Monday, January 18, 2010

A boy who knows what he likes.

Last week Liam and I spent an afternoon at the Opry Mills Mall: a never-ending loop of outlet stores that has a magnetic force irresistible to tour buses and old people alike. While we typically try to stay as far away from places like this as possible (especially on weekends), once in a while we too find ourselves pulled in, lured by such attractions as the stage in the kids area at Barnes & Noble, the animatronic hippo outside the Rainforest Cafe, and the Gap-Old Navy-Banana Republic cluster conveniently located near a single exit.

On stage at Barnes & Noble.

Liam and I had a clear goal in mind when we pulled into the vast and endless parking lot: replace the pair of Croc shoes we lost and check out the bookstore. I also happened to be starving (go figure) so we did the unthinkable and parked outside the food court. This was a dicey choice not only because food courts tend to be kind of gross and I was craving something really specific (a bean burrito from somewhere like Baja Fresh with tomatoes and sour cream) but also because I am totally unfamiliar with that side of the mall. We rarely make it all the way over there - my inner GPS would be useless! Unless we found one of those "You Are Here" maps, we could literally wander the wrong way for days.

But once we made our way past the random thugs and smokers outside and were safely inside the food court, I could tell this trip to mall was going to be great. I immediately spotted a Blue Coast Burrito sign (yes! perfect! exactly what I wanted!) and then found myself in line at Subway ordering a 6" turkey sub. No one ever said pregnancy made a girl predictable!

While I ate, Liam eyed the merry-go-round with a new found interest and curiosity. He tried the one at the zoo once a couple of years ago and spent the entire ride crying, "All done merry-go-round! All done!" Ever since, he has been all too happy to watch from the sidelines. Any time we have tested the waters to see if today is the day he's ready to try again, all we get is a cheerful, "No thanks!"

But this day was different. He wanted to go on the merry-go-round. He brought it up. He dragged me over to find out how much it cost. And when we found out it was $2 each, he dug through my wallet until he found four $1 bills. (I actually got to ride with him for free - but I'll take any opportunity for a little math and problem solving!)


He loved it; just like he knew he would.

After the carousel, we set off in the direction I thought the shoe store might be. And wouldn't you know it, I was right! Well, I was right about the location of the store but wrong that it would be a good place to find Liam some Crocs. They didn't carry kids' shoes at all. But, all was not lost. Right next to the shoe store was the hippo at the Rainforest Cafe! And next to that, a Dairy Queen!

If you save $2 on a merry-go-round and an ice cream costs $2...

We sat on a bench for some time while Liam ate his ice cream. Every few minutes, the empty mall train would circle back around and the conductor would lean out his little window to ask us if we wanted a ride. Each time he said it, it was as if he had never seen us before. It made me think that working at the Opry Mills Mall must be a little like living in a fish tank: if you couldn't somehow make the same old things day after day look new and different, you might totally lose your mind. (Fish: Ooh, a treasure chest! Bubbles!! Oh, look! A treasure chest. And bubbles! Wow! I wonder what's going to happen with that treasure chest... Conductor: Oh look! A child who probably likes trains! Do you want to ride the train? I wonder if anyone will ride the train today... Wait a minute! There's a child right there on that bench! Do you want to ride the train?)

When Liam was finally finished, we walked back the way we came, hoping to find the bookstore. Just past the food court, my inner GPS kicked in and I felt confident we were going the right way. We may not have found the shoes we came for but at least we didn't spend hours wandering past Sham-wow kiosks and stores that sell nothing but hats. As far as Opry Mills Mall goes, that is a very successful trip.

But then, just when we were about to turn the corner for Barnes & Noble, I spotted something unbelievable: an entire store selling nothing but Crocs! A Croc shoe outlet! I had no idea such a thing existed.

Liam immediately made a beeline for the shoes he wanted: the exact same pair that he used to have. Well, they were almost exactly the same. For some reason, instead of wanting the pair of shoes that fit him, he wanted the ones that were a size too big. Which in Croc sizes meant they were comically humongous. But he was adamant. He refused to get off the floor until I saw things his way. "But Mama, I can barely walk in those shoes! They feel too crazy! These are the shoes I want. They make me run really fast!" While he never got off the ground to prove his point, I could tell he was lying: no one can run in a pair of Crocs.

While we were sitting on the floor arguing, I overheard the clerk tell another customer that all items under $35 were buy-one-get-one-free. Now that's what I call a win-win!

Not only did we come home with a boat load of matching Croc shoes, we also picked up some of those little letter doo-hickies so we could stick L I A M onto his shoes (dork on dork footwear!). The only problem is, how in the hell do you get those things in?! I am kicking myself for not letting the guy at the store do it for me. At first when he asked me I said yes but then I thought, Really? How hard could it be? I will just do it myself when I get home. Psssh. As it turns out, it is truly impossible.

Yeah right.

I even went online to get help and while that did provide some comic relief, it did not actually help me get the things stuck in the holes. Here's the best answer (as chosen by readers) that I found:
Just don't wear Crocs. They are out and quite ugly. Especially with those little trinkets.
Aren't anonymous people online hilarious sometimes? I love it!

But really, if anyone can help me (saying just stick them in the holes and push down really hard is not actually as helpful as one might think) Liam and I would appreciate it. Shoot, he might even jump for joy!

4T striped pjs on Liam, 3T on his bed, 2T in his drawer...


Anonymous said...

you can't put them straight in, you have to put them in at an angle, and stretch the hole open (sort of like putting a button in a buttonhole that is small but stretchy) Yes, it takes some effort, but no, it's not impossible

No Mommy Brain said...

THANK YOU! i will try again. :)

Katie said...

Love it! And I watched the clip on the Merry Go Round, but my sound is not working, so it was kind of creepy, but not cuz of Liam.
Love the crazy cravings and that you ended up with Subway. I always wanted eggs benedict...seriously!