I’m not a big shopper. I find it endlessly tiresome and frustrating, preferring to binge-shop with my lists of needed items in hand (after taking inventory) to alleviate multiple trips. Or shop online. I did roughly 90% of my 2011 holiday shopping online. I can do it efficiently and be cost-effective.
I’ve found venturing out to shop the after-the-season sales and clearance racks, in hopes that the clothing will “fit” the following year, to be extremely worthwhile. Well, that is until one of our kids hits The Major Growth Spurt; then I’m doing all I can to keep that child clothed.
Shopping for clothes becomes more challenging as the child enters teenagedom and has interesting perspectives about what looks good or appropriate. Six-inch platform stilettos, paired with a skirt that comes to just under the bucket and the half-inch-thick padded bra advertising young breasts above the low neckline, communicating, “I want to be more—older, experienced—than I am. Look at me!” on a tween or teenage girl screams a troubling and potentially dangerous message. Pants that hang and are belted below the bucket do not fit, look ridiculously stupid, can be hazardous to walk in, or embarrassing when pooling around the ankles in a mishap, say while going through airport security.
I worry about who kids want to emulate. I’m not raising Barbie dolls, streetwalkers, gangsters, or sheep. I will listen and consider, but have final say-so. Fortunately the big guy and I are on the same page. We hold the purse. We are the parents.
A began her growth spurt, therefore extremely difficult to fit. J needed a few more options for school. So, we went shopping at the mall right after it opened to avoid the crowds. All six of us. Not so easy, especially with opinionated teens.
Store after store, no luck. What H or Mom liked, J or A didn’t. What J liked, Mom didn’t. G? He was like the orbiting sun, happy to be along on this fascinating family adventure.
J wanted to try on those shoes because she wanted to see what they felt like. And I asked her if it was worth chancing turning or braking an ankle and being out for the season. “No!” she said.
However, A slipped into a pair while I was talking to J. “Mom, you’re so short!” My twelve-year-old daughter shared as she towered over me, laughing.
We left and kept moving through the mall. At H’s urging we entered the inner sanctum of the dimly-lit-heavily-atomized-every-five-minutes-store, the one with the loud, pounding music and gargantuan photos that have been relegated to behind the counters because parents of kids wanted the soft-porn images taken out of the store windows. We kept the kids away from the counters…
Mark had been quiet. But I wasn’t worried because I knew he’d come through, and he did. In the back of the store stood my husband with A. Our daughter was wearing a very age-appropriate item of clothing that fit her well, with a little room to grow into.
A was beaming up at her dad. I could hear him tell her about respecting herself; that she was beautiful inside and out, and only becoming more so. What she had on was respectful to her body. He went on, explaining how nice she looked in it and gave her ideas on how to wear it and what to accessorize it with. And I cried because it was a special father-daughter moment not to be intruded on and my daughter was shining form the inside out as she basked in the attention and love of her father.
I’m going to encourage Mark to do more shopping with our daughters. He relates beautifully and compassionately with the girls. His male and father perspective can help to instill and reinforce their self-awareness and esteem as they grow into women.