At 9:45 a.m., almost everything in the mall is closed, so Jack and Anneliese had free reign of the place. They ran squealing up and down the hallways together. Jack did his strange little dance and Anneliese chased after Jack, trying to tickle him by waggling her tiny fingers in his face. When the stores finally opened we shopped for a bit, and then it was time to go home and make lunch so the wee ones could nap. The mall at Pentagon City is great except for one glaring error - only one floor of the parking garage has a wheelchair (and stroller) accessible entrance. Clearly no mothers were involved in the making of that structure. Courtney and I had to travel up to the rarely seen top floor of the mall so we could exit, and there we happened upon an adorable three-child carousel.
What fun, we thought. How could we not put the kids on the carousel after they had waited so patiently for us to complete our shopping? Just as we were placing the babies on their mounts, a third mother walked up with a toddler, so she joined in the fun. Anneliese and Jack were in heaven. "Look how well they're holding on!" we exclaimed proudly. I snapped pictures as fast as I could. Anneliese beamed at Courtney and me while Jack stared in rapture at the colorful lights. Who knew one dollar could buy so much joy?
|It was the best day ever...until it wasn't.|
Courtney and I glanced at each other, scarcely hesitating before reaching for our coin purses. Within moments the carousel started again, and for another sixty seconds, all was right with the world.
And then, once again, the music stopped.
|The carousel horse, aka Pure Evil.|
It wasn't long after that the screaming began. The other mother, whose child had behaved like a rational human being when the ride stopped, quickly hightailed it out of there. It was clear a scene was coming, and she wanted no part of it. I plied Jack's fingers off the carousel and tried to shove him into his stroller, but he resisted with all the force available in his remarkably strong body. By this point, the shrieks had reached a crescendo, and Courtney and I were doubled over in hysterical laughter. A middle-aged woman walked by just as I was exclaiming, "I have become 'that' mother!" Her glance suggested she was above it all, but I like to think there was a slight knowing smile there, rather than a sneer of derision. Besides, I was laughing too hard to care.
Finally we managed to tie the kids down and wheel ourselves out of the mall. We were both still laughing when we reached the car, and all I could think was how grateful I was to have a friend like Courtney, someone who can laugh at the ridiculousness of it all with me. Soon enough the carousel was forgotten, and we have some truly priceless photos to show for it all.
Then again, it may be a while before we dare return to the horror that lurks on the top floor of the mall.
*Special thanks to Courtney for the title of this post, and for being such a great friend :)