Pokémon and Nipples (Shopping with a Preschooler)

Summertime is here. And that means we must tackle swimsuit shopping; a most daunting and arduous task. There are very few women I know – especially who have birthed children – who look forward to this annual endeavor. And yet, I believe the experience I had in Walmart a couple of weeks ago may actually make your next swimsuit shopping excursion seem almost pleasant in comparison.

See, I actually had the swimsuit already. I just needed the cover up. Surely, I could find a cover up quickly, and it wouldn’t matter at all that my four year old son was tagging along. Should be easy, I said to myself. Ha.

It was easy enough, at first, I suppose. Walmart had a plethora of cover ups to choose from. (Target… seriously. Step up in the cover ups, please.) And as I gathered several in my hands to try on, my preschooler wandered in and out of the racks, almost knocking one over in an attempt to find the perfect hiding place for a Pokémon. All the while speaking only in Pokémon language, of course. Sidebar: Do all four year olds talk for 26 hours a day without pausing for breath?

I was feeling optimistic about my choices and my timeline when I greeted the fitting room attendant and asked for a room. She looked at me and her face fell. She immediately apologized that Walmart didn’t have any maternity swimwear. I squinted in confusion. She then perked up as she had an epiphany and cheerfully pointed me toward the maternity pajama section, I assume as a consolation prize. But for who? It took me a second to realize all this information was for my benefit – and clearly she was pleased to be able to help me in my expectant condition. EXCEPT I AM NOT EXPECTING. And I don’t appear to be. Not even a little bit! Yes, I carried some extra baby weight in my middle section for a while after my first baby, but I kick-boxed that away quite a while ago. Where was this coming from!?

I awkwardly thanked her and stepped into my fitting room, where I immediately evaluated the flowy tank I was wearing, calculated how much I’d spent on it and how many times I’d worn it, and tried to decide if this moment was justification for throwing it away. Or burning it.

Whatever. Back to the task at hand.

Fitting Rooms & Children: Do you dare mix the two?

I was facing the back wall; Oliver was sitting on the far bench to my side. And I was well on my way into changing when the dressing room door opened. Wait, what!? Why is the door opening!? Standing there, hand on the doorknob, is a dumbfounded fitting room attendant and another customer, who was ready to walk into my clearly occupied changing room! The door closed as quickly as it had opened and I took a deep breath and decided not to say anything. It was just a mistake. And apparently, that deer in the headlights situation actually renders your eyesight fairly useless. I couldn’t even identify if it was the same attendant as the one who had stuck her foot in her mouth about my supposed maternity needs.

Deep breath. Back to the task at hand. Again.

I was processing all of the above, putting on the swimsuit, and not paying much attention to the angles of the mirror in relation to the bench where my Pokémon-preschooler sat jabbering away in a made-up language again. Suddenly, his extremely loud four year old yell burst through my bubble of preoccupation.

“I SAW YOUR NIPPLES! Yup! I definitely saw them! You should COVER.THOSE.UP!”

This was NOT a quiet declaration. And the second statement, confirming that he’d definitely seen them, made it even more… hilarious? Mortifying? Both?

I attempted to calm and quiet him as we had a somewhat frantic hushed conversation about privacy and private parts. I thanked him for reminding me that nipples were indeed on the list of parts to keep private.

And I continued on, one last time… at a quickened and exasperated pace. The good news? I found the perfect swimsuit cover up. And now, every time I wear it, I get to relive the trauma I endured to find it. Like a badge of honor.

Who’s ready to go shopping? I’ll chip in for a sitter.

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