|Birdie, in front of Ripley's in Baltimore|
Hubby took Birdie to Baltimore to visit the Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum, so that she could refuel her "freaky tank". That child loves weird and interesting facts, and just cannot get enough of the Ripley's Believe It or Not books. So when she heard there was a museum filled with this crap, Birdie couldn't get there fast enough. She made the trip her "30 Days of Awesome" prize (which she earned by having 30 days of good behavior at school and at home), and I have to admit that I was more than a little relieved that Hubby volunteered to take her.
Which left me with Princess, who was in dire need of new sneakers.
Princess's toes were on the verge of popping right out of the end of her gym shoes... which explained why she had been so resistant to put on these shoes for the last three weeks. Funny how it never occurred to her to let me know that her shoes hurt her feet. You would think that would seem like important information to share with one's mother, the buyer of new things. Right?! But alas, it never occurred to my darling, spectrum-y Princess that I would need to know that. Ever.
Apparently, I should already know that.
It did occur to Princess to scream and cry and yell at me everyday that she had P.E. for the last three weeks, however. When it dawned on me that maybe P.E. was not the cause of P's morning anxiety (she's been loving dancing in P.E. recently), I finally thought to check her shoes. Much longer in those sneakers and Princess's toes would have been all broken and bound up like a geisha's. The kid's shoes were a whole size too small! We also determined that Princess and I now wear the same shoe size. Dude-- she's eight! Eight! And we can share shoes! I am officially a Lilliputian.
But I digress...
The real story here wasn't the need for shoes so much as the fact that we had to go shopping for them. Princess is the world's most disagreeable shopper-- when you are shopping for her, that is. She loves to window shop and browse-- she just doesn't do very well when it comes to trying things on. She can't just say something doesn't fit, or doesn't feel good-- she usually has to cry to make that clear. Crying, and then there's usually some yelling thrown in for good measure. And then, of course, the whole store knows how awful things are P-land. It can-- and usually does-- get really ugly. What's worse, if Princess tries on something she dislikes and it really jangles her nerves (because it's scratchy or tight or smelly, etc.), she will hate everything she tries on after that. Even things she would normally like. Possibly even the clothes she wore into the store. It's... challenging, to say the least.
For most folks, shopping-for-Princess trips would be "Xanax and Margaritas"-type events, which can only be endured in oblivion. Others might find themselves contemplating ways to make the trip more pleasant-- like, for instance, having it end in jail time, maybe. I, on this occasion, chose to start the day on a happy note, hoping it would soften the blow of the imminent trauma of trying on shoes.
What better way to begin the day happily than brunch at IHOP, right?! I thought that I had figured out a sure-fire way to make shoe shopping more pleasant. A belly full of pancakes makes me more agreeable, and it usually works on my kids, too. Usually. But the deck was stacked against me last weekend.
|Jean Stapleton, as Edith Bunker|
We made it halfway through breakfast uneventfully, and I was beginning to think that my radar was out of tune, when "Edith" leaned over to Princess and tried to start a conversation.
"How ahhh yaa, honey?" came booming out of this woman's mouth. All I could think was "I haven't even made it to the shoe store yet! Why are you doing this to me, lady?!"
|Princess, and the look that needs no introduction|
Princess crinkled up her face like she had just whiffed the stench of death, and turned her back on "Edith". Not to worry, though, "Edith" was not deterred.
"Ahm talkin' to YOU, honey! How ahhh yaa?! You should an-sahh!" Gee, thanks E.
"Mom. That woman is a stranger." Princess was trying to whisper, I think, but it wasn't working. "Do I have to talk to her?"
"Just say hello and then finish your pancakes," I said, hoping that would be the end of it. I turned to our dining neighbor and said, "My daughter is a little shy around people she doesn't know. It takes her a little while to warm up." I grinned what I hoped was my charming grin, rather than my please-shut-up grin-- I'm not sure I succeeded, but I tried.
"Edith", being ever-so helpful, leaned over to Princess again and said, "Yahh'll nevah make friends if you nevah talk to strange-ahhs! That's how yahh make new friends!"
Princess, in her painfully honesty way, replied "That's why I'm not talking to you. I don't want to make a new friend today."
"Edith" looked appalled at P's response, and her husband looked even more terrified than when I first saw him. She recovered quickly, though, and started to chat with me instead of Princess. It seemed that she and her husband were about to leave, so I decided to endure the chitchat rather than be rude. We chatted for a few moments when "Edith" reached over and patted Princess's stuffed kitty that she'd brought along to breakfast. Poor "Edith".
"Don't touch MY KITTY! I DON'T KNOW YOU!!"
Princess was morphing into her battle form, and I was desperately trying to calm her down. "Shhhhh, honey. Chill out", I mumbled through gritted teeth.
"Edith" cringed a bit at the sight of Snarly Princess, but was not deterred enough to stop sharing what she was thinking. "Yew-ahhr kitty cat has long hair just like my kitties TJ and Miss Magnolia. They look just exactly like yew-ahhr cat."
Princess very matter-of-factly stated, "That can't be true."
"They really do!" assured our gray-haired, syrup-toting neighbor.
Princess couldn't believe what she was hearing, I guess. "It ISN'T POSSIBLE!!! My kitty is a STUFFED! AN-I-MAL! Yours are real. NOT. THE. SAME. WOMAN!!"
I felt myself don the deer-in-headlights look, to prevent myself from bursting out in maniacal laughter. I am pretty sure I witnessed the terrified-looking husband smirk a little too, but I can't be sure. Why exactly had I ignored my radar when we were seated? Fortunately, at this point "Edith" finally gave up small talk with Princess, and at the same time the blessed waitress dropped off her check.
As "Edith" and her husband rose to leave, Princess very loudly exclaimed, "FINALLY! I didn't think she'd ever go home!"
Classy. Why don't you say what you really mean, Princess? *sigh*
|P's new shoes, which she|
refused to model for me
Since I had discovered that Princess could fit my shoes, I figured I could eliminate a good bit of the irritation of shoe shopping for her by trying on the shoes first. If the shoes were too tight, short, or stiff, I wouldn't even let P put them on her feet. We walked into the shoe store, and 25 minutes later, after I had tried three pairs of shoes, and P had tried on two pairs, we left with a brand new pair of Bella Ballerina sneakers. It was that simple.
After all that worry, I felt almost cheated of the drama. Almost.
It occurs to me now, however, that next time we shop for Princess's shoes, I won't be able to try them on first to ease the pain and eliminate drama. By then, Princess will have surpassed my shoe size, and I will no longer be able to cheat the system. I will again have to resort to being the person that receives dirty looks from store employees as my child berates shoe manufacturers everywhere for not consulting her first on how to make a comfortable pair of shoes. My reprieve from shoe shopping drama may be limited to this one event.
So I guess I should thank dear "Edith" for stirring up some drama during brunch... otherwise, this mother-daughter outing would have in no way whatsoever have resembled a Crazy Train outing.