The joys of Christmas shopping with children.
We decide on the Mall, as opposed to Target or Walmart, due to the eldest daughters indignant cry of "I'm not buying anything from those places!" (Any item which does not contain a tag embossed with the letters B.C.R.A.E.M.B.O.I.R.E.[characters rearranged for copyright reasons] will not be considered for purchase, even as gifts for others)
We park, and walk through Macys, the youngest wondering off immediately, attracted by the vast array of Nutcrackers on display. Teddy bear Nutcrackers, Nutcrackers as doorstops, Nutcracker goblets, Zac Effron Nutcrackers (ok, I'm kidding, but wow, what a gem of a marketing idea!)
Arriving in the Mall proper, we quickly decide on a plan of action. Andy will take the oldest two to raid the bank, while I wedge myself and the youngest two into the heaving mass of humanity which is Claires.
A little girl is sitting on the chair by the door, waiting to have her ears pierced for Christmas, and as she whimpers in anticipation she is gawped at by people in the line, which is snaking past her and out the shop.
My two youngsters fight over which earrings they are going to purchase for their older siblings. Will it be the bright green turtles? The long dangly ones? The massive hoops? I try to direct them to some tamer displays, but they are not to be moved.
Then we get to the interesting part, where I have to discreetly ask the 10 year old "What do you think your little sister would like from you?" and as she seeks inspiration from the displays of Hello Kitty merchandise, the 5 year old is then asked the same. She is not so subtle. "Would you like this?" She grabs a Kung Fu Panda figure and shoves it under her sisters nose. So much for the element of surprise.
And there is throughout the shopping expedition the continuous drone of children whining "but I want something NOW!" After patiently explaining for the hundreth time that it is entirely possible that Santa will have already got them "this" ( a tinkerbell figure) or "that" ( a belly button ring) I finally snap "If you don't shut up, Santa will not be getting you anything!" and the children leave the store crying.
We eventually exit the Mall, the children clutching their gifts for each other, and I know it is good that they are learning that it is better to give than to receive, but I wonder if the lesson can't be learned just as well using a computer, a mouse and a virtual shopping cart.