Well, apparently my plan of grabbing a few things and his idea was different.
We arrived and I let him roam free for an hour while we checked out the Lego Store and the Disney Store. We browsed Apple (D learned about the kids table with iPads over the weekend while we were in there) and did some window shopping. I bribed him with a snack to get back into the stroller and he was happy enough to fall for it so I started browsing stores for a sweater for myself.
We popped into Old Navy, where D desperately wanted out as soon as he saw the dog and mannequins at the front entrance area. I had to coerce him with my coffee cup to stay in the stroller while I zipped around, grabbed a couple things and went to the fitting rooms. I usually don't take him out of the stroller in there since most stalls have a perfect sized gap under the door for a certain someone to crawl under and dart away. I've had to chase him a couple times, dressed, thankfully, and drag him back into the room. But at ON, they seem to have mothers designing this part of the store and there was no way he was escaping a crack that barely fit his foot (he tried, of course) so I set him loose in there. He found a ball that another child must have brought in there so he happily played while I tried on a few things.
When I was done, I let him walk to the registers. He's fairly decent at staying close, so long as he doesn't get distracted (so, really, he is a runner...) He followed me to the register and I noticed when i picked him up as it was our turn, that he didn't have his ball anymore. I was relieved to not have to be an evil mommy and take it away from him. After we paid for our purchase and loaded him back into the stroller, we left the mall and came home.
As I was unpacking the stroller at home, I found the ball, and a dozen pieces of Lego, hiding in the basket of the stroller. It appears someone swiped them from the stores... I won't point fingers, but I think it was someone about 3 feet tall and weighing around 23 pounds.
Somehow, I totally missed him making a few additions to his toy collections. I'm just glad it wasn't an iPad in the bottom, I would have felt really awkward walking out of the Apple store with the alarms sounding. I wonder if they would even believe me....
Next time, I am going shopping without Mr Sticky-Fingers.