"After lunch, why don't I take Katie out shopping with me? She needs to learn about buying gifts for others. You can take Julie out with you."
This seemed like a good idea.
First, we went to Sam's Club. I carefully explained to Katie that Santa has to get presents for a great many people, so we can help by picking out presents for Julie and Mommy.
"What about presents for Katie?"
"We can't pick those out, because Katie's here and that's not how Santa wants it done. Then it isn't a surprise."
This entirely logical explanation did not stop her from wanting to buy presents for herself, but it was a good try.
Julie has become fascinated by Elmo, so we've been planning to pick up a variety of Elmo-related merchandise. I knew there was a three DVD set of Elmo adventures at Sam's, so I grabbed that. And I found a lift-and-look Elmo board book that I figured was a good choice. We did not buy the playing cards that Katie wanted, nor the selection of Disney greeting cards.
And then I saw the kit for the gingerbread house. Gretchen's been wanting to make a gingerbread house for years now, but the patterns that her mother used have been sorely misplaced. And there was four pounds of pre-cut gingerbread and assorted decorations.
So I called her to see if she wanted it. She did, so I added it to the cart. This wasn't so much a Christmas present as a Christmas project for her and Katie. :)
We checked out and then it was off to Woodfield Mall, because I figured I could pick up some of the things that I wanted there. Or, at least, I could have picked them up if I could have found a place to park. I was getting ready to give up after roaming the lot for five to ten minutes when I finally found an area of open parking near Sears. What this says about Sears' future retail prospects is left as an exercise for the student.
We walked in past the appliances ("No, Katie, we don't need that stove. No, we don't need that one either."), past the bicycles ("No, Katie, those bicycles are too big for you. No, Katie, those helmets are too big for you."), past the women's clothing ("No, Katie, those clothes are too small for Mommy. No, Katie, those clothes are too big for you. Katie, get out of the middle of that rack of clothes."), and finally out into the mall. Katie insisted on riding the escalator upstairs, which was ok, as we'd eventually get to where I was going.
Except she found the Disney Store. In what was a small miracle of parenting, I managed to get out of the store without buying anything for Katie. I did get two Pooh sleepers for Julie that are really cute and really warm. And I've earmarked the new Roo plush doll for Katie's collection.
Back out into the mall. And then into another toy store. I got out of there without buying anything. Past the women's shoe store. ("No, Katie, Daddy can't buy shoes for Mommy. Mommy needs to buy her own shoes.") And another women's shoe store. (See above.)
Then Katie saw the playground full of children running around and having fun. And she wanted to go there.
"Fine, Katie, but let's get a present for Mommy first."
We got three feet into the store before Katie refused to go further. So we went back to the playground. There was a sign there that said they'd be closing at 2:30 PM for cleaning. Ok, it was 2:15, so that would give Katie fifteen minutes to run around. I got Katie's shoes off her, she headed for the oversized playground objects, and the guard came over to tell me that they were closing now because they were closing at 2:30 PM and it would take fifteen minutes to get everyone out.
This is, charitably, simply insane. And I ended up having to haul a crying three-year-old out of there. Maybe I'm just foolish for believing that 2:30 PM means 2:30 PM.
That pretty much put paid to the rest of the shopping. We headed back through Sears ("No, Katie, that's not a present, it's just an empty box wrapped to look like a present."), back to the car, and then on home.
And, boy, was I tired.
There will be more Christmas shopping in my future.
Possibly even with Katie.
But no Christmas shopping with Katie at Woodfield Mall. Eek!