There was no way I could get out of it: I had to take at least one kid dress shopping with me. Maybe even two.
My brother’s wedding was coming up, and I was pretty sure that old yoga pants and a stained tee weren’t appropriate attire. I had to step up my game. A purchase was unavoidable.
I weighed the pros and cons of bringing both kids versus just my youngest, decided to spare my eight-year-old son the sight of his mother in her underpants, and prepared for the task of dress shopping with a six-year-old.
While my daughter was in her much-too-short morning kindergarten session, I pulled on my best nude strapless bra and coordinating bike-shorts-shaper underwear, then packed a bag with water, snacks, crayons, and a selection of coloring books. I hydrated myself, stretched, and arrived at school pick-up with a lunch for her to nibble on in the car on the way to Lord & Taylor.
As I parked the car in the quiet midday lot, I employed the You Can Be My Helper! method of surviving errands with kids, complete with promise of great reward (bribe) afterwards.
Luckily, I already owned sparkly sandals and a collection of accessories to compliment anything I should bring home that day. All I needed was a dress.
How hard could it be? I had a Helper!
The first twenty steps or so that we took into the store were pleasant. Then she started talking. And talking.
And taking her job a bit too seriously.
And excitedly dashing into the high-end designer racks to grab me a $1300 dress with her dirty hands that she thought “is PERFECT Mama!” I discreetly explained that it was at least $1200 over our budget, and steered her towards things more cotton and polyester than beaded and runway-worthy.
Each time she had an opinion, question, or thought something “is. So. UGLY, Mama!” she advised me so in a volume akin to asking the guy next to you at a Metallica concert to stop whipping you with his dirty hair before you clock him.
Very, very loudly.
I “Mmm-hmm”d and “Shhhh!”d her through the entire Ladies’ Section, then, with arms full of long, summery frocks, hustled her into a changing room, where she dumped the coloring supplies and sprawled out on the floor between me and the mirror.
Then the (top-volume) questions began:
“How many dresses are you gonna buy? Are we rich? “
“HAHAHA! Why are you wearing shorts, Mama?”
“Why can’t I say ‘I can see your butt crack” when I can see your butt crack?”
“Why is your back so crumply? It’s like bumpity-bump-bump all up and down and…CRUMPLY, Mama.”
“When I’m 37, will my belly wiggle like that?”
“Why can’t I toot in here? What?? Stop saying what – ‘TOOT’??”
“Are you done yet?”
Covered in sweat, I wrestled through the twenty or so dresses, not realizing that the biggest trend that season was Boxy and Unflattering, while trying my darnedest to patiently dodge the battery of extremely loud inquiries my daughter kept making about my undressed aging body and bank account.
Miraculously, one of the last dresses met all of my requirements: it fit, was breezy, and did not make me look like a vertical loaf of bread.
My daughter did not approve. She had her eyes on a blue striped number that was hotter than an un-air-conditioned whorehouse, so it took about five minutes of deliberations to persuade my pint-sized stylist that I was, in fact, the person in charge here, and we would be leaving with the black-and-white strapless one.
We both went home and had a Nappuccino to recover from the outing.
On the wedding day itself, I shook my head at the memory of how long and laborious it was for me to find a dress with just a single kid in tow. Then my daughter popped on an old dress she borrowed from a friend, and looked so cute she completely stole the show.
I guess I could’ve just worn those old yoga pants and tee, after all.
Have you recently shopped with your kids in tow? How did it go?