As soon as I picked her up, I decided to drive to the nearest mall. Our first stop was Barnes and Noble (as I've expected). I followed her lead towards the Harry Potter section. Hey eyes were twinkling as she browsed through the collection of books and memorabilia. Snacks at the small cafe inside this cozy bookstore. She chose our table, the first one in a row with our backs turned away from the line of customers. I bought two cookies as they were sold for half price on the second cookie. She savored the chocolate chip piece while playing with her HP wand with intense fantasy. I interrupted with my camera clicking to capture her innocence.
"Lola, I'd love to see the elegant puppies." Suppressing my real feelings about puppies (or dogs in general) I expressed my eagerness to see them too, by sharing her childlike awe for these cute creatures. Twenty minutes of total admiration for the display, the facial expressions, and their outfits was spent well in this store.
"Do you like DIY yogurt?" I asked encouragingly.
"Not really but I love ice cream. Oh there's the Häagen-Dazs!"
"Ok, we'll have that for our dessert. But first, lunch."
There was not a crowd at the Cheesecake Factory at two in the afternoon so we crossed the mall street.
"I'm in the mood for grilled cheese." Olivia looked hungry as she read the kids' menu. This time I craved for greens and fruits. Fresh OJ matched hers for strawberry lemonade.
As we walked to find our parked car, we passed by It'sOnlySugar store. The bag-it-yourself sampling style of buying was a sure trick for us! M&M's, chocolate covered raisins, and gummy bears all in one bag. I walked faster this time to start the AC in the car.
"Where do we go next, lola?" I looked at my watch and it was past three. I didn't have the heart to burst her bubble. I drove to another mall heading east. As I awkwardly looked for the entrance, a heavy downpour came down from nowhere. Thankfully, a covered parking lot was easy to find.
Leisurely we both walked in to a quiet mall.
"Just lead me to the store you like." It was brave for me to say that.
"I know where Miniso is." Olivia walked confidently.
"Awww, look at all these!' I shared her delight and childlike wonderment which for me lasted only until I saw the price tags. But I wanted to hold on to her joy.
"Lola, is $19 expensive?" I didn't quiet know how to answer her question. So I encouraged her to look more at other sections after we both spent five more minutes squeezing the chubby toys.
"Oh look what I found!" This time, I felt some relief looking at her smiling face. She proudly carried her Cinnamoroll basket and lunch box for her sister as we ran under the canopy to avoid the heavy rain.