Earlier this week, Zoe and I ventured out for some school shopping. If you can call what we did shopping. Walking into a store and immediately turning around and walking out because a certain fourteen year old took all of one second to declare there was absolutely nothing in there that she liked so C’MON MOM, LET’S GO ALREADY … is this shopping? If so, we shopped 47 times that day.
I remember those days when I would go out shopping for her by myself, pick out all sorts of cute and adorable outfits, bring them home and have her face light up with excitement as she’d rip through the bags and ooooh and ahhhhh over everything and proclaim every outfit as MY MOST FAVORITEST OF THEM ALL and then she’d fling herself at me and hug me and tell me I was the BEST MOM EVER.
Zoe hasn’t called me the best at anything since 2004 and the only thing she has flung lately has been her sister into the pool and her clothes onto the floor. I’ve given up trying to buy her anything on my own because apparently, even though I gave birth to her and fed her and burped her and changed her and molded her young mind and shaped her personality, I do not know anything about her, least of all her taste in clothes and accessories.
Even when she picks out her own stuff, there’s no guarantee she’s going to like it for longer than it takes to get it home. Like the silver sequined purse she wanted last year, the one I hated on sight because it looked like the sixties had thrown up all over it but she just had to have, PLEASE MOM, IT’S GORGEOUS, I LOVE IT, PLEASE MOM, PLEASE!
Are we talking about the purse that everyone in our house saw Zoe carry to school for months on end but according to Zoe, was used once and only once and then only as a joke? The same purse that now houses all of Helena’s Littlest Pet Shop figurines? The one that Helena took to the mall two weeks ago because she wanted to be a big girl and Zoe refused to walk with her because the purse was so hideous and she didn’t want to be hideous by association?
Yes, that would be the one.
Zoe loves to shop. I hate to shop. If it meant the difference between starving to death and a knock off Coach purse, Zoe would opt for the bag and hope for coordinating shoes in Heaven. Me? Nothing is getting between me and food. That’s just a given.
Zoe has become a shopaholic and I have become a 5’2″ walking MasterCard with poor posture and astigmatism.
Zoe: Mom, I need to go shopping.
Me: What? Why? What do you mean? Didn’t we just go shopping?
Zoe: That was a year ago, Mom.
Me: Are you sure? I don’t think so. It was yesterday. Look, my eye is still twitching.
Zoe: Mom, you always look like that.
Me: Don’t be smart. Count the creases in my forehead, Zoe. There’s one for every school shopping trip since you turned ten. See this one here? (pointing to my head) That’s for school year 2008-09, I’m sure of it.
Zoe: No, Mom. That’s the one from last year, when we bought ten pairs of jeans and you got all confused about low rise and ultra low rise and mid rise and boot cut and flair and straight cut.
Me: Is that when I yelled at the manager?
Zoe: No, that was when you cried in the middle of Staples when you found out my graphing calculator was $100 and then you yelled at the manager saying something about how, when you went to school, you weren’t allowed to even have a calculator and who did he think was, charging that much for contraband?
Me: My God, was that a year ago? Time flies blah blah blah, huh?
Zoe: So, can we go?
Me: What’s wrong with the stuff you have?
Zoe: It’s too short, it’s too uncomfortable, it’s too faded, it’s too worn out.
Me: So am I.
Later, while in the throes of shopping, our conversations deteriorate at an alarming rate. Case in point:
Me: Oh Zoe! I love these!
Zoe: Ugh, no.
Me: OK. Ooooh, look at these!
Zoe: Mom! Those are ugly!
Me: Well, how about these then? They’re pretty cute.
Zoe: Just forget it, there’s nothing here I like.
Me: Wait! Look at this one!
Zoe: I’m leaving.
Me: These are nice!
Me: Hey, these look like they’ll fit.
Zoe: Oh my gosh, Mom! NO.
Me: This one looks comfortable.
Me: This one?
Zoe: I’m leaving.
Zoe: This one, and this one, and this one.
Me: Those look exactly like what you already have.
Zoe: How can you say that? They’re totally different!
Me: Are we looking at the same things? How are they different?
Zoe: You always do this! You hate everything I like!
Me: I didn’t say I hated them! I just said that you’ve got those exact clothes laying on your bedroom floor. How about getting something that will look nice thrown under your bed or on your doorknob or tossed over your curtain rod? Mix it up a little?
Zoe: I’m leaving.
Me: What about …
Me: These …
Me: How about …
Zoe: Mom! I said no!
Me: But …
Zoe: I’m leaving.
Zoe: These are nice. Mom? Mom? Did you hear me?
Me: No. I am ignoring you.
Zoe: Do you like these?
Me: Honestly? No. I do not like them.
Zoe: I’ll get the blue one and the brown one.
Me: I’m leaving.
Zoe (whispering): I need underwear.
Me (loudly): What? You need underwear?
Zoe (frantic): Shhhhhh!
Me (even louder): Did you say you need underwear?
Zoe (freaking out): OK! OK! I’m sorry! I’m sorry! Can we just buy some please?
Me: Sorry for what, exactly?
Zoe: I’m sorry for rolling my eyes at you, I’m sorry for stomping out of Old Navy, I’m sorry for not listening ot you, I’m sorry for being grumpy. I think that’s it, isn’t it?
Me: You forgot “I’m sorry for slamming a dressing room door in your face, I’m sorry for hating everything that you like, I’m sorry for putting you through sixty hours of labor only to act as if I don’t know you a mere fourteen years later.”
Zoe: OK. I’m sorry for that.
Me: Fine. Let’s get you some undies.
Zoe: MOM! Don’t use that word, it’s gross. They’re right over there. I’ll just wait here.
Me: What do you mean, you’ll just wait here? Do you need underwear or not?
Zoe: Yes! But you can get them. I can’t. What if someone sees me?
Me: I’m sure they’re wearing underwear too, Zoe. And if they’re not, I don’t want you hanging around them.
Zoe: Mom! Stop! Can’t you just get them? What’s the big deal?
Me: And how am I supposed to know what you like? Smoke signals?
Zoe: Just get me anything! If I don’t like them, you can return them.
Me: Excuse me? Get over yourself. I do not live to return items. Returning items ranks right up there with a barium enema. If you want underwear, you are going to pick them out and actually hold them. Now, here we are. See? Not so bad, is it? How about these? Zoe? Zoe?
Ring. Ring. Ring.
Zoe (whispering): What kind do they have?
Me (whispering): Where are you?
Zoe (whispering): Over by shoes.
Me (no longer whispering): Zoe, I do not have time for this. Get over here right now. You are being ridiculous.
Zoe (still whispering with an attitude): NO! MOM! C’mon! Just get me the underwear!
Me (yelling across the store): Zoe, do you want hipsters? They also have briefs and bikinis! And solids and prints! They’ve got all sorts of styles! HEY, HERE ARE SOME THAT LOOK EXACTLY LIKE WHAT YOU HAVE ON! Can you see them? Over here, Zoe! I’m holding them up way up high so you can see them! Can you see them? ARE THESE THE ONES YOU WANT?
Me: So, do you have everything you need?
Me: Zoe, you have to talk to me sometime. You can’t stay mad at me forever. I really think that one day, you are going to look back at this and laugh.
Me: Or not.
Me: OK then. Let’s go home. I need to iron my forehead and get ready for next year.