Saturday, December 20, 2008

Malls, strangers, and shopping with a baby!

This last week E and I (and PC too) have been out and about getting our Christmas shopping done. I have noticed quite a few things in this short time, that I somehow did not realize in my pre-baby days.

For starters... I have a new appreciation for malls. I never really paid much attention to the layout of a mall before, but now that I am pushing around a stroller with a newborn in it... I have discovered that I like some malls a lot better than others.

Take for instances the malls in Ottawa, I was a big Rideau Centre fan when I was working down town, and I really missed it in the last year and half, but with a stroller, I absolutely hate that mall - its 3 levels, has various spots where there is only 2 or 3 stairs, it is not stroller friendly at all! The one time I have been there, PC was with me and we were constantly being road blocked when trying to go to a store. You have to really plan your route out, there is no back tracking to another level when you have a stroller, and having to figure out where all of the elevators and ramps are makes for a very long trip! I have the exact same opinion of Bayshore... 3 levels and retarded! I have come to love St. Laurent and Place d'Orleans... because they are mainly one level... and have lots of room for strollers, and places to stop and calm a screaming baby relax!

For most of my holiday shopping I have been at the St. Laurent mall, and let me tell you it has been an experience. Shopping with a baby is not like shopping with friends or yourself. You basically have a short time frame to get into a store, look around, select items to buy, and get out. Long gone are the days where I will stay in a store for 3o minutes trying to decide should I or shouldn't I purchase something. I basically need to know exactly what I want when I go into a store... and if I can't see it within the first 30 seconds of arriving, I immediately find a sales associate to help me out so I can get in and get out without any baby melt downs.

AND forget trying on any clothes with a baby in tow... change rooms aren't big enough to bring a stroller into, so I have now become the ... 'like it, buy it, try it on at home, keep it or return it' - type shopper!

I find that certain stores have non-baby friendly ambiance. Take for example, Mexx Kids, PC and I were in there looking for an Xmas outfit for E, and the music was PUMPING like it was an MTV dance party... we could barely hear each other, let alone hear ourselves think. We bailed in under 5 minutes, just due to the thumping music. I swear I have been in Mexx before and never noticed their music, but with E in tow and the stress of holiday shopping, it was overwhelming to the point of annoyance.

My final observation at the mall was the number of random people who come and talk to you when you have a newborn. Strangers of all walks of life inquiring about E, his age, his weight, his moods, his eating habits, etc. I was eating in the food court with E in my arms when a woman from three rows over came to 'have a look at your beautiful baby'. I had no problem letting her have a little look, but then she proceeded to stay and chat for 10 minutes about her grandchildren, and how they never were as content and happy looking as E... the conversation went ON for so long that my Thai express yellow chicken curry was cold by the time her husband came over to round her up. Not everyone rambles on for 10 minutes, but a lot of people that would normally pass you by, do stop me and talk when I have E with me.

I will say... in all of my new mall observations, I really didn't think that at only 2 months old I would be out and about with E at any mall, so this has been a feat in itself for me. I think the New Year is looking good for E and I... now the only challenge will be to get my wallet in shape for the workout its bound to get!