Helen’s entire life is a quest for Mountaintop Experiences. Every day this summer she has asked me “What exciting is going to happen today?” Most days the exciting thing has already happened — art class, drama class… I was a Good Mother this summer and signed them up for a bunch of stuff and I am SO very glad I did, even if it means I’m driving around dropping off/picking up and/or hiring babysitters to do that for me so I can tutor.
Well, today, I didn’t really have an answer.
Then I realized that I needed to go back to Bridge Street to return/exchange a Fossil purse I bought on Sunday, because some of the stitching was coming undone. I *love* the purse, even if it’s a bit larger than I’ve grown accustomed to carrying, but the stitching was coming undone in the center front. Um, no. It needed to be replaced.
So I told the girls that we were going to go to Bridge Street.
“CAN WE GO TO JUSTICE?!” squealed Helen.
Oh, man. Yeah, we’re THAT age. Yippee. I asked her if she had any money, knowing full well that she hoards money just like she hoards everything else, and I know she has a stash of close to $100 now in her room. Including the $10 I gave her TWO SUMMERS AGO to go underwater, which she still had not spent. I’m not kidding. Hoarder. Watch for her on TLC. Seriously.
Helen wasn’t too keen on the idea of spending her own money until I pointed out that “Mommy doesn’t really get a say in what you spend your own money on” — within reason. I did tell her no makeup other than lip gloss, and I could argue with choices if I really felt strongly but I couldn’t tell her what those might be ahead of time. She agreed, and went down and got $5. Alice, wanting to play along, was VERY upset that she didn’t have a stash of money.
Oh, but she does. I have a piggy bank near the laundry room, and every time I find change in the laundry it goes in that piggy bank. And that piggy bank is Alice’s. So Alice has been hoarding change for almost 6 years now. We usually check our pockets so there wasn’t all that much in there, but she was able to scrape together $5 in quarters.
Off we went. I returned the purse without an issue — they didn’t even make me present a receipt! The girl who sold me the purse remembered me, and she went to the back and got a brand new one and checked it over completely before handing it to me to make sure it was perfect this time. Very happy. I love Fossil purses. This is my third one, and it’s orange.
LOVE it. It’s still really small, but my camera can actually fit in it without bulging and I could probably get a checkbook in there, too. What I’ve been carrying since knee surgery two years ago has been TINY. So it feels like I’m carrying around a Mary Poppins bag.
Alice REALLY wanted to go to the Apple store. Her absolute favorite favorite favorite store EVER is the Apple store. She is a perfect angel (no, seriously!! she is!) in the Apple Store.
I suggested we go to Justice first since we were almost there anyway, and THEN we’d go to the Apple store.
Once in Justice (40% off on everything in the store! woohoo!), Alice looked around a little bit and settled almost immediately on a Ty Penguin toy for $7.90. With tax, it put her just over $5 but I was willing to front them for slight overages. Alice went to the counter and paid for her penguin and was very happy.
Helen, however, browsed.
I told her what the upper limit of what she could afford was, and I swear she found everything in the store that was under that amount.
(Meanwhile, Mommy was completely distracted by all of the bling and I really hope that Jerry doesn’t hate me when I take the girls back there for back-to-school shopping because who! can! resist! the! sparkles!? Maybe it’s the theatre geek in me but I do lurve the sequins. Oh, my.)
After 20 minutes I finally told her she needed to come to a decision. She settled on two tubes of lip gloss. I don’t have a problem with lip gloss because it’s sheer and she eats it off within 5 minutes. Whatever. I realized she was going to be WAY under the $5 with that, so I grabbed another lip gloss and her total was $4.86.
I could learn a lot by shopping with Helen. I don’t typically have the time or interest to browse like she did, but she really knew that what she wanted most in the store was what she ended up taking home with her. And she was SO pleased with her purchase. So much of the time I get in, get the item, get out, and get on with life, rather than savoring the experience.
Today, as minor as it was for me, will probably be one of those memories she holds onto for a while, you know? It was the very first time she spent her own money without (much) censorship from Mom. And that’s pretty awesome.
I think I should take my kids shopping like that more often. Truly, I don’t know why I waited this long.
(Oh, and we DID go to the Apple store. We left several goofy photos on an iPhone and spent about 15 minutes playing on three adjacent iPads. It was awesome and we had to drag Alice away.)