“Let’s just run to the store super quick…” with all four of the children.

These are the phrases that come out of my mouth, and my brain must be thinking way back to the years when we used to just grab our keys and wallets and run out the door.

“I just have two errands to run, we should be able to conquer that in an hour and make it back before the toddler needs to nap, right?”

Totally. It helps to have complete confidence in your overly ambitious goal before you charge at it head on.

So we committed and began our expedition. After everybody had a snack, ran to the bathroom, found two clean socks, slowly zipped coats, tied shoes, retied shoes, and had a frantic search for the ever missing hat…

“Great.” Mom has to return some clothes because she now only shops online, because of its leisure nature, calming experience, and amazing return policy. We’ll be waiting at the benches with Dad, right outside the store, eating copious amounts of granola bars next to the old man who keeps counting from 1 to 4 as he looks at us.

“I’m done guys. Thanks for waiting. You ok?” I send that last phrase straight to my husband holding all of the wrappers.

“Can we stop at the Disney store?” Small voices inquire expectantly.

Obviously yes. It feels like we’re back at Disneyland every time we stop by there.

The lady in the store stops to talk to us, “Have you heard about the sale we’re having? Oh it’s so nice the whole family can be visiting us today!”

I looked around at the smiling faces of my children and husband and then counted quickly in my head. “Yes, it’s nice to be here, hold on… we’re missing a kid. Noah??”

The whole family together. We were so busy watching the smallest toddler because of that one time he escaped at the San Diego zoo, that we forgot to watch the biggest toddler. Face palm.

We found him; and with a firm grip on both toddlers now, we picked up a discounted R2D2 stuffy, because if that’s what your son wants to snuggle himself to sleep with at night, we are on board.

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We exited the store, nobody was crying. “We’re winning!” We declared, and then it happened again.

Listen for the faint, slightly panicked cry in the distance… “Mama!!”

Yes, Noah was still inside the store. Yes, we absolutely had left him somewhere around Cinderella’s castle display, and yes, we could hear his pathetic sounding cry for us way out in the hallway of the mall. I used to judge parents who had toddler backpack leashes…

Last chore on the list. Find the tall son some new jeans.

I’m forever saying things to him like, “You need new jeans! You look like a homeschooler!” To which he always replies, “I am a homeschooler!”

Jeans that aren’t indicating that a flood is nigh. That’s what we were searching for next.

So let’s paint this picture for you, how one shops for new jeans with three children roaming on foot, and a fourth in the stroller against his will being fed crackers, like a small parrot, by his father.

I quickly rummage through the jean shelf, grabbing 5 styles in size 8. Then all foot traffic members head into the change room together.

Change room is a generous title. Let’s be real, it’s a change curtain, there is no door, thus removing its right to be called a “room,” in my humble opinion.

The toddler can escape underneath the curtain at any point, and absolutely does, followed by screams of “I’m changing my pants! Close that curtain!!” Followed by “It’s ok, nobody’s looking, press on, time’s a ticking!”

Shoes and socks and jeans are flying around and I’m saying things like, “Can you look at his new R2D2 when we’re out of the store? Please?”

The whole while stroller toddler has been chanting “All done, all done, all done, all done!!” I can feel my husband sharing his sentiment, but remaining strong for the cause of the mighty jean hunt of 2018.

Success. One pair fits. We buy the jeans and hit the cold air of the outdoors again.

Oh parenting. If you’re not sweating by the end of most of it, I’m pretty convinced you’re doing it wrong.

Errands completed, jeans bought, all four of the children are travelling home with us. And the toddler falls asleep two blocks from home, obviously. But it’s a peaceful ending.

I often get asked, “How do you do it?”

I feel like now you know… a little clumsily; but with determination, sweat, sometimes tears, and bravery, we keep doing each and every day. And thank heavens, now everybody has pants that fit.

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