My kids are mallrats. Not the teenager kind in the Kevin Smith movie. It’s just that they basically act like rats when they’re at the mall together. Not in a dirty, scavenging way, mind you. Just in a can’t keep up with them, can’t tame them, “I’m never going shopping with them again” kind of way.

Until today, my husband usually met such statements with a hefty degree of skepticism. While he would never admit it, I could see the wheels turning in his head: What the hell is she complaining about? She doesn’t have to worry about bringing home the bacon anymore. She gets to have fun all day long, seven days a week, with the progenitor.

Of course, I would then feel guilty about complaining. This time with Chloe and Sophie is a gift, no? I should be thankful for every moment I have with them, no? A plethora of such platitudes would weave their way through my brain.

A few hours ago, my better half finally had the chance to walk in my shoes. We all went to the mall because the weather was crappy and cold, and I needed to return a skirt I recently bought.

Sophie was in fine form, running around, yapping up a storm (she’s her own best talking companion). Chloe was happy because she got to eat some candy.

We then went to Banana Republic and all hell broke loose. In all honesty, the girls were actually kind of cute. They didn’t misbehave, but they were very much like scampering rats. When presented the chance to go with their papa into the dressing room, they jumped for joy. Literally. How he even managed to try on his pants is beyond me. I stood outside and observed, with not-very-well-contained amusement, the scene playing out in front of me. In and out of the dressing room. Yelling and screaming with glee. Hopping and skipping. Opening and closing the door. You get the picture.

When we got home, my dear, exhausted spouse turned to me and said, “Now I know why you don’t go shopping with them.” And he fell into a deep, deep sleep.

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