What kind of people go shopping at the mall less than a week before Christmas? The crazy people, that’s who. The people who procrastinate and need last-minute gifts. The people who are a glutton for punishment.
Yes, my hubby and me. And yes, I hate to admit it, but we brought the kids, too. Again, who does that? We weren’t even desperate for gifts. We just wanted to roam the mall for a bit, maybe see Santa, get out of the house on a Fri night.
So we cruised the mall (with the rest of the city), bumped into people, tried not to lose our kids as we swam through the sea of crazed shoppers.
Then we decided to eat dinner at the food court. And now I’ll lay out the scenario.
I was sitting with E, my two-year old, on my lap, A, my four-year old, was sitting on my right, and hubby was to the right of him. My four-year old kept leaning back in his chair. Mall chatter and echoes forced us to yell instruction, continuously, I might add.
“Stop leaning back in your chair. Now. You’re gonna fall and get hurt.”
A few minutes later, with numerous crunched chips on the floor (we are still trying to teach A not to eat chips the way Cookie Monster eats cookies), tons of French fries, and other random bits of spilled food, A was leaning back once again.
Before we realized what was happening, the back legs of his chair were the only two on the ground as he sat with his legs dangling over the sides of the chair, tummy on the seat, front chair-legs high in the air.
I was stuffing my face and dealing with making sure E got enough to eat, when I heard a loud thud and an instant I-just-got-really-hurt-cry.
I shot my head over to see A folded over the front edge of his chair, the back of the chair flat on the floor, with all four of his limbs dangling.
I quickly put E on the ground, scooted my chair back, and rushed to save A.
So did hubby.
He jumped up, and as he bent down to pick A up off the chair, his elbow hit the edge of A’s food tray, (which was conveniently sitting at the very edge of the table) and sent his food flying. I mean, it launched. Hot dog, a dipping cup of ketchup, and a gazillion fries flew six feet into the air before plopping like big, fat, messy rain drops all over the floor.
A girl in a white sweater watched in fright as the ketchup missed her by no more than the length of a French fry.
As the food soared in an arch shaped like a rainbow, I watched it like a slow-motion movie scene.
Oblivious to the food launch, hubby scooped A up, made sure his tummy was okay, and gave him lots of hugs and kisses. He still had no idea the food had gone flying.
When A and I made eye contact, he jumped from hubby’s lap and headed straight to mine. Mind you, at this point, I know he’s going to live. The air wasn’t knocked out of him. He didn’t hit his face on the table on the way down or anything. So while it was completely inappropriate to laugh, I couldn’t help it.
You know that snorting, reverse-loogie-hocking noise your throat makes when you’re not supposed to laugh but it’s coming out no matter how hard you think of something cry-worthy sad?
That noise kept coming out of my mouth. And A would look up. He knows that noise. He gave me the “I’m hurt and scared and embarrassed and you’re laughing??” look. Yes, I was. But I was trying so very, very hard to conceal it. Don’t I get a little credit for that?
Every time that stupid snort came out and my eyes watered, he would look at me and I would have an immediate straight face and ask, “Are you okay, sweetie?”
He would bury his face back into my chest, convinced and reassured that I was not laughing.
Meanwhile, the mess on the floor made the previous mess of chips and fries look pathetic. This was a real mess. A red, potatoey, hot-doggy kind of mess. One that attracts everyone’s attention (which made it extra awesome since it was clear that I was trying with all my might not to laugh).
Did I mention that the food court was as packed as the rest of the mall?
All kinds of eyes were on us and my kid was crying. Hard. And I was laughing (well, sort of). What is wrong with me?
My mind’s still-framed shot of the food launch wouldn’t leave. And then I showed my hubby the mess. He looked at me with huge, questioning eyes, jaw dropped.
“How did that happen?” he asked. “Is that our mess??”
And out came another snort. And then a full-fledged belly laugh.