Junior High has arrived. Yesterday we went to Leslie's open house and tracked down all of her classrooms, met her teachers, and practiced opening her locker. We're both pretty excited. She was less than excited to have to bring all of her siblings along to the open house--Mark had a closing and couldn't come. She was so embarrassed at the kids scampering around our ankles and under the desks like pups (like they usually do) and kept hissing at them to be good, especially when she was meeting her teachers. It was pretty funny. I guess I'm beyond caring as long as they aren't fighting or destroying property, and her teachers are all used to the young family demographics of Utah County, but Leslie was at a whole new level of humiliation capacity. Like I said, Junior High has arrived.
After dinner I thought it would be a great opportunity to take advantage of Mark being home for the rare weeknight and go school shopping with Leslie. No kids this time. It was going to be great. As we climbed into the car she informed me that she only wanted a new pair of jean shorts and some new shoes--not grubby tennis shoes, not church shoes, just regular shoes. Okay, I said. But don't you think you might want a new outfit for the first day of school? And maybe some new pairs of jeans since we're actually out shopping without the kids? No, she said. She already had her clothes picked out for the first day, and it was still summer so she was NOT going to try on long pants. She would get too hot. "Plus, if we buy me jeans now, I'll probably just grow out of them before it's cool enough to wear them." I gave her a noncommittal mom-style "hmm."
We ventured into Ross--our first stop because they have lots of teenager clothes and because we are cheap. Cheap can become a vice when magnified into the realm of impossibility by your children, as I would soon learn. We discovered that Ross had entered into the fall season and was no longer stocking regular shorts or capris--and only the short short shorts that nobody wants were still left on the clearance rack. (To Leslie's credit, she did ask for a new pair of shorts before we went to Montana, but I was too busy to ditch the kids and take her shopping.) I said, as long as we're here, let's see if they have any cute outfits on clearance. "Well, okay, but don't try to talk me into any moldy jeans or anything." Huh? Apparently the last time we were at Ross I indicated that I liked some green jeans. Leslie does not approve of the colored jeans trend just yet. I told her that lots of colored jeans were cute and in style right now. "I don't usually like what's In Style, so just forget it! Sniff." O--kay. We poked around for a while and didn't find anything that produced a less-than-horrified reaction, other than some black leggings that she needed for her dance class. "I don't get it" she said. "Usually we find lots of really cheap stuff for three or four dollars when we're here." We paid and left, of course forgetting to look at shoes.
Next in our game plan was Kohl's. Lots and lots of teenager clothes, good sales, and open past 8 o'clock, which is about what it was at this point. As we walked into their main Juniors' cornucopia, I slathered on the patience. "Okay, Leslie, while we are looking for some shorts, you tell me if you see anything you like, and we can kind of go for that look." We looked. We looked. We looked. If you were wondering, their jean shorts are also sold out, especially in her slender size. This is what I heard:
"I don't like bright colors". (?!)
"Kind of old fashioned. Grandma-ish."
"Lace? I have brothers. This would get snagged and ruined in like, two seconds!"
"I don't like necks down to here." (I interject, you are supposed to wear something under it.) "I don't care, it still looks weird."
"Well, that's okay, I guess, but NOT for the first day of school."
"This would get dirty really easy."
"I already have an orange shirt. Nothing orange."
"Who would ever pay ten dollars for a shirt???!!! Why are clothes so expensive???!!!" (Just so you know, I was buying everything. Sheesh. I guess I really messed her up last week by taking her to some garage sales where we found several articles of clothing for 10 cents a piece.)
"Well, maybe...how much is it? Forget that!"
When I prodded her again to pick out something that she at least kind of liked, she went for a wide-striped navy blue and white shirt. Almost identical to a blue and pink striped one she has at home. I guess stripes are her thing? Yes, it was cute and the price was okay. But, when she pulled it out and saw that it had long sleeves she dropped it like a hot poker. "It's too hot still for long sleeves!" We didn't get it. The store was almost ready to close. We walked past the women's shoes although she was reluctant. "I've never seen anything for less than $70 here, (huh?) so I don't know why we're wasting our time." Finally she found one plain turquoise activewear top she liked. A lot. It is too small and tight to wear alone, but she could wear it under a v-neck black dress that we got her at the garage sale last week for about a quarter. (She didn't want it because it was black, but I told her we could get a nice color to wear under it and a scarf.) The top was around $3. (And, I might add, is a BRIGHT COLOR.) Hey big spender! I did notice that the guy at the checkstand didn't hassle me to get a Kohl's card like he did to the woman right before us in line. She "could have saved" 40 bucks. I probably could have saved 50 cents!
As we were pulling away, she apologized for being so picky and asked if we had time to go to Target since she still didn't have her shorts or her shoes. She was upset and frustrated. I said no and pointed out that all the stores were closing.
Except for WalMart.
Their acceptable shorts are also sold out, and I don't know why I bothered anyway because I don't think they even carry size 1-2. We drifted to the shoes and she said, "Mom, everyone I've ever talked to says, 'Don't buy shoes at WalMart because they will fall apart in two seconds.'" I agreed and complimented her good sense, but silently wished she would have reminded me of that before we drove across town.
I think I'm going to take her to DI tomorrow (our local secondhand
store.) They stock shorts year round, and if they don't have any she
likes, we can find some jeans and whack them off.
Well, at least we bought some apples at WalMart. Leslie noticed that all the suckers at the checkstand were lemon, but they were all on sale, go figure. "That's because nobody likes the lemon ones," I told her--I don't think she made the connection to her own shopping frustrations.
I suppose I should have done the school supplies while I was there without the kids, but I hadn't checked my favorite price-match list, and am much to savvy to spend an extra four cents on a notebook when I don't have to. Sniff.