Sunday, February 18, 2007

Shopping and Minor Misfortunes

(This was supposed to be last Thursday's post, but I didn't get to write it then. I'll go back to dissertation posts soon enough, but I don't want to get depressed today. I'm in the D.C. area and I'm going to a wedding with the boys this evening -- I'll let you know how it goes [Keiko - Claytinho's wedding]. I'm by myself with the boys in my brother-in-law's house. BIL is in Brazil with his family, as is my husband, who flew last night, and will be back on Tuesday)

My blogging friend Emily has recently found a good way to indulge in some "retail therapy:" No Cash Virtual Shopping. Well, Em, I'm doing the next best thing (or perhaps, an even better way to do it) -- I've been doing real shopping, not for me, though, for my friend in Brazil!!

This friend has two children slightly older than mine, a son (5 months older than Kelvin) and a daughter (8 months older than Linton), and two years ago she asked me to buy some clothes (mostly turtlenecks and sweatpants) for them and this has become a regular practice now, in every season clearance. "American" clothes (not really manufactured here, though, of course) are better and much cheaper than any clothes that she can buy for her children in Brazil, particularly if purchased at end of season clearances. Last Fall I bought a whole "wardrobe" of summer clothes for them, and now I bought lots winter clothes.

I have a lot of fun doing that, except when I have to drag the boys along in my shopping excursions. This year all it took was 4 shopping trips (two to Kohls and two to the "evil store" [WM] that I feel slightly bad for shopping at, in my desire of becoming "crunchier," but it's an evil that I won't be able to avoid until we have a better budget) for me to buy 24 pieces of clothing for the boy and 31 for the girl. How much did I spend? A little over 200 dollars. I did my first trips to each store by myself, but last Thursday I had to get a few more items from my friend's list before my husband traveled this weekend, so I had to take both boys to the store. The trip to WM was easy because they were going to get some Bob the Bui*lder characters (a set like this, with only the three bottom characters) , but we had some trouble in the rest of the afternoon.

We had some "minor misfortunes" then, most of which involved my oldest boy. First, I stopped at Staples because I needed to do some copies. While I copied, the boys played with their new toys. When I was almost done, though, Kelvin hurt his finger in one of those swinging trash disposal doors. It certainly hurt a lot, because he cried like a little baby... the worse part of when children get hurt is that they ask us to stop the pain, to make it go away and we can't do that! I know it's just the beginning of many things that will go wrong for them in the future and that that I won't
be able to fix.

I had to get a present for today's wedding, so we stopped at Target. The boys complied just because they wanted to eat bread sticks, which we did prior to shopping. Then we headed to Kohls and it was there the the worst part of our troubles took place. I was foolish enough to let them take their new toys into the store. I thought they would be entertained, but I overlooked the fact that they might have trouble sharing them.

While I was looking at some clothes, Linton was asking Kelvin for one of the toys, but Kelvin gave him one he didn't want. Lately, when Kelvin doesn't want to share with Linton, he's just been throwing the toy at his brother. So this time, he put the character on the floor for Linton to take, and kept on running around. Of course Linton didn't want that one and ran after his brother. When Kelvin went back to the same spot less than a minute later (all this while, they were really close to me, just 2-3 clothes' racks away), the character was gone! He called me, and we looked for it everywhere (after Kelvin had ran away from me and I grabbed his coat hood, whose zipper promptly gave away).

All the while, there was this elderly Hispanic lady, who was standing with her shopping cart right in front of the place where he had left the toy, looking at us and beholding our despair and frantic search. When we didn't find it, we gave up for a minute or two so we could cool off, and the lady went away with her daughter. I then thought, well, I have to ask that lady if she saw anything (I can't really communicate well in Spanish, even though I generally understand it, like most speakers of Portuguese do -- they don't understand us, though -- so I didn't try to talk to her when I was so frantic), so we walked around the whole store looking for them and caught up with them at the exit. The daughter (who had a bag over her shoulder with Ecuador woven into the strap -- Alice :) translated my question and the lady mumbled something I couldn't understand and which the daughter translated as "it's among the clothes." We went back and looked everywhere and of course couldn't find it. We were very baffled... and the good thing is that the boys were very good after that and I was able to spend a few more minutes shopping.

Then, after paying for our purchases, I tried to fix my son's jacket's hood, before putting the jacket on him. It has one of those hoods that's zippered onto the jacket, and the zipper had "opened up" the wrong way when I'd pulled it when my son was running from me. While I was trying to get it to open, I yanked at it too strongly and the part that keeps it from falling off broke -- it just flew out with the little moving part (I don't know the names of these things)! I was so upset for ruining the jacket that we left right away and I forgot to put the jacket on my poor boy, when it was freezing cold and windy outside!!

Well, Kelvin (and I) learned several lessons that evening: first, he has to be careful with swinging trash doors; then, he must share toys with his brother and give him the toy that he wants in his hand, not toss it on the ground (particularly not in a public place); and finally, he must not run away from me (that, I know, I must enforce in a consistent manner so it does become a lesson).

Phew... we were pretty frazzled and sad about the lost toy and broken hood zipper when we got home. We weren't more devastated because I had just bought the same lost character the night before (not in a set), so the boys still have it, just not the one from the set (it was a Christmas/winter set, and the characters have "snow" painted on them -- I'm going to use them on top of the birthday cake, that way, if it's supposed to look like snow, I don't have to use food coloring on the frosting, good, huh?).

All right, I have to go... we still need to get a pretty bag for the wedding gifts.

Oh, and "Happy Chinese New Year" for you! Now, with my brother in China, I'm more aware of Chinese life and holidays. :)


Keiko said...

I'm tired just reading it! hehe,
O Zack ainda dá menos trabalho nas compras, mas mesmo assim não é como "sem filhos at all", nunca mais, I guess :-)

Então foi o casamento do Claytinho? Q legal! Eu sabia q ele estava pra casar, nao sabia quando, mande fotos!

Uma produtiva e feliz semana pra vc!


Alice in Austria said...

oh gosh, talk about stressful shopping there ... so sorry for about the lost toy and the jacket. Isn't it a bummer when you finally have the chance to go shopping (which is supposed to be FUN) - and it turns out to be such a disaster. Which is why I try to avoid going out shopping on my own. I either drag dh along (who is soo patient) or my mom (to watch the kids).

Funny about that Ecuador bag, I have just one like it myself and for a moment I was a bit startled - how did you KNOW I had just one like it? ;)

And about Portugese-Spanish - next time just talk to them in Portugese, they might understand you very well after all! dh has no problems communicating in Spanish with Portugese speakers and they reply in Portugese, which he understands as well; this is how he conducts his business conferences when in Brasil... No problem at all! ;)

Lilian said...

Well, Alice, I wasn't thinking that you HAD a bag like that ;) I was just hinting at your connection with Ecuador ;)

I'm sure several Spanish speaking people who are familiar with Portuguese can understand it, but most don't. Believe me, many have even asked me which language I was speaking, and most, if not everyone basically, says they don't understand a word. If I just start speaking with a Spanish accent, though, that changes everything, and all of a sudden they ask me where I learned to speak Spanish!! I could have talked to that lady, I even said "Adonde esta" loudly, but she just looked, stone-faced, but I was a bit flustered to work up my "Spanish" right then...

Aliki2006 said...

Sounds like an exhausting ordeal--I've had shopping trips like that. Hope you're recovered from it all by now!