Curious Case of Maddie’s Missing Shoes
As many of you already know, Maddie has an interesting habit of kicking off her shoes at the worst possible time. Let’s face it, Maddie has developed potential shoe-loss into an art form.
This morning, Maddie and I were just leaving target when she simultaneously sent both shoes flying. I caught one in the air and had to dig the other one out of basket full of coffee at Starbucks.
No harm done, I stuck the shoes under the cart and headed outside to the car.
About 15 minutes later, we made it home. I grabbed a bag and was just about to take Maddie out of her seat when I noticed her bare feet. As the Madster likes to say, “UH-OH!”
I realized that I had never retrieved the shoes from underneath the shopping buggy. Within 30 seconds, we were making our return trip to Target. I pulled up to the shopping cart area, but our cart was gone – Game on!!
I encountered an exceptionally rude woman at the customer service counter (Big Shocker) and asked her if any baby shoes had been turned in. She apparently had forgotten that I was a customer when she replied – “Nahhhh.”
I took this to mean “No” and decided to track down the shopping cart guy.
He was much friendlier than his co-worker, but wasn’t quite with the program.
I started to ask him about Maddie’s shoes, when he blurted out – “Shoes, right??” This was going to be easier than I thought – But it’s never easy in Jersey City.
He absolutely remembered the shoes, but had no idea what he had done with them. He took me back to Ms. Congeniality at the customer service desk and told her that he had turned to the shoes into her. She practically yelled at him, “Naa-Ahh, no you didinttt!!
I looked at the Shopping Cart Jedi and asked, “Think, where did you first find the shoes?”
We combed the store, he went through trashcans, looked at shelves and kept giggling to himself. Finally, I asked him if he had a little “store-item” drawer where he put random store items.
“Ohhh yea,” he exclaimed – He led us to an empty register where there was a shopping cart filled with a smattering of random items – and SUCCESS!!
Shoes On! Better luck next time Maddie!
Shopping Trip with Maddie Takes Wrong Turn
Some shopping trips with the Mad Madster are better than others and some are downright painful.
Sometimes a series a events collide leading a father to abandon $60 worth of groceries in a store parking lot to deal with his mischievous one-shoed daughter.
There is one grocery store in Jersey City that we shop at for only a few items at a time. The reason for this is that the shopping carts can’t go more than ten feet out of the entrance because they are blocked in by metal barricades. This critical fact seemed to have slipped my mind as Maddie and I were checking out with far too much to carry.
It all started with a BAD checkout. The rocket scientist bagging the groceries only single-bagged a sack containing a 2-liter bottle and some other items with sharp corners. I failed to notice this because Maddie was trying to pull every item off the belt before the cashier could scan it.
I knew I was in trouble the second we got outside where there was a homeless gentleman was asking to carry my bags. I declined his kind offer and set off into the parking lot with a sense of purpose.
We made it about 20 steps when the shopping bag with the the 2-liter bottle blew apart showering the contents all over the parking lot.
For some reason, this sent Maddie into a kicking frenzy. Her right foot scored a direct hit on a second bag blasting it apart with more items showering the ground along with her sneaker.
It’s a party now!
Maddie wants to get down and play in the carnage below and the car is no closer than 100 yards away.
Time to leave the groceries where they were (bye bye Maddie and I said together) as we walked away to get in the car.
Once the Mads was safely strapped in, we drove over to the mess where there was a nice man defending our pile of groceries from some curious homeless helpers.
I thanked him, hoping our adventure was over, but Maddie had more games to share with her dad.
Of course there were no parking spaces near our home, so we had to park across the busy street. We parked and the only shopping bag I grabbed to take upstairs with Maddie was her milk. We took two steps from the car when the one-shoed girl seized the bag and swung it towards her head. I had to adjust quickly, but Maddie had a death grip on the bag. I put her down to free the bag, when she whipped the sack across the sidewalk rupturing the third bag of the young morning.
At that point, there was really nothing left to do but take a few pictures.
Soaring Temps Drive the Madster Indoors
Maddie has been enduring the heat like a champ this week. But the early morning walks and visits to the pool are taking a hit as the heat index flirts with the 100-degree range. Maddie has taken a keen interest in all of the geese in the area, but even the birds can’t compete with a 72-degree air-conditioned room with the shades drawn.
So the challenge now is how to keep an outdoor girl entertained while indoors. As always, trashing and shredding paper ranks high on Maddie’s activity schedule. But bumping her head on multiple surfaces is quickly moving up the list. The baby has also discovered the amazing world of yanking open up cabinets and raiding the contents inside.
We also employed a new strategy of taking Maddie shopping at least once a day. The stores are cool and full of people for the baby to stare at and heckle. These trips also give Maddie a chance to sample new and exotic foods including goldfish and teddy grahams.
What been most impressive through out the week is Maddie’s good nature. It’s obvious that she does not care for the oppressive heat, but she’s not letting it dampen her moods at all. She’s been simply content to fight through the heat and appreciate all the time she is spending indoors.
Let’s Pick Up the Pace Pal
For several months now, Maddie has been what you might call a shopping enthusiast. Each trip to the store is an adventure with plenty of people to stare at and various loose items to yank off of the shelves. So normally when we pop into a store together, it’s high times for the Madster.
Now this isn’t to say that I ever walk into a store empty-handed. I always make sure that I am armed with a formidable array of snacks and goodies in case the baby stumbles upon a rough patch. So we arrived at the store without fanfare and made our way to the baby section.
As I always do, I consulted Maddie from aisle to aisle making sure to keep her in the loop and help me with our purchasing process. However, after just a few minutes, it became apparent that my associate was quickly losing interest in our little shopping expedition.
I tried to keep her engaged, but it was a losing battle. As we turned the next aisle, Maddie started emitting a series of exaggerated sighs. As often happens, I was unable to contain my growing amusement with the baby’s antics. She quickly recognized this and decided that it was time for a standoff. Maddie interlaced her fingers behind her head and leaned back to share her state of overwhelming boredom with me.
I realized this was my cue to pick up the pace and get us checked out. Maddie resumed her theatrics and I made sure she didn’t have to wait too long before we were on our way. But there is no denying that this girl is a true entertainer.
Baby Informs Cashier – We Have Lift Off
The morning started off with such promise. Maddie was smiling ear to ear after her late morning nap. But two days of rigorous travel finally caught up with my little girl.
The fussy bug started gradually, but quickly picked up speed during the early afternoon. Maddie was in the shadowlands arena, she could be entertained in short spurts, but then rolled right back into complaint mode.
This is a very rare occurrence for a girl that nabbed a two-hour nap earlier in the day, but so be it. After her afternoon feeding, we decided to make a coffee run. But even in the car, Maddie’s discontent was on the rise.
As soon as we pulled up to the coffee shop, I got Maddie into her stroller and decided to walk her around the shopping center instead. For the first time all afternoon, Maddie’s mood was beginning to look up. As I wheeled her around the complex, the fresh air was giving her a much-needed boost.
However, once we actually ducked into a nearby grocery store – she started groaning and sighing in fits and starts. The fussy girl was back, but this time she had a trick waiting up her sleeve for dear old dad. As soon as we went to check out, the cashier asked if I had a frequent shopper card. As soon as I reached over to hand it to him, a tiny sock began its lazy ascent right in front of my face. It continued to soar upward before reaching its apogee and tumbling back to earth. You could follow the heads of the people in the store watching the sock like a thunderous home run that was just crushed out of the park.
This was superb entertainment for the cashier, the other shoppers in line and myself. Maddie must have worked her sock to the very tip of her toes before kicking it off and launching it high in the sky for all to enjoy.
My fellow shopper handed the offending sock to me with a huge grin on his face. As I knelt down to put the sock back on Cinderella, she was beaming with sheer delight, obviously very pleased with her efforts. No one said a word, but everyone realized that they were in the presence of greatness.
Lessons Learned From Messy Day at the Mall
With all the mayhem with Maddie at the Short Hills Mall yesterday, a couple of friends reached out to me about the fear factor associated with having a baby. This is when I realized that I left out a few critical components in telling yesterday’s story.
First let’s recognize the obvious points of my poop adventure at the mall.
- It was pretty nasty.
- It was relatively embarrassing.
- It definitely sapped every ounce of energy out of my body.
But believe it or not – there were multiple positives that came from this uncomfortable situation. Spending time with your daughter is an amazing experience even when everything is going to POOP in front of you.
Number One: When you are walking through a public place and the baby is screaming – you are much more focused on soothing the baby rather than the stares that are coming your way. That focus on the child makes this walk of shame much more palatable.
Number Two: Many other parents were very kind and offered words of encouragement as Maddie and I passed by. One guy even stopped and said, “I’ve been there, man.” Another woman held the elevator for me and assured me that things like this happen from time to time.
Number Three: When Maddie and I finally made it to the car – She gave me a big warm smile and fell asleep right there in my arms. There is no feeling that compares to that in the world.
So despite the day’s trials and tribulations, I was practically swimming in my love for little Maddie. No matter what adventures we enjoy or are forced to struggle through together – the love for the baby overcomes all difficult or unsanitary situations – even when you are slugging it out through a poop storm at a mall in Northern New Jersey.
Baby Backdraft Rocks Shopping Mall
Maddie and PaPa had just finished a quick and efficient trip to the mall in Short Hills, New Jersey when things took an abrupt and alarming turn for the worst
We had been in the mall for less than 20 minutes and were already on our way to the car. I lifted Maddie out of her stroller and stopped dead in my tracks – say it ain’t so! The stroller had a long brown smelly stain that could only mean one thing – BACKDRAFT! Backdraft is the name I’ve given to the gravity-defying phenomenon that takes place when poop blows up the baby’s back instead of where it belongs into the diaper.
Much to my dismay, I turned the baby around and the evil gravy had obliterated her shirt! You cannot be serious! Now it’s decision time. At this point, the baby is still happy. Do I risk taking her home covered in the goop or do I risk a trip to the public bathroom? The last time we changed a backdraft, Maddie screamed bloody murder for several minutes. I made the only decision I could – try to clean things up and hope for the best.
One we got into the bathroom, Shakespeare came to mind: “Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war!” It was a nightmare! To date, it’s the worst diaper disaster I have ever encountered. I honestly didn’t know where to start – there were nasty pockets of poop in too many places to count. As soon as I started cleaning up Maddie, she went nuclear, screaming at the indignity and discomfort of it all.
Now it’s a party! Poop, screaming and penetrating stares from fellow shoppers! The only thing that could possibly enhance this experience would be if my baby bag were missing a backup outfit! Yahtzee!!! No backup!
Now what? Just like in the movie Legends of the Fall, I had to wrap Maddie in a bearskin! Well actually it was my fleece jacket, but you get the picture. Now Maddie is really screaming as PaPa rushes through the mall in search of some baby clothes.
Some people are giving me encouraging or sympathetic looks while others are shooting daggers at me – Honey Badger don’t care, she’s just screaming. I rushed into Macy’s and told the clerk, “I need a onesie – Right now would be good!” I laid Maddie down at the register on my jacket and dressed her right there. I’m already doing things I never imagined and Maddie is only four and half months old. I think this parenting thing may take a little more practice.
Undercover Baby Baffles Target Employees
It’s always very entertaining to be out in public with Maddie. Regardless of where we go, my little girl draws the oohs and ahs of those around her.
This morning was no different as Maddie and I enjoyed breakfast at a local diner. People at other tables commented on how cute she was and how much they loved those big eyes.
However, my little Diva flew almost completely under the radar at our next stop. We pulled up into the Target parking lot and I inadvertently chose a deep shopping cart that nearly swallowed up the baby and her car seat.
As we cruised the aisles, it took me a few minutes to realize that Maddie was going completely unnoticed. Normally she plays the role of show stopper at Target – but not this morning. That’s because she somehow blending in with the items around her seat.
As I peered deep into the cart, I could tell that the little girl was struggling to get to sleep. For some reason, the usual soothing motion of the cart wasn’t doing its job. This was my cue to briefly lounge in the sitting area with a nice cup of Starbucks and give Maddie a chance to get settled.
Once she was sleeping again – we resumed our shopping expedition. As I was filling the cart up- it dawned on me that Maddie had achieved full undercover daughter status. Between her car seat and the grocery items – the baby fully camouflaged.
The clerk confirmed this at checkout when I began unloading the cart. I placed a pack of light bulbs onto the counter – and her eyes went wide when she suddenly noticed the baby. She gasped, “Is that your baby?”
“Ummm no, found her in the dairy section, can I keep her?”
“Are you serious, nooo, I can tell she knows you.”
“Guilty as charged ma’am – she belongs to me.”
Maddie rolled her eyes at the clerk as if she couldn’t believe the ridiculousness of the entire exchange. However, I don’t think the clerk picked up on Maddie’s sarcasm because she completed the check out without incident and even allowed me to take the baby home with me.