The Just Right Outing

Last week was the week of  ‘no fun’ for toddler. Big girls were finally back to school after the holiday break. Astrid and I spent the week catching up…Target, CVS, grocery shopping, vacuuming, mountains of laundry, maybe some Dora so I could catch-up on email.  I don’t understand why she likes Dora. I miss Gabba.


They always said that the third child gets to go to Target as an outing because when do you have time to take them to the zoo?

So today we went to the zoo. Because I felt we needed to.


Astrid pretty much hated it. We are almost completely done with potty training so outings are a bit stressful. Astrid panicked in the tiger house that she had to ‘PEE NOW!’ and that maybe we wouldn’t make it to the potty.


We didn’t. The tiger house is the farthest building from the bathrooms.


I sure didn’t mind she had an accident.


She minded a lot.


So we left after only 20 minutes at the zoo because truly the gorillas were too scary anyway.


We got her all cleaned up and started the drive home.  We drove by Target on the way home.  Astrid was eating some goldfish(real goldfish) crackers and yelled ‘Mama, there’s Target – can we go there tomorrow?’


But I one-upped her and pulled right into that lot and we took a ride around the store in the big red cart.


We didn’t even buy anything. We just rode around in the cart eating goldfish crackers.


Then she asked if we could stop at the Target Starbucks for Mama coffee and a pink donut. So we did.


Because the third child knows Target and Starbucks by name and thinks going those places is so much better than the zoo.  Any day.


I tend to agree.


So tonight she sat at her sister’s skating lessons for an hour. I thought about how many hours of her life she has sat at lessons. Dance. Violin. Piano. Skating. Theatre.


And it dawned on me that when she really starts lessons, her older sisters will be old enough to stay home alone. And I will sit at these lessons alone. I may bring a Starbucks and read a book.

About Tracy

My name is Tracy Morrison and I live in sunny Minnesota. I'm neither British nor a nun - I'm just a Midwesterner with a headache. This is mainly a humor and lifestyle blog that documents the lighter side of parenting. I am an ex-corporate ladder climber turned freelance writer, social media manager, world traveler, and marathon runner. I would love for you to contact me at

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  1. says

    I can still remember the cold lonely winters when we first moved to Indiana, Addie and I would escape to the toy aisle at Target for hours. We never bought anything, we just enjoyed ourselves.

    • admin says

      Today we were at the grocery store for an hour and only bought milk and bread. We had a blast making up fun dinner idea.

      Also I must get out more. ha!

  2. says

    I have a standing Target date with my younger two while the oldest is at preschool this winter. To the 2 year old, there is no greater adventure than being set free to roam the aisles with me following along.

    On road trips, she is always sure to point out the big red signs by yelling “Tah-GET!” and asking sweetly if I need to stop and get coffee.

  3. says

    Having three children, one of whom is significantly younger than the other two, I can relate to this. Someone once told me that when the first baby’s pacifier drops on the ground, a mother sterilizes it for twenty minutes. But when the third baby’s falls in dog doo, she just blows on it.

    • admin says

      LOL. Isn’t that the truth. My third was eating suckers by four months old. My eldest was four YEARS old before she even knew what a sucker was.

  4. says

    I’m totally with ya! I sometimes feel bad for Justin but then I realize all the wonderful things he has in his older siblings that Ryan (or I) never got. I guess it all comes out in the wash.

  5. says

    This post is really, really great, Tracy.

    I can only imagine the frustration from her end of the potty-training spectrum.

    I’ve totally taken my kids to Target for “an activity,” so I see no reason why that’s not a fully-valid reason. Especially if there’s a mommy-coffee & a pink doughnut involved in the outing.

  6. says

    The nice thing about being the only child at home during the day is lots of Mommy Time. Plus, it’s always easier to bring one child places than three. (I would imagine. I only have one and have always brought her everywhere.) Plus, Target rules!

  7. says

    Oh how I miss those Target runs. I still go to Target more than I should but I don’t enjoy it like I used to with Bean in the cart or walking along holding my hand. Now I’m all kinds of weepy!

  8. says

    a couple of weeks ago as I walked into Target with Brooke she started squealing with excitement and clapping…
    then she squirmed towards Starbucks and pointed to the cake pops…
    She is truly my daughter…

  9. says

    There are benefits to them getting older, aren’t there?

    I am the youngest of four and only girl so I spent a TON of time at the ball fields (baseball, soccer) but as long as I had a Fun Dip or a big pickle, I was good. ;P

  10. says

    I just loved this post and can totally relate. My third loves our Target outings and always asks me to stop there for “a shop.”

  11. says

    Oh poor thing. And yes, the baby does just get drug around a lot huh? My goal is to make the time special for my youngest when my middle goes to kindergarten next year- but we will see if my intentions become action.

    • admin says

      I know – My older kids have been in school since Astrid was born…but yet the girl has only been to the zoo like 6 times

  12. says

    I have only two children. But gorillas are still scary and I sometimes can’t make it to the bathroom in time, either.

    So go, Astrid!

    She knows a good thing when she’s got it.
    (And so do you, Tracy. Hats off.)


    • admin says

      I so tell her that everyday ..” Astrid mommy pees her pants all the’s totally no big deal!”

  13. says

    My babies loves Target–Hyrum picks it over McDonald’s or whatever for lunch.
    Gotta admit, love me some Target myself.

  14. says

    Oh, I loved this until the last paragraph…sad visions of taking Lucy to various activities or lessons & sitting alone…babies, need more babies!!!
    Very well written & so true though! My younger ones really are just thankful to be along for the ride at this point. Getting out of the car-seat to go in anywhere is a BIG plus!! Zoo-schmoo!

  15. says

    Zaid and I will go to Target and just be. Those girls are always oooh tights! socks! underwear! pajamas! nail polish! movies! please please please. But Z? Z just rides and occasionally requests popcorn. We tend to go alone. He wakes up Saturday mornings and whispers (so as not to wake the always still sleeping, pajama loving girls): Mommy? We get in the car? Let’s go. Yes, buddy. Let’s.

  16. says

    The truth of all this just tickles my funny bone.

    Although I have to admit having a girl nearly potty trained is much easier than having a boy almost potty trained. He will happily sit in poop and insist that he hasn’t done anything, rather than get all worked up about it. Forget the forewarning too!

  17. says

    I love that Astrid loves Starbucks and Target. She and Vivian would no doubt be besties. Vivian also knows Starbucks and Target by name, despite being my first (only) child. In my defense, we don’t have a zoo. We don’t have much of anything in WV. Except Target. And Starbucks.

    And color me impressed that you went to Target and didn’t buy anything. How’d you do that?

  18. says

    I love running errands with just my youngest while her sisters are at MDO. We talk, hang out, with no computer, housework, or phone to distract me. I never got to do anything with just 1 child before.

  19. says

    I get so few solo outings with either of my kids, and this makes me wish so much that I could have more. Abbey loves Target. I think Dylan would prefer to find a puddle of mud and roll around in it. Le sigh.