We’re in Target, all four of us, me and the kids, because I’m an insane person who doesn’t think to go shopping when two out of the three are in school. I push my cart, with Cian wedged into the front basket, even though he’s grown so big for it he kind of looks like Andre the Giant, if Andre the Giant were to ever try to sit in a Target shopping cart. But when you’re an insane person who thinks it’s a bright idea to take all three kids to Target after two of them have been sitting in classes all day, it’s nice to have common sense enough to at least keep one of them restrained, even if it is with a strap that’s so small the buckle is wedged somewhere inside the kid’s armpit.
So, Insane Mother with her three kids go trudging down an aisle, somewhere between home goods (“MOM. Can I get this?” “No.” “What about this?” “No.” “MOM. Can–” “NO.”) and the toilet paper. And Insane Mother makes the mistake of passing another family’s shopping cart, one that has a giant toy (why?) stormtrooper rising out of it like a beacon of parental doom. And then:
“Mom! MOM!”–this is Cian talking, laughing, even though it sounds more like he’s gasping for air around the fraying red strap that has him pinned against the seat back–“I see the STORMTWOOPAH PEEENIS! Ha! Ha! HIS PEEENIS!”
I keep walking, because I’ve found that if you keep your eyes focused straight ahead of you, you can pretend that the store’s security guard is running toward another insane mother–some other unfortunate soul who forgot to sedate her children before going out in public.
“Mom!” Quinlan is laughing now, giggling, which makes Saoirse, usually the too-cool-for-school one, start cracking up, too. “Cian just said you can see THE STORMTROOPER’S PENIS!”
“Haha! I saw the STORMTWOOPAH PEEENIS!”
And then we’re escorted out.
No, I’m kidding. We walk, as quickly as I can maneuver the braying goats that are my offspring to the checkout line (whereupon I discover that I left my wallet [how?!] in the car, I have to abandon my cart to run all three kids out to get it, it’s now pouring rain, and I may cry). And once I get through that checkout line, amid the stares and whispers and chortles and silent judgment from the people who’ve never wrangled three Star-Wars-and-body-part-obsessed children through a Target, we finally–finally–walk through the door to the gracious, beautiful, (very, very damp) open air of the parking lot.
Cian has a bit of a speech impediment–if you’ve just met…
Saoirse was home sick from school today, which meant no basketball practice for her tonight…