Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Death To Denim

Long time, no posting, but sometimes, life just gets in the way.

Once a month, my kids’ school allows them to skip the uniform for “spirit” wear. Basically, this means a school-branded t-shirt and appropriate bottoms. For two years, my daughter wore the exact same skirt because she claimed it was the only one that matched. She essentially created her own uniform for non-uniform days. Up to this point, she has spent her entire life wearing skirts, dresses, and leggings. However, she has decided that now she wants to wear jeans “like all the other girls.” As much as I have taught her to run her own race, do her own thing, and ignore what others think, I do understand how much peer pressure affects little ( medium and big) girls. So, Saturday night, we headed once more into the breach to find a pair.

People, it would have been easier to find the Holy Grail. At least Indiana Jones had his father, a map, and the Nazis moving him along. I had nothing but a list of stores, a budget, and the threat that anyone who misbehaved wouldn’t get a treat afterwards.

You know how there are some little girls out there with chicken legs? Little spindly things that don’t look like they’d hold up a desk, let alone a human body? That is not my daughter. She was the Pillsbury Dough Baby. She had fat rolls for her fat rolls. It was glorious. As she grew, she turned to the sturdy side. She now has turkey legs. Juicy, thick turkey legs like the kind they roast at a Renaissance Faire. She also has enough junk in the trunk to open up an antiques store. She comes by it honestly. Her father has the body of a linebacker and even in my old, skinny days, I felt like I had a pumpkin stuffed down my pants. This doesn’t make her a big girl. She is average size and average weight. She just happens to already possess a body type – one that isn't based on a stick figure.

Can you anticipate the problem of finding jeans for this child? Specifically to be worn to parochial school? We live in an age of skinny jeans, bedazzled butt cheeks, and super low waist lines. We live in an era where Daisy Dukes can be bought in size T’s (that’s toddler for all you non-child bearing folk), where mock turtlenecks are long gone, but mock half-shirts are all the rage, and “bling” is now used to describe everything from wedding gowns to watches. If you didn’t look at the size of the clothes, it would be almost impossible to tell what the age of the child wearing it should be. In fact, I saw a blazer/shirt combo my eldest sister-in-law would kill for – in size 7 GIRLS.

We were screwed before we walked out the damn door. It was ugly. My husband came along for this festive event and he spent the whole time muttering about convents. (I give up easily when it comes to shopping. He perseveres. If not for him, I wouldn't just be Pantless, I’d be flat out naked.) Store after store, we found jeans that were so tight, she couldn't zipper them, or so long she couldn't walk in them, or had so much bling on the backside that she could have advertised a Broadway show. We went up a size, we went down a size. We switched stores. Hell, we switched malls. We went high end and low end. She kept asking for Nordstrom’s and a “super sparkly” top, which basically means that if she ever goes shopping with Aunt C, I’d better go rob a bank.

At one point, there were tears. For the first time, my daughter looked in a mirror and didn't like what she saw. Her body wasn't just part of her, like her hair color, or her eyes. It was something to look at with suspicion and revulsion. I explained to her that she was beautiful, healthy, strong, smart, and fantastic. That if it was easy to find jeans, then they wouldn't write books about magical ones. I pointed out that “skinny jeans” didn't mean they only fit skinny girls, just like boot cut didn't mean you could only wear it with boots. I tried to help her to understand that her body is a gift from God and that He makes them in all different shapes and sizes on purpose so that we don’t get bored.

Finally, finally, finally, the perfect pair of jeans was found. They were just her size, just the right length, and even came with a super sparkly belt (but mercifully, nothing on the back pockets). We bought two. It was just in the nick of time too as the stores were about to close, her brother had given up walking and was now throwing himself bodily down the length of the mall, baseball style, and her father was ready to murder someone for a caffeinated beverage. Me? I was just happy to get out alive.

This Friday, she’ll sashay her little self into school feeling cool and confident in her brand spanking new jeans. She doesn’t know what size they are, or how much they cost, or what brand. All she knows is that she’ll be “just like the other girls.” And I guess for now, that’s a win.