Today, I took The Boy, The Girl, and The Tot with me to Northbrook Court to (finally!) pick up the photographs from our post-Thanksgiving photo shoot. It was surprisingly empty at around 10:30 a.m. when we arrived and pretty much remained that way until we left around 2 p.m. The Tot spilled orange juice all over his pants and The Girl had a wee accident, so I stopped into Gymboree to buy replacements for both; the sales associate confirmed that it had been slow, but seemed to think that it was too early for crowds.
No problem with me. I was able to get The Boy and The Girl in for haircuts at Snippets with only a short wait (which we passed around the corner at Hanna Andersson, looking for requests [and coming up empty] for the CC girls). We finally made it to the LEGO store at The Boy's request (although he was sad that we did not buy anything -- I told him that he could put it on his birthday wish list). The line at Corner Bakery went quickly, and we had no problems finding a table adjacent to the center treehouse at which we ate our pesto cavatappi (The Tot and The Girl), Santa Fe Ranch salad (me), and kids' PB&J (The Boy).
After lunch, the kids played at the treehouse for close to an hour. I witnessed my first instant-friendship moment that moms of girls have always told me about: The Girl walking around with another little girl who I've never seen before in my life, holding her hand. It was quite cute, actually. At one point, they were deep in conversation about god-only-knows-what. The lady next to me's toddler found my planner and pen while I was distracted by The Tot, who was busy pulling on the mitten strings on someone else's stroller.
But then... then... I have to rant for a bit on holiday rudeness: this woman plopped herself down on the bench that I was sitting on, invading my personal space so that her friend -- who showed some degree of manners by saying that the empty bench she was on was fine (or at least I think this is what she said; they were speaking another language [I would guess Farsi] and I could only judge by body language what was actually said) -- could sit down. This was annoying, but was not worth saying something or ruining my day over, but I ran into her again as I was waiting in the long line at the tiny Banana Republic just off the center court.
She sidled in to look at a sweater on a table just to the left of the one line and then proceeded to stand there with her item as if she was in the check-out line. As there were about 8 people behind me at that point and I found her behavior unaccountably rude, once I realized that she meant to cut in line, I said something to her, loudly: "Excuse me, but I and all the people behind me have been waiting in line to pay. If you want to get in line, it ends back there." She immediately started yelling, saying that she was in the other line, that she had been waiting, that I was lying, etc. Unfortunately, I was irritated and my kids were tired, so I continued the escalation instead of just letting it go. As The Boy said, she was a "liar, liar, pants on fire!" Fortunately, the BR people believed me, told the rude lady that there was only one line, and a manager showed up to defuse the situation. The lady who was in front of us confirmed that I was, in fact, telling the truth, when the rude lady called into question my honesty. What really made me mad about it was when she told me that my behavior would come back to me. I try to let stuff like this go and not harp about it, but it just really rubbed me the wrong way.
At least it ended up a teachable moment for The Boy and The Girl: this is why you use good manners and tell the truth. Even The Boy knew that she was lying as he later told me that Rude Lady had asked him to move over so that she could get to the table with the sweaters.
After that, we left the mall and headed to Glenview in the snow and slush to buy more groceries at Trader Joe's. TJ's was crowded and The Tot was crabby, but the TJ's employees were festive and engaging. One man even brought The Tot a balloon to cheer him up. It took me 45 minutes to get home via Waukegan Road, Dempster, and I-94. And I'm not leaving the house until noonish on Christmas Day, for the long-haul drive to the 'burbs*.
* OK, I might take The Boy and The Girl sledding tomorrow morning. But only if The Dad has the day off to watch The Tot.