Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Picture this ... Walmart

This morning, started out like many mornings. We ate breakfast.

Once breakfast was finished, we had toddler car races across the kitchen. Then as I tried in vain to clean the kitchen ... the babies chased each other around the center island for 15-minutes ... to the point that they were so dizzy they were toppling over themselves and squealing with glee. Mornings are always fun.

In honor of Flag Day, I dressed the kids in red, white & blue. I had picked up these really cute dresses for the girls last year on clearance and was optimistic that THIS year, they would fit well in an 18-month size.

I was wrong. So terribly wrong.

Our girls can put away more food in a sitting than William can in an entire week. They LOVE to eat. William does not love to eat - unless - it's fresh fruit or animal crackers. Or eggs from the kitchen floor. Yet, whereas William fits comfortably in a size 2T, the girls are still in 12-month clothes. It's obvious they have the metabolism of a whippet - which was most definitely inherited from Charlie's side of the family.

While William's clothes stayed on ... the girls skirts (that I dressed them in anyway), were falling down around their ankles. This posed a problem because once the skirt was gone ... there was nothing preventing them from pulling off their diaper. Or better yet, pulling off each other's diapers.

Now any person with an ounce of sense would know to not put their baby in clothes that are way too big. Not I. Besides, it's Flag Day. And they look so cute. Especially when they are sitting down and their clothes stay put.

I loaded the babies up in the van and took off for the most patriotic of all things to do on this seldom recognized and hardly celebrated of American Holidays. We went shopping at Walmart.

My rationalization for going to Walmart was because Father's Day is just around the corner and I really needed to pick up some cards for the "Dad's" in my life. Aside from that, our diaper supply was dangerously low. And, well ... a trip to Walmart is always a fun adventure ... in a fluorescenty kind of way. (Not really. But, I had to do some shopping and am trying to be an optimist.)

We get to Walmart and I park at the far back of the lot. I was ELATED to see that someone was too lazy busy to push their cart back to the "cart corral" and there was one right next to my parking spot. This is a good thing because it saves me the trip from having to walk away from the van and to the "cart corral" where there are hardly ever any carts in the first place.

Note to self: It is not a bad thing to leave your shopping cart in the middle of a parking lot. Mother's with small children will be enormously grateful. You are not lazy. You are thoughtful and considerate.

Babies are loaded in to their stroller and with one arm I pull them behind me, while I push the shopping cart with the other hand. As we approach the store we get all kinds of looks, stares and comments. I'm pretty use to it, by now. Although, I am amazed at how many canned responses I've got when people say "OH MY GOSH! You've sure got a handful there!!"

(The do's and dont's of interfacing with multiples and the general public will be a posting for an entirely separate day.)

Just as I was walking in the store, I saw the Walmart Photo Center. That's when I realized that it has been a while since we've had *professional* portraits taken of the kids.

Here's some history. We had portraits taken at 3-months ... 6-months ... 9-months ... and at 12-months. That 12-month photo was a nightmare. NIGHTMARE. Had we actually taken the babies when they were 12-months, it probably wouldn't have been so bad. But - because time often gets away from us, by the time we brought them in for their 1-year picture, they were 14-months old, and a whole lot more mobile than they were just 2 months earlier.

As fate would have it, the babies turned 14-months old in December. A week before Christmas.

Now any person with an ounce of sense would know not to bring 3-14 month old babies to a "First Come First Serve" photo studio a week before Christmas. Not I. We were there ... with bells on ... at 9 AM. And much to my surprise - on this lovely Saturday with children running all through the store dressed in red velvet elf suits - the next available sitting wasn't until 6:00 PM.

What's interesting is that the primary reason I was so adamant about having their picture taken on THAT day, was not just because we had FINALLY gotten ourselves to the photo studio, but because the outfit I had intended for William to wear I had picked out especially for his 1-year picture. It was both beautiful and extremely expensive. This was the first time he had ever worn it, and I knew that he wouldn't fit in it much longer.

The photos had to be taken.


Now any person with an ounce of sense would never wait for 9 hours with 3-14 month old babies to get their picture taken. Not I. We headed off to the mall, walked through every single store, introduced the kids to their first hot pretzel, walked some more, lost William's blankie ... found William's blankie an hour later and after lots of screaming ... and went back to the photo study at 5:30 PM.

Just as we were unloading the kids from their carseats ... William had the LARGEST BLOWOUT I've ever seen, still, to this day. It was the kind of blow out that required me to find the nearest Babies R US and get him a new outfit. It was THAT bad.

After all was said and done, we had the pictures taken. The girls looked adorable in pink knitted dresses and William wore an $8.00 ensemble from the clearance rack (as opposed to the $75.00 corduroy overalls he started out the day wearing). And now for the pathetic part. That was 6-months ago, and I still haven't ordered the pictures.

So today, I figured that because I missed getting photos taken at 18-months ... I'd get them taken today. Which, it just so happens - is the day our babies turn 20-months old. What I've learned is that if I try to plan something too much in advance - it will backfire on me. Kind of like the adorable outfits I bought for the girls. My best bet on getting anything done, correctly, is spur of the moment. If something fits now - buy it now. Otherwise, by the time it WILL fit, it will either be the wrong time of the year for them to wear it ... or it will be lost in the closet and you'll forget you ever bought it in the first place.

Hence my rationalization for wanting to get the pictures taken. I'm here. Now. With three kids that are dressed in cute outfits and more importantly ... they are clean.

Unlike our last photo experience, there wasn't a single person in the Photo Center ... except a rather bored looking clerk who was wearing a "Manager" badge and sitting at the counter with a phone to her ear and a huge bag of Ruffles in front of her. I pushed the babies and shopping cart up to the counter and smiled. I didn't want to talk, because it was obvious she was on the phone. But after standing there for a few minutes ... with her not talking ... and me not talking (and three babies starting to get rambunctious), I asked "Are you on hold?" and she said "No. How can I help you?"

Uh. OK then.

"Well, I would like to make an appointment to have pictures taken."

"Sure. When?"

"Well ... how about right now?"

"Sorry, we're booked."

I looked down at her calendar - open on the desk - and the next appointment wasn't scheduled until noon. It was 10:00 AM.

Giving her a funny look and gazing around the inside of the entirely BARREN Photo Center I asked, "You're booked? Right now?"


"But, there's nobody here."


"Alrighty then. When's your next available appointment?"

"Today at 4:00"

"Fine. I'll take it."

Father in Heaven forgive me ... but it took every bit of restraint to not crawl across the desk and smack this idiot lady in the head. I cannot imagine that this woman has ANY idea how long it takes to get three babies dressed and out of the house. Especially when their clothes won't stay on them. Now, instead of getting something done that would probably have taken me 15 to 20 minutes ... I must make every effort to keep my kids clean for the rest of the day so that they can look cute and tidy when I bring them BACK to the Photo Center at 4:00 this afternoon.

In the "old" days ... when I wasn't crazy busy every single minute of every single day ... I probably would have said %^$*&$ Walmart's Photo Center ... I'm going to find another photo studio. But, I know better. By the time I finally get around to finding another studio, booking the appointment, getting everybody ready for the appointment, getting us out the door and to the appointment ... the kids will be heading off to Kindergarten.

I turned my cart and stroller around and took off to do the shopping I had intended. Diapers. Father's Day Cards. More yarn. Of course these items are not right next to each other. That would be way too convienient. Rather, they are spaced at the exact opposite ends of the store, which means I have to navigate through all the aisles filled with brightly colored crap necessities for summer ... while trying to keep our monster stroller in the middle of the aisle and not too close to the sides, or the kids will pull every single item at eye level, off the shelves. Add to that, I was having a hard time steering my cart. It took all my effort to prevent it from knocking brightly colored crap necessities for summer and bags of generic cream filled cookies to the ground.

I finally maneuver my way to the checkout, pay for our goods, and start walking out to the parking lot. On my way, I pass by the Photo Center. My buddy the "Manager" is still seated, chomping on her bag of Ruffles, with the phone pressed to her head. She still isn't talking. I contemplate if there really is somebody on the phone ... or is this some kind of strategy she uses to look busy?

I wonder ...

I unload the kids, unload the bags and notice that one of the wheels from my shopping cart was bent almost completely beneath the cart. No wonder I couldn't steer the ^%*&#^ thing.

It's now noon - and I've got 4 hours before I have to return BACK to Walmart and the Photo Center. This time, I'm going to bring a change of clothes for the kids ... in the off chance they have a colossal breakthrough ... or, the pictures require the kids to be standing, and the girls skirts fall off. So much to consider. A person with an ounce of sense probably wouldn't attempt this. But I suppose with the time I have to *spare* ... I should see about ordering our 12-month photos.


  1. I THINK THEY LOOK GREAT IN THE rED, WHITE AND BLUE. Could not wait to get home to see them.

  2. Jenna-
    How do you get all 3 of them to sit in front of a camera? We just sat for photos and couldn't get Shayna to sit for one second - Please reveal all of your secrets in your next blog entry and don't forget to post the photos!

  3. Oh good old Walmart! I just never have a good experience there especially the much dreaded Photo Studio. Matter of fact, I will be visiting it with Alyssa tomorrow! Oh boy, oh boy.

    I can always rely on your posts to give me a good laugh. Thanks!

    And BTW your kids look absolutely adorable in their outfits. Hope the pictures went well and I cannot wait to see them. (I thought I was the only one in America that dressed my child looking like a flag today)!

  4. What a day!!! Poor mama. And I have done this very same thing with my kids. Yea. What is up with this mommy rationale? But I am glad you are getting the pictures done. Only I prolly woulda told the lady that since no one was here we could just do it NOW. Since everyone was in a good mood it may not have taken long :)

    I think their outfits are ADORABLE! And I know the pics will be cute cute cute!

  5. Hey - maybe that cart was ditched in the parking lot because the lazy person was sick of that bent up wheel! Good luck with those pictures. I'd like to know if you have a trick for getting the three of them to sit still and all look in the same direction at the same time. I've had a heck of a time with my twins. By the way, they turned two in March and I still need to have their photos done. Those cute outfits aren't getting any bigger.

  6. The outfits are darling. Hopefully your pictures will go okay. I'm horrible at getting pictures taken. I bought everyone a new shirt (so we could all be color coordinated) about 3 months ago. Still haven't gotten those darn pictures taken. Maybe someday.

    I know the feeling of getting crazy comments in stores. Although I don't have triplets, I did have four in four and half years. I always get the, "Are those ALL yours?" or "You sure are busy with those kids" or "Someone's been busy". My list could go on. I've just learned to ignore people like that. I love my kids. Yes, we have our crazy times, especially when we're shopping, but all in all they are good kids.

  7. The funniest part about this blog is that you actually had your camera with you at wal-mart, and actually stopped shopping to take a picture!!!