Cait has finally reached the age where she’s been made aware by friends of clothes labels. I always knew that I was on borrowed shopping time, because this kid came out of the womb with her own sharp sense of fashion style. I’m happy to have gotten away with outlets and discount stores with her for as long as I have, you see, because unlike my daughter I could care less about fashion. I lean more toward ‘if you’re covered, you’re good to go.’
Don’t get me wrong. Just because I could be happy wearing a uniform day in and day out, doesn’t mean that I don’t get people who care about clothes. Or that I don’t have a sense of what looks good. It’s just that with a life full of animals, building projects, and gardening dirt, it’s not worth it to spend a lot of money on expensive clothes that are quickly going to look old before their time.
So when Cait asked if we could go clothes shopping, and then specified that she’d like to go to the popular shops du jour, I sighed a big sigh, clutched my wallet to my breast, blessed myself for mercy’s sake, and said okay.
First, we went to Aeropostale, which Cait pronounced Airo Pastel. I corrected her pronunciation.
“I knew that,” Cait said.
We found a few cute things that were more than I was accustomed to paying for Cait’s stuff, but not outrageous. I said okay.
Next, we went to Abercrombie and Fitch, which I pronounced Finch. Cait corrected me, “Mom, there are no birds flying around here. It’s Fitch.”
“I knew that,” I said.
She tried on a pair of low riders. Only looking at herself from the front, I suggested she turn around and bend her knees, as if she were going to sit. She saw her crack, ah, I mean my point.
“I knew that,” she said, and quickly put the pants back.
Then she found a shirt that she really liked. In an effort to educate Cait on the finer points of comparison shopping, I pointed out to her that this one item totaled as much as the five items she’d just purchased at AeroPostale. She gripped tightly to the shirt, not quite able to put it back.
“Here’s the thing with shopping,” I said. “That shirt is ridiculously over-priced. But sometimes when you really love something that much, it’s okay to splurge because you’re going to feel great every time you put it on.” I looked at Cait, “The question is: Do you love it that much?”
“I’m not sure…,” Cait said.
“Okay, then what we do is look at a couple of other stores to see if we can find this or something similar at a better price. If we can’t, and you decide you really love this shirt, we’ll come back and buy it.”
Relieved that I understood her dilemma and wasn’t just going to be reflexively cheap, Cait’s face broke into a wide smile. She grabbed my hand as we walked out of the store and said, “This is fun, Mom. I’m glad you’re here.”
Next on her list was American Eagle. We quickly found a shirt close enough in looks for a third of the price, and a valuable shopping lesson was learned.
On the way out, she asked, “What do you think of this tankini?”
I went to the next table and said, “I like this tank-tini better.”
“Mom, it’s tankini, not tank-tini.”
“I knew that,” I said a bit wearily.
Cait asked, “You had enough, Mom?”
“Yeah, I think I’m at my shopping limit for the day…”
“I knew that,” Cait smiled. “How about we head home?”
“Sounds like a wrap to me.”
We elbowed each other as we ran for the door.