Scene: Marshalls. Approximately 5:15 PM. Tuesday.
Shopping needs: 1 black sweater.
Actors: 1 very loud, very hungry son. 1 very loud, very hungry, very ornery daughter. 1 very crabby baby. 1 very exhausted mother.
Backstory: I’m looking for a black sweater for an upcoming event. Simple enough. We’ve already been to Nordstrom, Anthropologie and Ann Taylor. I realize it is 5:00 and the dinner bell is going off for everyone, including myself. But in an act of desperation (the event was the following day) I decide to swing into Marshalls as a last-ditch effort on the way home.
Act 1, Scene 1, Enter stage left: 3 children and mother browsing clothes.

I pick up a nice blue sweater and check the tag.

Luke: “Oh, mom, that’s fabulous. Buy that, it’s perfect… let’s get out of here!” I had to laugh. I set the sweater down as it wasn’t the right color and moved on.

I pick up a bright tangerine color sweater and place it up to myself and look in the mirror.

Luke: “Ohhhh, mom! That color looks wonderful on you! Now let’s buy that and get out of here!” I realize now what he’s doing. He compliments the next 3 things I touch and suddenly falls to the floor. “MOM….MOM! OH MY GOSH! WILL SOMEONE PLEASE FEED ME, I believe….I believe, I AM DYING!”

Me: “I can assure you, you are not going to die here at Marshalls”

Luke: “That’s easy for you to say. You’re belly isn’t dying inside.”

I notice a lady is standing nearby listening to all of this go down. You see, with my children, when they notice a stranger looking their direction, you can guarantee their voices get louder and they really turn on their wit.

Luke looks up at the lady, “Ma’am, do you have any goldfish in that purse of yours?” She laughs louder and there is a part of me that is dying inside as I try not to chuckle. Laughter only encourages them.

Meanwhile, Eden is gone. She’s in a completely different aisle saying very loudly: “Will someone please feed us, my mom won’t. We will take goldfish, crackers or candy.”

At this moment, Adam decides he doesn’t want to be held any longer so I set him down and he starts following Eden on her goldfish crusade. Luke has managed to find the strength to get off the floor and follows me to another rack of clothes. I’m moving fast and keep promising them we’ll get food.

I found a sweater I like and suddenly realize I have no idea where two of my children have wandered off to. I grab the sweater without checking the size, and follow the loud conversation Eden has struck up with a nice lady in the next row. The lady told her she did not have goldfish. I grab Adam, and ushered Luke and Eden to the front of the store to check out.

Ever shop at Marshalls before? The line is always lonnnnng, but moves fairly quickly. It should also be noted, the checkout area is cluttered with kick-knacs and things for little fingers to break. Adam latches on to this Elmo book that has the (not-so-lovable) furry monster’s annoying laugh screeching with every page he turns. I move forward in the line.

Meanwhile, Luke has struck up a conversation with a man ahead of us about his siblings. Luke: “You see, the first-born is the most well-behaved. See those two over there? *points at Eden and Adam* They are not first-born children. They are what I like to call…’rascals'”. Side note, sometimes my children amaze me with their impeccable wit with complete strangers. The man is laughing so hard. I just eye-roll.

We finally make our way to the front of the line without breaking any of those knick-knacks. We pay. Suddenly, Luke needs to go to the bathroom.

Of course, the restroom is all the way in the back of the store next to the toy area. We maneuver quickly back to the restroom and I’m praying the children do not see the toys.


We step inside the ladies restroom.

Eden: “ohhhhhh, mom! What is that? Why does it smell like poop and fish in here?” Both stalls are currently being occupied and I want to crawl in a hole and die. I shoosh her and she just gets louder. “Mom! I can’t breathe! It smells so bad in here! I think I’m dying!”

A stall opens up and I’m just praying the person who steps out has a sense of humor. She looks at me, I smile sheepishly and usher Luke and Eden into the same stall. As I’m waiting for them to finish, I open up the bag with my new sweater and notice I purchased something 4 sizes too large. Naturally.

We finish in the not-so-rosy bathroom and I stop to find a different size. On normal occasions I would just leave with the oversized sweater in hopes of returning it on a better day…but I really needed it for the following morning, so I take my chances.

I corralled the children back to the ladies clothes area. More groaning about their bellies dying inside. I successfully find a sweater my size and follow back in line. This time, as the children are getting louder and bolder a nice gentleman 5 people in front of me offered for me to cut line in front of him.

Needless to say, while we were quite the comedy act, I believe everyone in the store was ready to see us go.

Lessons of the day: Next time, pack the goldfish.