Recently, my family and I sojourned in Circuit City. We used the guise of searching out computer printers as a cover for our real mission, which was to be the point-and-stare show for everyone shopping. In these situations, more than almost any other, do I feel the pressure to "perform". I want my children to sparkle, amaze, shine, bless, and even - dare I admit it - shut down all the nay-sayers. I used to be good at this job. When Leah was still small enough to be housed in our arsenal of a stroller I could glibly walk the aisles of department stores knowing that the looks I received were ones of admiration (how does she do it?), respect (look at how well they all behave), and envy (I wish my kids would act like that). Let me tell you something, from experience, humbling always comes... it just depends on how far down you need to go. Eventually we had to release Leah.
This brings me back to Circuit City, and the looks of terror we received as all eight of us clamored into an electronics store filled with highly expensive big-people toys. Needless to say I think everyone in the building knew Leah's name by the time we picked out our printer (which is beautiful). Leah follows the spirit of the law, which translated means she doesn't listen. I can say, "Leah, stay right here" and she hears, "Leah, don't leave the greater Monterey Peninsula." When I blurt, "Leah, stop crawling on the floor!" she registers, "Sweetie, you are so cute as a puppy." Spirited is the polite description for my fourth born.
We finally made it through the checkout, (paying for only the printer!) and out of the building. We stopped at the curb so I could issue the following decree before heading to our van across the street in the parking lot:
Every single one of you must be holding either a hand, shopping cart, or stroller. No one is allowed to step off the curb without holding a hand, stroller, or cart. Period.
I thought I made myself very clear. Leah decided to follow the letter of the law, for once.