It is time to go school shopping again. When you have daughters. When you hoped for daughters. When you are thrilled and thankful that you were given daughters. You have fantasies. At least I did. You look forward to them becoming teens. Teaching them to use make-up. You visualize fun shopping trips together and going out for lunch. Having nice chats about their lives. And do you know what? All of those things happen.
And when you're the Mom of the Perpetually Grounded. Sometimes more.
When you pull up at the store everyone is excited and they laugh because they are matching, wearing the really funky big yellow sunglasses they both bought . Or one of them does and the other one gets ticked off and says, "no I was wearing mine first, take them off." And then they argue about it in an obvious way all the way in to the store and in to the restroom where they get distracted by the fact that only one of them has a brush and won't let the other use it until she gives her a hug which results in a mock slap fight which is when you say act your age and the youngest holds up 4 fingers and says, "I'm this many." They then emerge from the restroom with their arms around each other and skip into the store. Ahead of you. While you follow a little behind and smile because you don't really know them but think they are kind of cute.
They pick stuff out and go in the dressing room and they show off their outfits and they look adorable and you smile and tell them so. They come out wearing something a color blind hooker with delusions of actual dress size would choose and you frown (or if you're me laugh) and shake your head no and they roll their eyes and say "why-not?" They beg a little bit and then finally give up when their sister tells them they look like a freak and they have no taste. Or they tell their sister "shut up, I hate you, you suck" and then they give up. Sometimes the middle one will pick out a dress she really loves and it looks nice but kind of "different" on her. You tell her it is a nice dress ...but kind of different. She says she knows, that's why she likes it. When the youngest (the one who was born with no tact) sees it she says, "No. Do not buy that dress. Just don't. It's awful. Mom, tell her, don't let her buy it. Think, she tells her sister, what would Stacy and Clinton say about that dress, they would shame you!" And then the middle one tears up and has a tantrum in the middle of the store, flinging the clothes around, announcing, "I freakin hate her, she's a jerk, you both hate it, fine I just won't get the dress." And you have to take her out in the aisle for a whispered lecture about her mouth and acting her age and then console her and tell her the dress is fine. Because it is. It's just...different. The youngest ( one who was born with no tact) then follows this up with a loud proclamation in the tightly enclosed changing room hall that a skirt she tried on looked "gay". (she didn't mean cheerful) Disregarding the fact that she not only has good friends but a beloved family member who are Gay and that I pointed out to her before that using this as derogatory slang might hurt someones feelings. "But no", she says, "I mean it looks gay", in a special tone meant to explain to me that she meant "gay" in the "I don't like it sense", not the "people who are fine with me" sense. So yeah, Dense and Tactless. So I resort to "just don't talk anymore today, please."
You tell them to head to the underwear section while you grab notebook paper and when you return they are all aflutter because they found cute undies with elephants and peacocks on them. The hold them up and then the youngest says "look, peacocks" and then puts them over your head and at that moment you hear "Hi there" and turn around and it's your neighbor. Luckily the one who has lived next to you a long time and is still willing to speak with you and acknowledge you in public. You make yourself feel better by forgetting she is the neighbor who will talk to anyone, about anything.... forever but she is very sweet so you really don't mind when she stands there for 15 minutes discussing her dogs sensitive stomach and that she ate grass this morning but never did throw up. (the dog that is). You finally get away and somehow have arranged for a play session for the dogs even though you missed that part and don't realize it till she shows up at your house that evening. It may have been while you were distracted by the girls dancing past you wearing polka dotted rain boots with the elastic still holding them together. You let them get the cute underwear even though they are more expensive and are so glad you did when the next day during the middle ones birthday dinner, which includes their dad, your son-in-law and her boyfriend, the youngest tells the middle one to watch how she's sitting in her skirt and the middle one announces "I don't care if you saw them, they are awesome, they have Elephants" and the youngest answers "well I have Peacocks" and then the oldest who didn't even go shopping with you chimes in with, "Oh yeah, well I have Seahorses". And then smiles like she won a contest.
But anyway. Let's return to the store where in typical fashion the middle one finds everything she likes within a half hour. She knows what she likes when she sees it, grabs it up and is good to go. Which may be why she came home with red pants, a yellow and purple floral print skirt, a gray and white plaid dress with ruffles down the front and neon green Converse. The youngest one tries on 50 things and picks out 3. They will be great looking outfits put together with excellent style. 2 of them will be worn once and never seen again. The other will be seen once a week and the rest of the time she will appear in jeans and tank tops.
The middle one is becoming bored and antsy...and a little frisky. She starts riding the shopping cart when I'm not looking, rotated with complaining about how long it takes her sister to find things, telling me she is horrible and she hates shopping with her. The youngest finally makes her small selection informing me that we will obviously have to go to another store because this one has "nothing". We are walking towards the front. I am momentarily distracted by a cute blouse. I hear the words, playfully uttered, I'm going to run you over and turn to see the middle one revving up the cart behind her sister to a good clip just as the youngest stops beside me. And yep. That's when it happens. And the youngest for the Second time in public, that I know of, the first time being in 8th grade math class. LoudlyYells Out.....
you got it.....the F Word .
when her sister rams the cart into the back of her ankle. The middle one quietly says, "I was joking, I wasn't really going to hit you, why did you stop?"
As for me and the circle of elderly people who just happen to be surrounding us, we are aghast. And none of us can escape because they are blocking the aisle. The angry looking gentleman behind the middle one can't get past and the gray haired lady with very red lipstick looks like she would know how to handle this if it were her kid and at that moment I would be happy to oblige her with a new child. Everyone is frozen in place by my kids and it's like a slow mo movie moment. The youngest finally looks up from holding her ankle and nonchalantly scoots off to the side so everyone can get their highly offended selves out of there.
I am a study in the other F word; Flabbergasted. You would imagine after dealing with my oldest, who once went through a period where she refused to wears shoes or wash her clothes and told people to F off if she thought they looked at her funny, I would be immune to this. But no. I am not. All that I can get out of my mouth is "Excuse Me?"
Obviously it is time to go and to top off our trip I am so busy with the under the breath lecture in the checkout line ( in which the one with no tact actually tried to defend herself with the reasoning, "but it really hurt bad" ) that I don't notice it's my turn until the cashier has to call out ma'am several times before I realize he means me. Which the long line of people really appreciated. Even better when the middle one blocked the aisle with the cart again and someone had to say excuse me, ( very snottily I might add, the rudeness of some people, geez ; ) to get past. Oh yes, we were a big hit!
And the youngest actually had the guts to ask, "where are we going next?" when we hit the parking lot.
That would be home.
Forever. Because I'm Never leaving the house again.
Or at least not with them.
Because the youngest one didn't buy anything to wear back to school but two tops......
and some Peacock underwear.
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