Friday, June 06, 2008

My protege (this post should really be accompanied by a picture of Liam!!)

A couple of weeks ago, we were in London, and Chad went his way to do his thing and I went my way with the kiddos to do mine. And on my way to doing my thing, I decided on the spur of the moment to pull into Antiques at Hyde Park. This is one of those multi-vendor antiques shops/flea markets with dozens of booths. Years ago – I mean, a good ten years ago – this is the kind of place I would go to spend a few hours on a Sunday afternoon to pick up bits and bobs for around the house – casing the entire joint once, then backtracking to compare favourites, and finally going around again to pick up a few pieces. You can get lost in there for hours – it is huge, and simply crammed full of stuff.

Fast forward ten years and add two kids to the mix, and the shopping experience changes. I was on my way to meet someone, so my time was limited anyway – I can’t fully blame the kids for that. Mallory went into the stroller and Liam was on his own two feet with explicit instructions from me not to touch anything without asking me first. Of course, telling him he was not supposed to touch anything was all he needed to hear to decide that EVERYTHING needed to be touched. But only lightly, and with a single finger. Just to see what would happen, I suppose. For the first few minutes I kept reminding him that he was not supposed to touch anything, but clearly that was not effective, and I was just about to save my breath and give up (since he was really behaving very well, blatantly-ignoring-me-aside), when he suddenly started peppering me with questions: “Can I touch this bowl? Can I touch this chair? Can I touch this doll? Can I touch this lamp?” – his words coming rapid-fire as he struggled to keep up while touching as much stuff as possible. Eventually the questions just gave way to running commentary about the things he was touching: “Phone-dresser-plate-cup-wagon-chair…” Mostly he was touching the big clunky furniture pieces and not the respective Ming Vases of the place, and nothing was errantly broken.

I knew the novelty would soon wear off though, and when Mallory saw Liam touching things, she started straining at the shoulder straps to break free from the stroller. So after a breakneck blitz up and down the aisles, we went with two items: a bright yellow old wire egg basket, the type I have always coveted (“What’s it for?” asked Chad. “Umm… I don’t know, I’ll find something to put in it,” I said, and I will… mail? Snapshots? Kids’ stuff? – a use will come.) And second, something Liam chose himself. I told him we were heading for the cash register with my egg basket in hand, and just as I did, he bent down and picked up a pretty little blue tin with red and yellow flowers on it, and asked if we could get it too. And the answer was yes – it will totally look fab in our new kitchen, and it was under $10 to boot. He keeps asking now if we can put cookies in it, but the thing is, it’s only about 6-7” tall and 4” across. (And, I like it for decorative reasons, but the idea of putting foodstuffs in it kind of skeeves me out). So far I’ve held him at bay on the cookie storage front, but Mallory plucked it off the kitchen shelf and took it into the living room the other day, and Liam indignantly returned it – apparently the kitchen designation is non-negotiable.

I do wish we’d had a little more time to spend at the store that night. I was looking at a big old Mason jar full of vintage glass marbles when Liam started doing his pee-pee dance, and I dropped everything to cart him through the warehouse to the cash register to ask where we could find a bathroom, not knowing how much time we had to spare. And after that I never did get back to the marbles, though I have thought about them often since then, a sure sign of non-buyers remorse. I don’t entirely know what I would do with a bunch of glass marbles, but they sure would look pretty.


Mandy said...

shopping just isn't the same with two, is it? LOL Emily has started asking whether we can take certain things home, and I'm finding that in some things we have very similar taste. My poor, poor husband. LOL

If it were me, I'd think a bit longer on the marbles then decide if there was a place i could put them to keep the kiddos from being able to get at and make a hazard or snack out of them. If you have such a place AND still want them, if they are still there it is meant to be. ;)