Let's Digress

Shopping with Cousin Cindy

It happened. I went shopping with Cousin Cindy and her small children.

It all started last Monday morning…

I went to get my hair cut at Cindy’s Chair. If hair salons were clubs, Cindy’s Chair would be The Roxbury. Yeah, it’s that awesome.

Anyway, I went to get a haircut. More specifically, I went with the intention of having my head shaved. I had finally decided to pull the trigger and just get it all chopped off, Mr. Clean style.

Cousin Cindy has two small children; one is 3ish and the other is…um… too small to do anything fun. I think she’s 6ish months, but she can’t walk or talk or do anything exciting, so her age isn’t important.

Baby Kylie was running around in her bouncy chair thing and 3-year-old Fredrico was doing whatever it is he does.

I sat down in the haircutting chair and told Cousin Cindy my plans to have my head shaved. She replied excitedly with, “That’s great! It’s about time! Let’s do it!”

Then she paused.

“Wait. Adam, your brother is getting married next month. It won’t grow out and look good by then; we should wait until after his wedding. Blah blah blah something about being considerate and not selfish blah blah blah quit throwing a tantrum, you’re 23 years old Adam blah blah blah.” The conversation wasn’t important. What’s important is that my head is not shaved. (For details about the Shared Wedding, click here!)

So she cuts my hair, we talk, boring stuff.

After she’s finished not shaving my head, Cindy mentioned something about needing to go to Walmart to buy stuff, but she was hesitant about going by herself with 2 small children. I guess they can be a handful or something.

I politely said that they wouldn’t be a handful if she gave them NyQuil before she left… Going by her reaction of verbally punching me in the face, I’m going to assume that what I suggested was not an appropriate way of dealing with small children. Oops.

I ended up volunteering to go with her though. My reasoning was twofold: 1). I had no other plans and it sounded amusing. 2). Small children are hilarious, especially in large shopping centers.

We threw Fredrico and baby Kylie in the car—properly securing them into their car seats—and we took off.

*fast-forward 17 minutes*

We’re inside Walmart doing shopping things. Baby Kylie is chillaxing in her car seat in the shopping cart; Fredrico is running around poking random things. It looked entertaining, so I started to poke random things as well. It was surprisingly fun. However, poking random people was not a wise decision. Oops.

We continued to go through the store and buy stuff. I realized half way though this adventure that my main purpose in going, completely unknown to me in the beginning, was to make sure Fredrico didn’t leave with any nice strangers.

What made me realize this? Fredrico poked a nice stranger with a beard (a beard that rivaled the ones from Duck Dynasty) by the candles.

Cousin Cindy also realized the full extent of the enabler that I am. Fredrico wanted, no, needed, new toys. I may have handed him a few and helped him find the ones he really needed. Don’t worry; most of them were under $45.

Somehow we ended up by the furniture…Fredrico wanted to sit in the big comfy chair. The problem was that this big comfy chair was the display model up on a shelf about as high as my head.

Cousin Cindy, being the great mom that she is, told him no, he’s a big boy, he isn’t supposed to go up there, etc. And I, being the great cousin-esk person that I am who respects everything that Cindy says when she’s in “mom mode,” just picked him up and sat him in it. And by “sat,” I mean gently tossed. The chair was a little out of arms reach, so maybe it was more of a throw than a toss. Whatever, its semantics. The point is that I was helpful and an excellent sub-par role model and stuff.

We played in the chairs for a while, and I may have moved him to the even more cushy futon display…then went to the recliner. The recliner was the problem. See, this recliner, on top of being about 5 feet off the ground and being very easy to rock, was next to this loose cardboard-plastic sign thing that was resting on top of it. Young Fredrico may have started to rock a lot…and that may have led to the cardboard-plastic sign kind of sort of almost breaking and falling on top of Fredrico… So, with my intoxicated Spider-Man type reflexes, I reached out to grab him and…missed. Yeah, I missed. Oops. But don’t worry; I regained my balance and composure and caught him before the sign did too much damage to his face and before Cousin Cindy could notice.

We moved from the nearly broken furniture to the artificial flowers. Cindy and the not-exciting baby Kylie went to look at fabric or something and the Fredrico stayed with me. I taught him how to properly sniff fake flowers. I may have also heavily implied that the color of the flower dictates its smell. “This one smells like blue,” “This one smells like weird yellow and green,” “This one smells like ugly.” It was awesome. He gave the “ugly smelling” one to Momma Cindy. She accepted it giddily and said it smelled beautiful, to which Fredrico said, “No it doesn’t! It smells ugly!” He learns quickly. I can’t wait until he’s old enough to think that girls have cooties. This will be fun.

We somehow made it over to the food side of the store in one piece about 3 hours later. Ok, more like 18 minutes. But time is irrelevant when you’re in Walmart, so it was 3 hours.

Cindy had to buy milk or something, so the Fredrico and I went to sniff cleaning products to kill time.

Actually, that’s false. We were going to sniff cleaning products, and then I realized that sniffing cleaning products could be dangerous to brain cells or something (I learned that on an episode of House), so I decided that we should go to the air freshener aisle instead. It would be safer. However, the little person didn’t find it as amusing as the artificial flowers for some reason and went back to Cousin Cindy.

The 20 minutes that followed were a blur. All I know is that when the metaphorical fog lifted we were back in the toy area again.

Cindy said that it was time to go and she was trying to think of a clever way to get Fredrico to put the toy he had down and leave peacefully. Well, having just finished reading a book about parenting and boundary-setting with small people, I felt empowered to show Cousin Cindy what I had learned. So, I told her the plan: empathize with him, tell him his options and the consequences for each, and follow through with the plan…no matter what.

She laughed at me.

She laughed at me behind my back in front of my face.

I said, “Watch and learn, woman.” (Because calling a female “woman” deescalates every situation) I pushed her out of the way dramatically and she might have ended up running into the Nerf Gun part of the aisle…

I walked over to Fredrico, took the Captain America action figure out of his hands, threw it up and over the wall into the no-mans-land on the other side, grabbed him under his arms facing away from me, and quickly walked away with him held out at arms length (almost like how one would carry a baby with a ripe diaper). At this point he had started to kick and scream a little, so I repositioned him (I carried him like a football) and grabbed the first thing on a shelf I could find to distract him.

That thing happened to be tongs for an outdoor grill. Oops. Those are surprisingly pointy, especially when they get stabbed into your shoulder by a rambunctious 3-year-old.

Cousin Cindy caught up with us by now (I finally stopped running). She said in a smug voice, “What happened to your plaaaannn?” I replied with, “Well, young grasshoppah, the major thing required to being a good parental-esk person is being able to adapt to the current situation and doing what’s best. In this case, my beautiful plan wasn’t going to work, so I had to adapt. And that adaptation was me realizing that sometimes you just gotta grab the kid and act like you’re stealing them. Snatch ‘n’ grab style.”

She gave me a look after I said that, and to this day I’m still trying to figure out what it was. The closet way I think I can describe it is angst mixed with amusement mixed with a teeny bit of constipation. But I could be wrong. I’ll have to ask her later.

Then we loaded everyone into the car and left. Baby Kylie didn’t really do anything…I didn’t pay too much attention to her because she was boring. Cindy says she does tricks, but I have yet to be convinced of that. Sticking your tongue out on command doesn’t count as a trick.

Wait, that’s pretty much the definition of a trick.

Ok, so maybe she does do tricks. But she can’t talk or walk yet. So the tiny baby hobbit is still boring. Fredrico is more entertaining.

I told Cousin Cindy that we should go shopping with the small people more often. She gave me a look, I think it was joy (it may have been horror instead, I’m not sure. The two are easily confused), and said, “Maybe eventually.” I think that’s hairdresser code for “Yes, please! I need an incredibly qualified babysitter to go to the store with me and my small children because my friends are boring and are very under qualified to babysit.”

We’ll see.

Next time I’ll bring squirt guns filled with Mountain Dew.

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