The Dormouse, The Caterpillar and I went on a girls only shopping trip last week. This really meant that The KingofHearts really, really, really wanted to see a movie that had just come out which was not appropriate for little girls. I was kind of ambivalent about said movie so instead of ponying up the dough for a babysitter, we dropped him off at the mall for an early showing and we planned on entertaining ourselves by walking around until his movie was over.

This thoroughly distressed The Dormouse, who is patently unable to be left out of anything, so we renamed the "KoH Gets to See His Movie Day" as the "Girls' Day Out" and I promised that "just us three girls" would go shopping and she could buy... cue heavenly light from above and angels singing... now wait for it... AN OUTFIT. Suddenly the plan became completely acceptable to my little fashionista who thinks the world revolves around her. We're nothing if not skilled in the art of rhetoric.

This was all despite my promise to myself that since I'd finished my Christmas shopping, I would not be setting foot inside a shopping mall until January. We will do anything for The KingofHearts, it seems.

But guess what, when you go to a mall early in the morning with no agenda, no hurry, and no shopping list, it actually can be a pleasant experience and not nearly the burning pit of fire and brimstone with Satan regularly shoving pineapples up your hind end that I generally imagine the mall at Christmastime to be. (Except for those
"Can I ask you a question?" nail buffer hawkers - they will always annoy me.)

When you have no expectations and no requirements, you can actually chuckle to yourself when the nasty, older woman standing in the checkout line that now snakes halfway back through the store sighs dramatically and "tsks" out loud when you've oh-so-inconsiderately had to say, "excuse me" to get the stroller by her because there is too much crap stacked in the aisle on the floor. You can even good natured-ly, laugh and say "Well, I'd pick the stroller up and carry it over your head, but I just had abdominal surgery and I wouldn't want to drop it on you." And then go on your way without being incredibly irritated for the next three hours. I'm just sayin'.

We had a nice time walking around. As far as I'm concerned, the only way to attend a shopping mall in the DC area is to go in the morning and leave by noon. December is no different. We made an impromptu visit to Santa because there wasn't a single kid in line, had a snack at the nearly empty food court, took a ride on one or two of the twenty-five cent kid rides (that are now seventy-five cents... what's up with that!?!) and even had a minute or two to stop and make a purchase at Ye Olde Candy Shop where The Dormouse routinely picks the most messy and disgusting of all candy-related options available. This time it had the added bonus of requiring constant input from me throughout the day:

"Momma can you squeeze it up for me... AGAIN?"

Then we went to one of those kids' clothing stores and I let The Dormouse have at it while I tried to steer her into fashion choices that did not make her look like a tiny prostitute looking for a new pimp. The first thing she glommed onto was a dress made entirely with a cheetah print fabric --

"Look momma! It's

Finally, she chose a skit-over-pants combination because a friend of hers at preschool often comes to school sporting that retro look and she thinks it's the coolest thing since
wearing three pairs of neon socks and six SWATCH watches all at once. (She would have soooo been the popular girl at my high school.) Also, because I had managed to convince her that her wardrobe didn't really support putting those separates together.

We met up with the KoH for lunch after his movie was over.
We had a lot of fun and it's probably one of the few times I've been able to give The Dormouse an event aimed just at her since The Caterpillar was born.

I hope she'll remember days like this... but even if she doesn't, I will.