Time stopped when Baby C was born. In my head, it was still mid-October until a Christmas commercial during Desperate Housewives heralded the truth: December 25 was only three weeks away and I hadn't bought a single present. And lo, it came to pass. On Monday, I bundled up Baby C for our first trip to the mall.
Baby C did fine as I wandered aimlessly about the rows of reduced cashmere, but I started to get overwhelmed. It has been months since I set foot in a mall. Even with all my wits about me, I'm a reluctant shopper. Add a stroller, a baby, and a blank Christmas list, and it's pretty ugly.
Baby C eventually wearied of my indecision and demanded food, so we headed to the Nordstrom's Lounge, which I'd heard was an oasis for breastfeeding mothers. I changed her, fed her, and then tried helplessly to console her. Apparently, the realization that her mommy was a crap shopper was pretty upsetting. Other mothers came into the lounge to change their cherub-like babies, took one look at screaming, red-faced Baby C and backed out as quickly as their Bugaboo strollers permitted.
After three full cycles of the Nordstrom's Christmas music track, Baby C relaxed. I headed to the coffee bar to develop a shopping strategy over a decaf latte.
"That'll be $6.16," chirped the barista.
"Really? That's one expensive latte," I said.
"It's for the latte plus the bottle of water you took," she said.
Sure enough, I had absentmindedly taken a bottle of water from the cooler and put it in the stroller's cup holder. Red-faced, I apologized profusely, paid the $6.16, and high-tailed it out of the coffee bar and back into the Nordstrom's.
That's when the security sirens went off. The barista craned over the counter to see. We both wondered what else I'd tried to steal. Turns out that my cell phone set the alarm off, but the barista didn't look convinced. Baby C looked like she wanted to die from embarrassment.
We went home before I could get into any more trouble, and I reviewed my paltry purchases. For all that time and effort, all I had to show was a latte and a turtleneck from BabyGap. And a bottle of water, of course.