This afternoon we attempted something just a teensy bit revolutionary: we went to the mall.
Just momma and the three youngest (and most wildly unpredictable) boys, shopping and making returns and standing in line at the food court like normal people.
We pretty much rocked it.
The mall has been verboten as a family activity for years because Jack + little brothers in a busy public place was often a recipe for mishap. Big mishaps.
There were too many variables and too much risk for nuclear meltdown, as well as plenty of siblings to distract mom's attention.
There was also the risk of unpleasantries such as a disastrous public Code Brown (lest we forget about the Walmart shopping trip from June 2010 which is seared into my brain) or a lying-on-the-ground-while-screaming-and-kicking sort of tantrum which has been known to elicit stares and even comments about my parenting shortcomings.
It was yet another activity that typical families probably don't think twice about. I, however, have thought a lot about it. We are atypical in the sense that mall excursions are the source of much planning, trepidation, and stress. And avoidance.
But today I needed to go to the mall. This afternoon I considered my errands and my desire to be able to run them some time other than when I'm paying a sitter. So I loaded the fellas in the car to run those errands, damn the torpedoes! Take that, past negative public outings!
There were a few rocky moments as we navigated the ladies' restroom (a certain four-year-old couldn't wait for the family restroom to open up), the stores, and the slow service at Chick Fil A. I found that a) Jack is a pill about eating waffle-cut fries and actual (non-processed) chicken nuggets (am I sympathetic? I am not), b) gum ball machines are a nice mid-mall stopping place, c) one really shouldn't forget to bring baby's binky, unless one really enjoys keeping the stroller in perpetual motion and doling out snacks at frequent, regular intervals, and finally:
D) It's just a mall, and not so scary. For us, it appears, it's no big deal. Aw yeah.