The day I snuck into a closet at Barnes & Noble

Before we begin my closet story, I want to thank Debbie M. with McCormick Madness for re-posting my "Did This Old Mother Just Commit A Crime?" on her blog today.  I also want to thank Kris from Pretty All True for discussing my blog on hers and being inspired to writing the lovely post "Loved Into Being" about Mister Rogers after reading my post,"5 Reasons Why Mister Rogers Stressed Me Out". 

I don't often tell stories on my blog, but I just HAVE to share this one.

After I picked up my 6-year-old from school the other day, I told him that we were going to the mall to get his dad a birthday present.  He didn't want to go.  At all.  He said the mall was boring and he wanted to go home to watch Phineas & Ferb.  We went anyway.

I wish I would've just listened to him.

Before setting out to get my husband a birthday present, I took the boys (6 & 2) to the Starbucks inside of Barnes & Noble for some hot chocolate.  My 2-year-old also LOVES playing with the Thomas the Train table in the kids' area.  The plan was to drink our hot chocolate, go upstairs to play trains and pick out a couple of books before officially shopping while skipping, whistling and holding hands.  When we got there, I was all smiles as I lovingly ushered my sons through the line where I allowed them to pick out a little brownie to go with their drinks.

After possibly stealing a chair from the man who spoke no English (I couldn't tell if he was telling me to take it or to fall down a gutter) and adding it to the two-chaired table where my sons sat, we began talking about our day while sipping our hot chocolate and Chai Tea Latte.  I am sure I offered lots of wise advice and made my sons giggle.  Just as I was about to have them recite the entire Periodic Table by heart, my 6-year-old said, "I gotta go pee pee".

Dang it.

Thinking that the restroom was right around the corner, I let them both carry their hot chocolate with them.  We waddled through the other tables like a mother duck and her two ducklings when...


My 2-year-old dropped his full hot chocolate all over the floor.  A businessman jumped away from the mess as if a bomb had exploded.  I apologized to him profusely while checking to make sure his nice wool pants weren't dripping with my son's hot beverage.  They weren't, thank the Lord.

Trying to deal with this as calmly as possible, I just sighed heavily with an apologetic look being offered to all of the retirees sitting around, directed my children back to the counter and informed the barista that there was a Lake Erie-sized brown puddle in the middle of all of the tables.  Following right behind me was an older lady in open-toed sandals and hose with my son's empty cup.
"Ma'am, could you please get this little boy some more hot chocolate?," she asked the barista.  "The poor thing just dropped his and needs some more".
"Oh, no", I told Open-Toed-Sandals-With-Hose.  "He doesn't need anymore.  He'll just drop it again".
"Oh, no, he won't either!  Don't say that about your little boy," she chastised me.  She then bent over to speak to my son in a sweet tone, "We all make mistakes.  When adults put on their coats, sometimes they'll knock something over and just make a mess.  We all make mistakes".

I felt this small.  What type of mother doesn't give her child a second chance?  So, little dude got another hot chocolate.  Meanwhile, my 6-year-old acted like he had just finished off an above-ground pool-sized glass of water and was about to explode like a fire hydrant right there.  I took my 2-year-old's hot chocolate in one hand and held my Chai Tea Latte in the other and we scurried off to the bathroom...upstairs.  I thought it was around the corner, but I was absolutely mistaken.

As we were getting off the elevator, my 6-year-old says to the little dude,
"You hold my hot chocolate.  I need to go pee pee". 
I opened my mouth to tell my 6-year-old to hold his own drink, but Just-Swallowed-An-Above-Ground-Pool-Sized-Glass-of-Water disappeared like the Tasmanian Devil in his tornado state through the bathroom door.  My hands were full, so I just prayed the little dude would grip the cup right.  We slowly walked through the books toward the bathroom.  If you had glanced at us right then, you might've thought we were standing still.  As we rounded the corner to the bathroom FIVE YEARS LATER...


He dropped my 6-year-old's hot chocolate all over the floor. 

By this time, my oldest had finished his business and came out to see the mess.  He immediately went back into the bathroom with my 2-year-old right behind him to get paper towels.  Both of them came right back out with a single paper towel each and started trying to mop up the Lake Michigan-sized brown puddle.  Thankfully, the brown lake was right beside the utility closet.  I didn't want to bother the Starbucks people AGAIN, so I snuck in the closet and got a mop.  Mops don't work great when they are totally dry and stiff, but...I did my best to mop it up.  Actually, I just smeared it everywhere while wailing and ululating at the top of my lungs. 

We then make our way over to the train table.  I let them play for a little while.  My 6-year-old then asked for a book.  A Star Wars book.  ALL HE EVER WANTS ARE STAR WARS BOOKS.  I told him he had to get another type of book, too.  He couldn't find anything else he wanted, so I picked out the bucket book up there.  The basic theme of the book is that we all have "buckets" over our heads.  We fill others' buckets up with nice words and actions.  Our buckets are emptied when people are not kind to us or say things like, "He doesn't deserve hot chocolate.  He'll just spill it again".  When we are kind to others, our buckets become more full while we help fill the other person's buckets at the same time.  I thought it was an appropriate book for the type of day we were having.  After deciding we were going to buy that book and a book about Princess Amidala, I told the boys we had to go to check out, because, for crying out loud, we still had not bought their dad a birthday present yet.

Just after I swiped my credit card at the check-out counter, the 2-year-old darts off out the door.  I sent my 6-year-old after him.  He basically tackled him in the atrium area of the bookstore.  They're being loud. I'm stressing out.  The bucket  over my head was spilling out and soaking my hair.  In the middle of this chaos...


I spilled my Chai Tea Latte right beside the credit card machine.