I’m usually pretty good about planning what to do and where to go with my toddler, and that’s because I’m left alone with her a lot. Keeping the toddler entertained and happy all while getting things accomplished is something I’ve learned to plan to the tee.
I need to go to Dick’s Sporting Goods to get a new basketball shirt? I better leave the house by 5 PM and be to the store by 5:30 PM so I have time to find the right shirt and get to the food court next door so Vivi can have some food. And while I’m heading towards the food court, I have to walk along the North side so that Vivi doesn’t see the mall’s playground sitting right there with all its slides and weird obstacles that she loves. Oh, and make sure to sit on the North side in that one corner where Vivi can’t even get a hint of kids giggling and screaming at that playground, at least not until her food is gone.
That type of planning goes into each trip I take with Vivi. Every trip has a purpose and I keep things with me to make sure that I can keep her entertained so I can get the shopping done, and I’m not ashamed to admit that over the past two years I’ve become pretty proficient at it.
Well, this last weekend blew my streak of good luck with Vivi out in public to shreds and I should have seen it coming.
I told Casey on Saturday morning that I needed to go to Barnes & Noble so I could pick out a few books. I had run out of books earlier in the week and I couldn’t find anything I was interested in at any of the local grocery stores. Casey told me she had some sort of party planned with several local girls and that I was on my own for the evening.
That revelation didn’t bother me at all — I just figured that I’d gather the girls up and head out for our Saturday evening the same as I do every Saturday evening when Casey is out of town. At no point did I think, huh. How am I going to sort through books while trying to corral a toddler?
We arrived at the Barnes & Noble and the second we walked through the door, Addie jogged off to the kids’ section of the store leaving me to manage Vivi all by myself. I walked Vivi to the section where I thought the adult fiction books were located and I started glancing through the books on the shelves.
I glanced to my right and I saw Vivi taking books from the bottom shelf and moving them to the top shelf as quickly as she could. I whisper shouted at Vivi to stop messing around the with the books, and she gave me her side eyes look that implies, yeah, I’m not doing anything you tell me to and if you try to stop me I’ll make you pay. I went back to scanning the books on the shelves when I saw Vivi running to different parts of the shelves. She would briefly stop and grab something that looked like a thin book, pull it out of the shelves, and throw it to the ground before she ran on to the next thin looking book.
Yeah, the thin looking books? They were little plastic dividers that divide the sections on the shelves alphabetically and no matter how quickly I moved, I couldn’t get them back in place before Vivi had three or four more onto the ground. It was clear that Vivi was going with the mass destruction option of being a toddler and at that point I gave up.
I grabbed Vivi and went to the information desk and asked the employee to help me find a specific book. The employee took me to the spot where the book was located and I grabbed all of the books that author had written and then headed straight to the kids’ section of the store.
When I got home and told Casey that it was a bad idea to take a toddler to a book store she said, “Duh.”
More on Babble Dad: