Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Shopping with a Caterpillar

I have this....this...thing living in my house. Usually I can him Mac, but today let's call him Caterpillar. See, he is a newly minted teenager. All of 13 years old and soon to complete the eighth grade. You know what that means? Next year he is in HIGH SCHOOL. I am way too young for this.

So why is he a caterpillar? Because he is somewhere between an egg and a butterfly. Once he was small and easy to control, and someday (please) he'll be really nice to be around. Still waiting for him to go into a cocoon, though. That would be cool. I could just lean his cottony pod in a corner somewhere; let him gather dust. Maybe decorate him for Christmas with a festive strand of colored lights and that silver tinsel that takes me right back to childhood.

The best part of this scenario? Cocoons can't talk. This boy? He has a MOUTH on him. Truly I have no idea where he gets it. It's crazy. Anyway, the mouth. Constantly in motion, usually spilling words laced with sarcasm or disgust at all things familial. His baby brother is a bacterium. His stepfather is an ogre. His mother is a prison guard with a cattle prod. Sucks to be him. Of course, I cannot relate at all. Because I was never 13. Ever. I was born when I was 30. Pissed my mother off, me being so big and all.

Back to the issue of shopping with a caterpillar. Since caterpillars are in a state of transition, shopping is not just difficult, it is amazingly, painfully, horribly impossible. Today we set out with a mission: find pants, shirt, shoes for the upcoming eighth grade end-of-year dance. He needs to look hot for all the wimmins. They are attracted by the shininess of his braces, and that sweep of hair that completely covers one eye.

Anyone care to guess how many stores we went to before we found pants that fit? This boy got his mother's long legs and short waist, so pants with a normal "rise" tend to go halfway up the ribcage. Not a good look on me; not a good look on him. And shopping for pants in late May? Not so easy. Old Navy? No luck. Marshalls? As if. TJ Maxx (oooo, the jewelry counter...snap out of it, mom!). Forget it. Goodwill? (yes, I tried there) Not a chance. Finally, pants at Belk. Forty percent off, no less. The shirt was easier - 75% off at Dillard's. Woot!

Here comes the tricky bit. Shoes. The caterpillar is in the early stages of puberty, so right now he is about 5 feet tall, but he wears a men's 8 1/2 shoe. Since September his feet have grown THREE sizes. Put a black dress shoe that big on a boy that short and the result is...not comical, exactly. (thinking, thinking...) Well, it just looks wrong. As if he might be part hobbit. Although he liked a couple of pairs of regular leather slip-ons, they resembled snowshoes on his feet. I had to move into the next aisle so I wouldn't laugh at him. Caterpillars are very touchy. And if you step on them, that green goo comes out. Nasty.

Finally I convinced him to buy a pair of solid black Chuck Taylor high tops. At least he can wear them again. And if he doesn't, I will.

Pictures. Isn't he cute? Kind of like Cousin It: The Middle School Years. Or a cyclops.

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