After weeks of planning, poring over their website, researching and measuring, I made my list and made the pilgrimage to IKEA yesterday. I call it a pilgrimage because it's on the far side of town, and the massive structure requires as much forethought and planning as a week-long vacation. Especially since I was bringing my toddler with me. To help me with my list and my toddler, I asked my mother to join us. She's awesome that way.
IKEA is kind of amazing. They have genius-designed products that they manufacture as cheaply as possible, and as a result I am finding new ways to organize my home even while I ask myself "Which one of these shelves looks the least like dorm room furniture?" And to me, an organized home is an organized life, and is thus less stressful which makes motherhood just a bit easier. I have yet to understand why they sell fabric by the yard in patterns of stick people kissing, but that's beside the point.
IKEA also makes me laugh -- they're the only retailer the size of an airport located in a suburb with massive McMansions that specializes in showing us how to organize 300 square-foot houses. But hey, they've convinced me that I'm in love with cubbies and bins.
Since they have designed their showrooms and walkthroughs like wandering paths through forests of immaculate retail wonderlands, and purposely make my shopping take 5 times longer than it should, they've thoughtfully included amenities to make my toddler happy: Shopping carts that spin in circles, a cafeteria with fries and meatballs served with jam, a toy area meant to be played in so my son can soil his diaper in front of everyone (which is also thoughtfully close to the restrooms), and random bins of stuffed toys to give him some eye candy while I'm eyeballing bathroom fixtures.
Now that I've figured out their game, and found websites showing me how to hack their products into unheard-of new uses, I came armed yesterday. I spinned my son in the cart, plied him with as many snacks as he wanted (even gum or mints), and most importantly I kept moving. What I ended up with was a fairly well-behaved kid who helped by putting items in the cart for me and was too distracted to throw fits. Heck, he even had a real conversation with the woman behind us in line.