I believe I’ve mentioned once or twice the
tactical warfare sheer parental bliss how much I enjoy clothes shopping with Jane.
Last week, I was
insane privileged enough to try it with both kids. At the same time.
Sunny finally outgrew her shorts this summer, which shouldn’t have been the surprise it was, considering the labels said “3 Toddler” and she’s seven now.
Jane, who outgrows things every Thursday and has apparently developed Ideas about style—without parental permission, mind you—as well as simply . . . developing . . . needed long shorts she could bike in, and better foundation undergarments.*
So after lunch, we headed to Kohl’s and Target, both of which were having sales. They’re also right next to each other, so we parked in the row between them and sallied forth.
Sunny, as it turns out, is still a peanut, something we discovered when she stood up after pulling on the smallest pair of shorts we could find from the 7-16 Girls section and was suddenly wearing them around her ankles. We backed up into the children’s section and, lucky for us, her actual size–5 Toddler, as it turns out—was easy to find. That she really doesn’t care if her wardrobe comes from the discount racks was a lovely bonus.
That took us roughly two trips to the changing rooms and twenty minutes.
The other two and a half hours of our trip was all about Jane and her size, shape, sense of fashion, and sensitivity about all three versus the limitations of my credit limit, my discomfort** over the undeniable fact that my eleven-year old has a cup size, and my Ideas about the amount of room there should be between an eleven-year old and the fabric of her clothes.
Add in one bored seven-year old who was feeling neglected and marginalized while I ran in and out of the dressing room, fetching different sizes for her increasingly frustrated and rude sister,*** and it was not a particularly fun time.
But we lived through it and—with the lack of common sense and short term memory usually found in horror movie victims or party guests in The Game of Thrones—decided to hit the next store.
Again, Sunny was easy—two pairs of leggings, two of biking shorts, and one watermelon-striped sunsuit, no dressing rooms, everything on sale.
Jane, however, had decided during our struggles at the first store that if I had forced her^ to shop for adult sizes, then she would rather die—or put a hit out on me, from her expression—than touch any size other than extra-small or small, regardless of the difference in designs or designers.
Sometimes this worked.
Most of the time, it didn’t.
And while I understood the self-esteem issues that can come with wearing adult sizes at her age,^^ I wasn’t about to buy a twenty dollar tee-shirt that wouldn’t fit her in two weeks or a pair of pants that didn’t fit her now because of a number.
At that point, it wasn’t even the money; it was the horrible thought of having to do this again so soon.
But we survived and I drove the hard-earned spoils of two spoiled kids home,^^^ put up my feet, and kept ’em there until dinner.
And that was that, until yesterday, when my MIL said, “You need to buy Jane more long shorts. Those don’t fit.”
I looked and they didn’t but it wasn’t my fault. “Those are her old shorts. I bought her two pairs of new ones. I’m done clothes shopping for a while.”
“But what about the wedding? Sunny has her Easter dress, but does Janie have anything to wear?”
“I don’t think so.” It dawned on me that I didn’t have anything to wear, because the last fancy-schmancy wedding I attended was in 1998. “It’s on the twenty-first,” I said, shuddering. “We have time.”
“It’s on the twelfth.”
I ran to the calendar. Oh, $#!%.
Guess who’s taking her overexcited pre-teen shopping this afternoon for wedding outfits?
Help . . .
*As in, undergarments with actual foundations built into them.
**Stemming from my memories of being that eleven-year old, at a time when the only bra options for me were of the 18-hour, industrial-grade, blade-seamed, torpedo-cupped, saw-banded kind, with loose-ended straps that would suddenly let go of the clips on one side in seventh grade math class—the class with the hard-of-hearing teacher whose loud questions about why exactly I needed to visit the bathroom ensured that everyone was staring at my lopsidedness.
***And, it might be noted, passing on all suggestions that I buy her costume jewelry, perfume, or a rhinestone-encrusted watch to heal her hurt feelings caused by my lack of parenting skills.
^Presumably through the combined powers of genetics and having credit cards in my name.
^^Boy, do I understand it, and have worked damn hard to keep the body acceptance to a maximum in our house. This was a lot easier once my kids acquired peers.
^^^Yes, that remark was snide and unfair. No, I’m not taking it back.