...until you've taken 5 children (four years and under) Christmas shopping...
...on the last Saturday before Christmas.
Uncle Noy, a surge of Christmas spirit, decided he wanted to spend some quality time with the Co-op kids and scheduled a shopping trip to get them Christmas presents. At first, Amy and I thought he was going to take all the kids by himself and simultaneously rejoiced and cringed at the thought. However, the man is not stupid and quickly clarified that he would like to take them shopping under the direct supervision of their mothers.
A word of advice: Don't preface the trip by saying, "Uncle Noy will buy you anything you want." (We appreciate the thought, Uncle Noy, but this is a rookie mistake. Rookie.)
Actually, in all its craziness, it was kind of fun. Our children have never experienced such freedom in picking out toys. (Uncle Noy was slightly appalled by this--that we would place such Grinch-like limits on our kids. But, as you parents know, it's really hard to justify spending $50 on a toy that is just going to cause sibling/cousin fights and ultimately, get broken. Right? Right?)
At first, they were a little skeptical. But, once we started looking at dragons (from How To Tame Your Dragon), all inhibitions were dropped. Toys were grabbed, thrown in the cart, exchanged for another must-have...lather, rinse, repeat...until, finally, all 5 had chosen the toy of their Christmas dreams.
Most toys were mother-approved. However, someone (ahem...Kate Eddy) managed to sneak a Dora the Explorer umbrella into the checkout line when no one was paying attention. That thing looks innocent enough as an umbrella, but secretly doubles as a club/eye-poker-outer.
Thanks for the generous, fun adventure, Uncle Noy. I think we may have recovered enough by next year to participate again.