Babies are an incredible gift. They bring with them joy and happiness, an abundance of love, and, usually, a stroller to hang packages on when you’re shopping.

You think I’m kidding, but, in fact, I made sure to keep my children in strollers as long as possible so as not to lose out on that perk. How long? Well with the bigger kids there was never more than a three-year gap so it was easy. The last three had almost seven years between each of them, leaving me many stroller-less years.

But, alas, the shopping-with-a-stroller days are back! That is, if I shop with my daughter, who is now a mother herself; a fun venture, if you ask me. Today, being Chanukah, was one of those fun days. With some time to kill waiting for a ride home, Shyra and I went with her baby daughter and all her baby paraphernalia, and chose to meet up with three of my other kids at a mall in Jerusalem for some fun, holiday shopping.

See, the truth is that five people and one stroller (six, if you count the baby!) doesn’t really work out so well. Everyone has bags, some that they started with, and the stroller only accommodates so much, though I admit I will happily hold the baby so as to make more room for bags, but then I would need to put more of my own bags on the stroller…

Laura Ben-David with her granddaughter

Laura when she ISN’T holding bags

So it happened that, towards the end of our outing, we all went into a clothing store. My 17-year-old son went in to try on a pair of jeans and when he came out, he handed me his shorts to hold as there was no place to hang them in the dressing room.

Since the stroller was rather bogged down with bags, I was still dealing with quite a few of my own, and I can assure you they were making lasting indentations in the creases of my fingers. But the shorts? They don’t take up much space. I tossed them in the basket beneath the baby and continued to rummage through sale items with my elbows so I wouldn’t have to put down my valuable bags (three of which contained, respectively, three slices of cold pizza, a half-drunk bottle of Sprite and a soggy salad).

As we were trying to figure out what to get as the third item in our ‘buy two get one free’ deal (because we were not going to be taken by their schemes, buying something we didn’t really want just to get the deal. By gosh we were going to find something we liked if it was the last thing we did!) we realized my husband was already waiting outside in the car and, anyway, we were in a bit of a rush as well.

I sent Shyra with her baby and my own little one, since it would take longer for them to get situated with car seats and all, while my son and I finished up with our purchases. We took one more look at our choices, settled on a sweater, the jeans and a jacket, and then Ezra went to change out of the jeans so I could pay. Except for one thing: his shorts were in the stroller, with Shyra, on the way to the car…

We just looked at each other and burst out laughing at the predicament. Our laughter intensified when he noticed some items he wished to purchase on his own. With his money. Which was in his wallet. In the pocket of his shorts…

When I could finally control myself I came up with the solution: he took off the jeans in the dressing room and waited in there while I paid. Then I promptly (he says it wasn’t so prompt…) brought the paid-for jeans to him so he could dress. As we prepared to leave the store, Shyra showed up, breathless, with the shorts. She had discovered them while folding the stroller, and was, I believe, somewhat alarmed that her brother might be making his way to the car in his boxers…

Yes, strollers, and the babies who ride in them, are an incredible accessory to have with you in a mall. There’s nothing like hanging your packages on a Mommy Hook, or having a place to stash your stuff while you continue to shop. But perhaps the stroller/baby package should come with a caveat: one adult per customer please.