Special to the Tribune
My husband and I adopted a family for Christmas this year as a way to pass on a few of the blessings we've enjoyed. So I obtained the name of a family that could use a bit of help, and called the very sweet mom for information.
She was patient, though she must have wondered about my hearing as I repeatedly asked "a what?" "say again?" as she described toys and clothing brands for two girls, 5 and 8, and a boy, 10. We've delivered the loot, nicely wrapped, and I'm sure she's wondering what will come out of those packages on Christmas day!
Once we got "The List," Randy and I headed off to the big box store, hoping to complete our Santa project in one fell swoop. We got it done, but it didn't resemble much of a swoop. More like a drunken elf bungling his way through the toy shop!
First thing in the door, we nabbed some candy canes and packages of peanut butter candy, just to make sure our adoptees start Christmas morning with a good sugar rush.
Then we headed to the little girls' section, and the confusion was immediate. I've never had children, and my husband had boys. So someone needs to tell me why a 5-year-old's sock size is 13, while the 8-year-old wears a 2? After I had accosted a couple of motherly looking women for advice, I managed to come up with a couple packages of socks. That was in the first hour, or at least that's what it felt like!
Meanwhile, Randy guarded the empty carts. I thought he should be useful so I sent him off with the boy's list.
We spent another hour looking for Hello Kitty and Monster Barbie High (don't ask), along with the standard Barbie stuff.
Then we went for the jeans for all three kids. Bootcut, flares, skinny, leggings, tall, short, ...well you get the picture. When I finally located what appeared to be the right size, Randy, like a curmudgeonly old dad, viewed the fashionably ragged-appearing items and said, "We're gonna buy them those old worn out things?" He doesn't know that jeans don't come in "new and blue" anymore, unless they're for old fogies like us!
Through this process, I think I interrupted the shopping trips of no less than five or six mothers with kids in their baskets. "How old is your child? What size does she wear? Does this look like it would fit a 5-year-old? Would an 8-year-old like this?" I got a lot of strange looks, but the security folks didn't come to drag us out, so I guess I wasn't too obnoxious!
The boy was a lot easier. He's athletic, so a tracksuit, jeans and football-related T-shirts were in order. I didn't realize until later that my hubby had tossed in a few extra shirts, so this is going to be one well-dressed kid.
With a huge sigh of relief, we finished our fashion shopping and turned the baskets to where we wanted to go in the first place - the toy department.
Woohoo! We went crazy for Barbies, Lalaloopsie dolls (I'd never heard of those before, either), a baby doll, a few family games and puzzles, a football, little girls' purses, some card games, and my fave, Matchbox cars! Randy raised his eyebrows at the can of Flarp (look it up...) but nevertheless, it made its way into the cart, along with a lot of other stuff I can't remember now.
We finally checked out, and oh yeah, we went way over our budget. But we sure had fun.
Oh, and remember that AWOL wrapping gene? To save the kids from having to find their gifts stuffed into a giant trash bag on the day, I enlisted one of my favorite friends, Andrea, who spent three hours on Saturday wrapping all that loot. Andrea is a math whiz, thankfully, and she informed me that each child had to have the same number of presents. She patiently sorted all those presents to make an equitable pile for each kiddo, including the extra items Randy tossed in the baskets when I wasn't looking. I was so happy, I might even get Andrea a Christmas present. But it'll be in a bag.
And by the way, kids, get ready for a couple of old fogies, because we know what's in your packages, and we're gonna come play at your house on Christmas morning!
Heidi Dahms Foster is editorial manager, non-daily publications for Prescott Newspapers, Inc.