For some reason I had never shopped for curtains with a preschooler before, but our little guy hadn’t had any special Mama-and-me time in a while. And, he and I were clearly in the way of the actual moving work. So I invited my mother to join us, and off we went.
Five stores, three hours, and an armload of curtains later, here’s what our little boy learned on our trip:
1. Long curtains are the perfect place for you to giggle and hide behind while your mother is standing in another aisle trying to remember how many windows the master bedroom has.
2. Few things in the world are as amusing as the fake windows glowing behind the curtains on display, and you have to pull every curtain aside to lean against the lit windows.
3. Offer to help your mother carry the curtains she’s buying and—even if they slip out of your arms every 30 seconds—everyone in the store will croon about how adorable you are. (“Oh, how I wish I had a young man like you to help me shop for curtains.”)
4. Strike up conversation with anyone you see—the man using a wheelchair, the sales clerk behind the counter, the lady who runs to get your mother a shopping cart because she can see how unprepared she is for this shopping trip. It turns out that every single person you encounter is delighted to chat with you on a Sunday afternoon.
5. Come running whenever your mother calls, unless you’re having too much fun admiring the pink leopard suitcases or the suede ottomans or a speck that might or might not be on the floor.
6. Take it for granted that everyone will know you by first name—if not full name—within 10 minutes of your arrival in the curtain department. (Somehow this is true no matter where we are, and I suspect it has less to do with our child’s charm and more with his independent streak—though he has plenty of both.)
7. When you sense that your mother might be getting a little impatient, put on your most serious face, point at a sign—any one will do—and say, “Know what that sign says, Mama? ‘Don’t play around.’” Then grin and run off.
8. A package of curtains is just the right size to serve as a fake pizza box so you can pretend to be a pizza delivery man. It could also be a hat. The options are limitless.
9. Don’t be surprised if your mother gets home and realizes she was so busy putting the pink leopard suitcase back that she counted the number of windows in the master bedroom wrong and has to go back to the store.
10. Look forward to the day the curtains will be hung at home so you can giggle and hide inside them again.
Of course, when we returned to our house, I realized we have made tremendous progress with our move, but we may have a few days before we can hang any curtains. (But don’t the freshly painted walls look nice? And aren’t you impressed with the handiwork of my husband and two friends who have put everything we own in the house, while leaving room for the painters to work?)
I can almost see the light behind the curtains—and I don’t mean the fake light at the store. I really do believe we may actually live in this house one day soon.
And when we do, we’ll be glad we had Daniel’s help with the window treatments. But I’m pretty sure his biggest treat during the move so far was climbing on the rental truck.