Monday, August 20, 2012

Adventures in Home Decor Shopping

This is a tale about a little sensory-overload experience that most people refer to as "shopping".  At my house, we lovingly refer to it as "gambling with disaster".  Shopping at the grocery is bad enough, with all the food samples, and the pretty packages filled with all sorts of enticing yummies for which the kids beg.  Shopping at a home decor store-- now there is a much messier, and totally uncontrollable can of worms to deal with.  Whew-- my PTSD is starting to flare up just thinking about it!

Home decor shopping.  *wince*  Normally, I look for reasons not to go shopping, but sometimes it's just unavoidable-- a means to an end, if you will.  When we recently removed the aquarium from our living room, I got it into my head that it was the perfect time to redecorate our living room walls-- thus, the need for shopping.  Sounds great, right?!  Who doesn't look forward to prettying-up the house a little?!  Shopping with a purpose-- that I can handle.  So, with visions of what my new living room decor might look like, and excitement at the prospect of freshening up the place, I loaded the girlies into the car and we headed to Home Goods.

It had been quite a long time since I had been in the Home Goods store, and quite a bit longer since I had taken my girls with me.  Long, as in I don't think the girls had been there since before they started Kindergarten, but I can't be sure.  And obviously I knew what kinds of things they sold at Home Goods before we went, or else I would have never considered going there to look for pretty wall decorations in the first place.  However, when the automatic double-doors whooshed open, and the blast of cool air hit me in the face, I was instantly in panic mode.  *squealing mental brakes*  Before me was a nightmarish collection of the most sensory-frazzling items I had ever seen in one place.  What once would have been inviting to me with its vast assortment of vases and dishes and furniture, now looked more like a lawsuit-- or meltdown-- waiting to happen.  My eyes were barraged from every angle with glitter, beads, reflective surfaces, glass, roughness, fuzziness, squishiness, and a rainbow of colors.  I could also smell at least three competing aromas, each which would have been pleasant separately, but were just wrong together-- and we had barely gotten in the door!  Yet, even against my better judgment, we continued on.  It seemed too late to turn back then.  What was worse, I could feel Princess and Birdie chomping at the bit to get in there and start "sensing" things.  I lamely told the girls to "stay with me, and don't touch anything!  I mean it!"

I'm sure you can guess how that worked out.

From the moment I issued my ridiculous warning, I was constantly trying to corral the girls and control the mayhem that they were so hellbent to create in Home Goods, while at the same time trying to shop.  It was challenging, to say the least.  You just cannot fully appreciate the mind of a tactile-stimulated child until you see them in one of these sensory overload minefields stores.  They sampled every single product they could find in some way or another-- touch, smell, or taste.  Nothing was off limits to them.

The first thing I noticed was that Princess and Birdie put their tushes on everything imaginable.  Princess stuck mainly to the cushy chairs strategically placed throughout the main shopping aisles, but Birdie was much more adventurous.  Besides the furniture, B also decided to see how it felt to sit on pillows, outdoor doormats-- the really rough ones designed to clean mud off your shoes, shelving, packaged comforter sets, and a travel coffee mug.  No, that is not a typo-- it was really my intent to say she sat upon a travel coffee mug.  In the middle of the store.  Do you hear the circus music playing in the background yet?!

Not only did their little arses test-drive half the store, but they enjoyed other sensory pleasures as well.  Birdie found a fluffy/furry pillow that looked like a former Snuffleupagus, which she really seemed to love.  In fact, she loved it so much that she began rubbing her face in that pillow like a frat boy rubs his face in a stripper's cleavage-- much to the chagrin of the employ who caught her in the act.  Birdie's giggling upon getting busted didn't help matters any.  My giggling didn't help, either.

Princess, on the other hand, was going from one reflective surface to the next, whether it be a mirror, serving tray, or shiny pot.  Every time she saw her own reflection, P would give herself a big kiss and laugh like a lunatic.  She made out with herself at least five different times that I counted.  I would tell her to stop, but it was almost like she was compelled to do it-- like she would explode if she didn't kiss herself in the mirror.  By the last make-out session, Princess was giggling maniacally in that way that says "Mom-I'm-about-to-loose-it-here-but-I-just-can't-stop".  In between make-out sessions, Princess would run around pointing out random items and shriek "LOOK, SISSY-- IT'S SO PRREEEEE-TTYYYYYY!!"  It was a lot to take in with a straight face.

I started to get the feeling that my little train-wreck was freaking out the management at Home Goods.  My evidence was that I was asked so many times if I needed "help finding something" that I lost count.  I was so busy saying "don't touch" or "why are you sitting down AGAIN" or "quit making faces in the mirror" or "why are you licking that?!" (Yep.  Again, not a typo), that help was the last thing AND the only thing I wanted.  Somehow, though, I found it hard to believe that helping me was what the employs were really interested in.  Unless, of course, by helping me, they meant helping me get the hell out of their not-yet-busted-up store.  I finally decided to take the hint, and we left.  If you can believe it, I actually found a little something I liked in the midst of all the chaos, but I was nowhere near finished.

**Just as an aside here-- if you haven't figured it out on your own, kids like mine are why you should wash everything you get at the store before using it the first time!  I would even recommend that you wipe down unframed artwork, as well.  I am told that the paint "feels nice on your tongue, and has a salty taste, too!"  But that's just a rumor.  Ahem-- yeah, rumor.  We're rolling with that.


Since I apparently didn't learn my lesson at Home Goods, Hubby and I took the Crazies to Ikea this past weekend, hoping to finish what I'd started.  Although there was a lot less licking and face-rubbing on this trip, it wasn't without it's highlights.  Both girls decided it was their personal mission to do each of the following things:

  1. Lie on every single bed in the whole store.
  2. Turn on every single lamp in the whole store.
  3. Look in every single mirror.  In. The whole. Store.
It's a very big store.  

In between all of this OCD behavior, Princess and Birdie sang.  Loudly.  And quite often while looking in the mirror.  Using their "rockstar dog stuffies" that they conveniently brought from home, the girls gave a mini rock concert under ever single "spotlight" (lamp) that "Hollywood" (aka Ikea) had to offer.  We got a few strange looks, but by now I am so immune to public humiliation, that I was able to mostly enjoy the show.  They were definitely more entertaining than most of the other kids around-- they weren't being bad or destructive, only different.

The only other little rays of sunshine from Ikea were minor in comparison to Home Goods.  First, I caught Princess holding up her skirt in front of a mirror to adjust her underpants in front of at least 30 people or so.  No biggie.  Then, later, when I was a good 20 feet away from Hubby and the ladies, Birdie loudly declared "For God's sake-- who farted?!  Mom, was that YOU?!"  Classy.  We are that family at the shopping mall.  Aren't you glad we're here to make you feel more normal?!...  Oh, you're so welcome.

To top it all off, I didn't find a single decoration for my living room at Ikea.  I did manage to spend $70 on assorted crap and doo-dads for our home, but got nothing I had expected to get.  Well, that's not exactly true-- I did expect my kids to get all riled up and nutso, and we got that in spades!

I'm thinking that next time I go shopping for the living room decor, I should leave Hubby and the ladies at home.


  1. oh IKEA?? its the worst! i would rather chew my right arm off than go to IKEA most days. i feel for you!

    1. If I thought that arm-chewing would have helped, I'd have given it a go! :)

  2. That was hilarious only because I have been there...first thing I do is pick the most unbreakable appearing item and hand it to the kids, as I am shopping and find a new one we trade it out... The stores hate us too because no matter how hard I try it just doesn't work out sometimes :) FYI one time we were kicked out of a bread company, they bagged up our food and have us some muffins to go... Life with a sensory kid can be so glam!!!

    1. Great idea handing the kids the unbreakable stuff-- wish I'd thought of that when the girls were smaller! Now that they are mobile, I am afraid I would be arming them rather than distracting them! ;)

  3. Oh, Home Goods is waaaaay worse than Ikea, in that it's a jumbled mass of chaos, just begging to be taken down. And thanks for the warning about wiping down/washing anything from Home Goods - I was just about to say that I was going to avoid buying any of their travel coffee cups for the next several months. See ya next week!

  4. Sounds like a boatload of fun! I'm guessing the surveillance tapes show that Princess & Birdie had a blast. ;)


    1. Some security guard at HG had himself quite a laugh, I am sure! If my kids end up on AFV, he *better* split the proceeds with us!

  5. Laughing. My. A**. Off. at the fart scene in Ikea! OMG...thanks for this. Ooops. Really. I'm laughing WITH you! ;P

    Riley LOVES looking at himself in anything the least bit reflective! He usually likes to practice all his "impersonations" which I think are pretty bang on but not everyone is versed in Mario Nintendo 64. Ha!

    I so get the manical laugh too. *shuddering*

    Enjoy what's left of the summer! Di

    1. Ha! Thanks- you too! Summer has just completely slipped away... I begin my new job bright and early in the morning, and the kids start school Monday. Wow!

  6. I guess I am kinda lucky with Abbi being blind and autistic...she wants me to carry her. So, she does not really get into that much, but that 41lb child is is hard to shop and carry her. I also have to do the same thing at the grocery store because she gets scared of the idea of being in the buggy. So by the time I carry Abbi with one arm, grocery shop/push the cart with the other arm...I am wore out when we get home and I get the groceries put away. That is a chore!
    Bless your heart! Even though it was a funny read, I am sure it was not fun at the time.

  7. You've been nominated by moi for an award....woot, woot! Love the blog. Check it out!
    Anissa from Chasing Hailey

  8. love your blog!

    new follower from the melomomma blog hop :)