular purse, I quickly realized the impracticality of any bag that didn't strap across my body.
Thus, the search began. Have you ever looked for a cross-body purse? There are a handful of cute ones out there. Coach makes some really lovely ones. Sadly, neither my bank account nor my every day wardrobe is compatible with a $300+ purse. While there are some cute cross-body purses out there, most of them are very square, flat, and made of nylon. My desire to not look like a tourist or a 12-year old eliminated all of those options. It's times like these when being type-A really bites me in the butt. I end up fabricating the ideal purse in my head to meet my own specific personal needs and then frustrate myself on an endless quest to discover that such a bag doesn't exist. Alas, this morning I finally came across one that was reasonably close to what I had in mind. Neutral in color, spacious without being big, stylish shape (not square!), reasonably priced. Actually, here it is...
Satisfied with that purchase, we walked out of the store and into the mall. Inconveniently, just outside the store was the mall's play area (sponsored by the local hospital, ironically). I had long ago sworn that no child of mine would play in a mall or fast food play place. They just seem like germ heaven to me, and call me what you will but I just can't say I trust the mall custodial staff to clean the area up to my standards. We take health and cleanliness very seriously in our household. I'm quite proud of the fact that C is over 2 years old and has never been on antibiotics. Granted, she doesn't go to daycare, but we also don't sit in the house all day sanitizing things. We go to the playground, the library, play dates, stores, restaurants, etc. She touches things. She also sucks her thumb which means that much more stuff goes directly in her mouth. We're just really vigilant about hand-washing and general good hygiene. So ordinarily, I would have walked right by the play area without giving it a thought, but C had already told me this morning that she wanted to play at the playground (with her hands on my cheeks which makes it much harder to deny). I told myself that my fear was unfounded and I was just being over-protective. Tons of kids play in there all the time and look, their parents are sitting on benches reading books. Certainly there is nothing to fear. And we went in.
This is where all of my fears were confirmed. My first horrifying realization was that all the children playing had their shoes off. Ugh. I missed that at the gate. But, I sucked it up and took off her sandals to let her play. My second horrifying realization was that it smelled like sweaty little-kid feet [shudder]. At first C was apprehensive. There were no fewer than half a dozen children who were very obviously beyond the height limit posted at the play area entry. I'd guess they were around 8-10 years old stomping around among children too young to walk.
Eventually C got brave enough to try climbing on a little play ambulance (sponsored by the hospital, you recall). She was excited and thought it was great. As she climbed on and off other things and ran around on the squishy, bouncy floor, I stayed nearby to make sure she didn't get kicked or stepped on by some of the bigger kids who seemed totally unaware that they were playing on pre-school play equipment among toddlers and pre-schoolers.
In our wandering around I began to observe some other horrifying things like a child walking around with a band-aid hanging off her leg, several adults blowing their noses, non-walking babies clearly under the age of one with no adult anywhere near them. As I looked around the perimeter for an adult that could possibly be supervising this young baby, I saw parents holding and talking to even tinier babies, parents doing things on smart phones, parents reading books, and parents talking to each other. Not that unsupervised babies are a hazard to anyone, but they are in a little bit of danger themselves! Lastly, and perhaps most disturbing, I watched a mom explain to a little girl that she would be sitting on this bench if the little girl needed her... then another little girl 8 feet away said, "Mom, I'm over here." ACK!
Luckily it was close enough to lunch time that we only spent about 15 minutes there. We sanitized our hands as soon as we got back to the stroller and high-tailed it out. I was thrilled to have a new purse, and C was satisfied to have played with some kids for a little while.
We washed our hands while singing the ABCs immediately when we got home. Also funny, but unrelated to our adventure at the mall, C asked to use the potty while I was getting our lunch ready. She ended up doing both #1 and #2 (yay!) so when she was finished I told her she could pick two stickers. I then walked into the kitchen to check on our lunch and when I came back she looked like this...
Seeming to have no problem, she went on to play and color like this until it was time to eat.
That's my funny girl :)
I think we're headed to the library tomorrow morning, so we'll see what kind of fresh fun that provides!