Thursday, March 26, 2009

Shopping, Teens, Jeans and Challenged Lives

The other day, my birthday boy needed pants. Now, if I needed pants, I would put it on the never ending list of things that need to get done like planting bushes, buying a new couch and picking up some pants. But he's a newly minted 15, and he needed pants RIGHT NOW.

I explained to him that I was exhausted, that I haven't had a spare minute since last Friday, and it was already past 8. He wasn't buying. He had to have jeans RIGHT NOW. So I agreed to go, but only if he would listen to me explain how impulsivity was one of the major themes of Romeo and Juliet which he is reading right now. Or rather, that his class is reading and he is learning through the process of auditory osmosis.

Anyway, I drove to the near mall, not the one he likes that's half an hour away. I stopped in front of KMart.

"You're kidding. I'm not getting out of the car. Drive away. I don't even want to be seen in the parking lot."

"They have jeans in there. Or in WalMart."

"Mom, you have completely lost it. They only have jeans like you wear in those stores. Wranglers or whatever."

"What about Kohl's? or..."

"I thought we were going to the real mall. The one with the good stores."

I sighed. I bought milk and cat litter in KMart (which is one of the reasons I like stores like that) Philip slumped in the car, hidden from possible surveillance and resigned to waiting for the weekend.

The last time I shopped with his brother, at a good store, Christopher looked through racks of pants while he kept standing further and further distances from me. He explained, in a kindly tone, that I was wearing "Mom Jeans" - the kind that give you a butt in the back -- and in the front, the kind they sell at KMart. (I bought them in Penneys btw) A lot of teens were in the store so I took the hint and asked him to text me when he had made his selections. He came out almost immediately after.

"What's wrong? You're so pale."

"Let's just go."

I looked back before leaving and I saw the problem: about six or seven little people had entered the store. (I'm pretty sure that's the correct term now)

Now my boys were raised in a diverse environment, but there is something about little people that completely freaks them out. Completely. So a few weeks back, I asked them to watch one of those BBC documentaries on people with challenged lives, and it included little people, people missing limbs, and twins attached at the head.
I thought it would help make them more compassionate.

Philip watched, put a pillow over his face at times, and shouted things like, "Oh my God, why are we watching this? What's wrong with you, Mom? Normal families don't do this!!!"

Christopher, more mature, looked at me at the end.

"See," I said as I stood there sagely in my Mom jeans, "you guys have nothing to complain about. Not a thing. These people have real problems. Don't you think?"

Philip shot from the room. Christopher looked at me and said, "We saw this film in science about this like 150 pound toddler. He lived outside of London."

"Imagine how difficult his life is. You think you learn things from watching about other people's lives who are challenged?"

Christopher nodded. "Yeah. I'm never going to Britain. That's where they all live."


Mary Witzl said...

Honestly, I've been making so much noise here that I'm worried the upstairs neighbors are going to get pissed off. First of all, that mom jeans photo got me going, then I read your post -- all I can say is that I can hardly type for laughing. "A butt in the back and the front" -- that is just priceless. And here I sit in my mom jeans, so I ought to know.

And boy, do I know what you mean about jeans urgency in kids! I can put off my own jeans shopping for years, but the minute my kids get that jeans jones, whoo-ee...

Christy Raedeke said...

I'm still laughing and can't stop!
Yes, still laughing.

adrienne said...

LOL! My daughter forbids me to wear mom jeans...
Just last night I was remembering the fights I had with my mom over the urgency to have something right now. Of course, I have a 14 year old to help jog my memory.

Anne Spollen said...

See, Mary, you live with the same breed of human that I do so you KNOW. And when he told me about the butt in the front AND the back, I looked down and protested that I don't have a gut.
He informed me that anyone who wears pants at their waist has this in profile. That's when I slink slank slunked out of the store.

I know, Christy -- the thing is, teens don't see themselves as particularly funny. And they are VERY sensitive if you laugh because they are so paranoid. So I have to get my ya ya's here.

The urgency -- it's with everything, too,
Adrienne; the nature of the beast. I'm not sure at what age they grow a little patient. Maybe when they have more to do and more financial responsibility?

TerriRainer said...

OMG aren't teens GREAT!

My 8 year old daughter took back a Christmas gift that didn't fit at a local store. I cringed when I saw the guy at the counter was a little person. To my relief, she waited till we were walking off before saying, "Mom, did you see how short he was? I think I'm taller than him and he's a grown-up!".

Yeah, I haven't been back there since.

:) Terri

Mary Witzl said...

I've come back for another read and another laugh... Just as funny the second time, too!

Katie said...

Oh. My. Gosh. I am giggling like a fruitcake in the coffee shop by myself! Anne, you crack me up!!!!

Anne Spollen said...

At least she waited, Terri. I hold my breath a lot in malls...and yeah, teens are just swell.

Glad you came back, Mary.

No, Katie, it's not me who's funny. I just write down what the kids say. They don't think their comments are at all funny.