Tuesday, April 20, 2010

How I overcame mallphobia

Here's an action shot of Max and Sabrina trying on makeup at Sephora. Max went ga-ga for the purple shadow, Sabrina seemed to prefer charcoal, though maybe she's just a leeetle bit young to do the smoky eyes thing.

I used to dread taking the kids to the mall by myself. Max wasn't easy to control, Sabrina would inevitably run off, and I'd get stressed. The one place on earth where people go to aimlessly, brainlessly wander around used to fry me. I am so not that perfectly polished mom who strolls the mall with two kids serenely by her side. I am the frazzled mom who's yelling, "SABRINA COME BACK HERE!" as I struggle to hold onto Max, who only wants to go back to the car.

Last year, I took the kids out to eat sans Dave and overcame restaurantphobia. But mallphobia was a toughie.

Vanity helped me overcome it. This Sunday, I needed to get to Sephora—I am hopelessly addicted to Caudalie skincare stuff—and so I braved it. I also knew it would be a good thing for Max, per what the neurologist said at our last visit: Expose Max to as many new situations as possible. Who'd a thunk it—the mall. Educational.

You know how I was saying yesterday that once Max got past the wig-out stage of getting into Little League, he'd adjust and be OK? I guess I have the same issue, too. Because I was dreading the trip to the mall and fully prepared to get unraveled. Except it turned out to be a really fun trip.

They had a few fancy cars on display and the kids loved checking them out. And no, I did not give in and buy Max a Porsche Carrera.

Then we threw pennies in the fountain, like all the other sucker families.

Then Max dragged me into Abercrombie & Fitch and Brooks Brothers because he spotted purple shirts and I had to keep saying, "These are shirts for Daddy, not Max" although I was tempted to get him one and let him wear it as a nightgown, since as you all know he cross-dresses on occasion. And, yes, I guess I am encouraging him by letting him try on purple shadow and pretending to give him manicures at the nail salon, and I will have to see what the neuro says about that on our next visit, won't I.

Then we went to the Apple store, played computer games and checked out the iPad. I think I'm going to get Max one, along with the Proloquo2Go program for communication.

We had a blast.

And that's how I overcame my mallphobia.

What about you guys—have you had mallphobia? Any other public-space phobia?

Shout out to my sis, it's her birthday today. Max says, "Happy Ur-Ul [Purple] Birthday!" Sabrina wishes you well and would like to know if she's entitled to get presents. You know, to help you celebrate.


  1. It's not so much a "phobia," it's that I have empathy for those around me because my oldest little loudmouth has trouble still with volume control at times. He's getting better and responding to "indoor voice" corrections, but he'll scare the living crap out of you in a hushed environment! So fine dining and library visits aren't in the immediate future...

    I'm glad I'm not the only one here with a crossdresser in the family with a color fixation (hot pink, no less)!

  2. Not even a purple Porsche??

  3. Some research my doctor did on why we need to get out more with our children: http://www.childrensmemorial.org/documents/research-childs_doc-fall07.pdf

    I'm glad you did it. Some days will be harder than others but you have to try.

  4. I remember the first trip to the mall without any help. I was expecting a total disaster, but I was wrong. We loved walking and looking at things. We rode the escalator and jumped on the large bean bags. We put lotion on at the body stores and listened to music at music stores.

    I still love to take the kids to the mall by myself. We just play and have fun. However, if I needed to actually do some shopping, I would never try it alone.

    Getting to the mall is the hardest part for us. Gracie always finds an interesting way to make it not so fun, including her screaming at red lights.

  5. I can do the mall, Target, the park, zoo,...all just fine with the kiddos.

    But church is another story!

    Isaiah is fine with the music and singing, but the minute the sermon begins, he has to add his loud 2 cents! I usually break out into a cold sweat as either my husband or I escort him out. Churchs with a Special Needs ministry/nursery are incredibly valuable.

  6. We recently got Proloquo2go on the iTouch & it's very cool. My son has an iTouch at home and another one at school. I would love the iPad too.

  7. Mallphobia...hmmmm...never thought about it before. I don't usually take Emily to the mall mainly because the mall is usually "me-time" (although I am not much of a mall person).

    We just recently got a wheelchair and I have taken Emily to the mall twice with her chair. The first time was a total disaster. I felt like everyone was staring at us and we might as well have a neon sign over our heads. It was our first real outing with her chair and I could not wait to get back home.

    The second time went much smoother. People still stare at us, but I am not self conscious about it anymore. I just go on with my business. If someone wants to ask a question, great. If they want to just stare at us, let them! Emily is pretty darn cute so I really cannot blame them.

  8. It's the "birthday girl" checking in. Is anyone ever too old to still be called a "birthday girl"? I hope not. Anyhow, glad you had a successful mall outing. Thanks to Max and Sabrina for the birthday wishes and, yes, Sabrina can get a present in my honor. Just let me know what to get for her.

  9. I don't have mallophobia, but I certainly have Sephoraphobia. You are one brave mom for taking kids in there! But I'm a believer in facing your fears and making time for yourself so I'll probably soon follow in your footsteps to get some new makeup with kids in tow!

  10. BTW, the proceeds from the Short Hills Mall Fountain are collected, counted and donated to the United Way of Short Hills and Millburn. I see volunteers counting it monthly in the conference room at my office building and they usually take in about $2,000 per month. You aren't a sucker at all...

  11. Whooooo Hooooo, Ellen! Good girl! BTW.... it's the Ipad the coolest thing ever! There are a few new apps out like PQ2G that are cheaper and pretty basic but good starter ones! Lovin' it!

  12. Marcy, thank you so much for letting me know about that fountain, I feel so much better now! That's great.


Thanks for sharing!

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