Sunday morning, with a lot of snow predicted, I had a coat I'd bought Abba in the wrong size that I needed to return to the mall--a mile away on foot. I thought Barak needed some Imma time so I told him that we were going to go together; I need to return this coat and buy Marika some socks and then, I told him, we can get some ice cream (there is a Ben and Jerry's in the mall). He was happy with this, so when Abba got home off we went.
Marika slept in the snugli the whole way there and the sidewalks were fairly clear, so we walked along, me on the sidewalks and Barak clambering over all available snowbanks, chattering along about pirates, snow, treasure, Lego, Purim and everything else. We got to the mall and--have I mentioned I hate malls? Well I do. I hate them, as in, they make my skin crawl and I break out in a sweat. Literally. I think the last time I took Barak to a mall was... actually I'm not sure he's ever been to a mall, except for the chareidi mall in Jerusalem.
We walked in and the first thing he said was, "Imma, this feels like an airport." I looked around at the vendors set up selling cell phones and earrings and... huh. He was right. But what does it say about us that my kid recognized "airport," but not "mall"?!
Anyway... we returned the coat, which itself took forever, after first standing in the wrong line for way too long. Then I saw they had baby clothes on clearance and stood there picking through 75%-off racks finding pants for Marika. Then I looked at onesies and got some of those, since I had the credit from the coat. Then we paid, which was a project because I didn't have ID (since when do you need ID to buy baby clothes?) and the manager had to be called, etc., and it was another ten minutes. Then we went down the escalators to Old Navy and I started picking out 6-12 month socks (she has big feet). All this time, Barak was the picture of the bored husband--staring off into the middle distance, or politely feigning interest in whatever I showed him. He didn't say much, even though this was taking way longer than anticipated and I was doing a lot of stuff that hadn't been on the original itinerary.
At this point I was really ready to get out of there--I was hot in my coat, the baby was starting to shift, and I wanted to get home. Meanwhile, shoppers were hustling around, kids were screaming, etc., and right next to us there was a child on the floor having a fit and demanding ice cream. Barak and I got on line to pay for the socks. "Barak," I whispered, "you are being a tzadik. You are being so patient. I don't like shopping either but you are being so cooperative with this." We paid, we went out into the main part of the mall and I got him his ice cream. I praised him again for not asking through all of our forays, even once, when he was going to get ice cream. He looked at me in surprise. "You said we were going to get ice cream at the end," he said. "I already knew when we were going to get ice cream so I didn't need to ask."