Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Little Britneys and Christinas

So the other day I am at Wal-Mart shopping for clothes for my little girls (ages 4 and 2) and I finally have to do something I have been dreading for well over a year - navigate the girls' section. My oldest is very tall for a 4 year old (47") and she is outgrowing the baby/toddler section. Now normally I believe in high (or at least medium) quality clothes for myself and my kids, but the kids outgrow clothing so quickly that spending so much money on clothing seems a bit ridiculous. Plus the girls have very different body types (Rosie is long-legged, Shai has a long torso) so the clothes I buy for the older can't be passed down to the younger.

Now keeping in mind that Rosie is a very TALL 4 year old I have recently started buying her size 5/6 (XS) girls' jeans just so they are long enough. Unfortunately this means navigating Mary Kate and Ashley land at Wal-Mart. This, I discovered, is a dangerous pursuit.

I am a fairly attractive woman when I want to be. I am certainly capable of catching a man's eye when I put the necessary effort into finding and wearing flattering clothing. I am a 25 year old woman who is certainly not past her prime and I wouldn't wear most of the clothes I found in the girls' section.

Bras and bikini-cut underwear. Flared skirts short enough to be mini-skirts. Skin tight jeans. And of course shirts and boleros designed to show off cleavage. What kind of cleavage can a 5 year old have?! And why the hell would you want to show it off?!?!?!?! I mean, I've seen the shoes with heels in the girls' section of the show store, but I didn't think there were actually clothes to WEAR with them...

It's even worse when swimsuits are taken into account. This is Arizona after all, so I've already been through this season's swimsuits. Bikinis, boyshorts, sheer coverups... whatever happened to good ol' monochromatic full-size swimsuits? I believe in always leaving myself enough room for negotiation, but what happens when my eventual 15 year old daughter asks me if she can buy a string bikini? "But Mom, you let me wear one when I was 5, why not now?" Gah...

I am lucky in that I can afford higher-priced clothing and if I need to, I will go that route in order to help preserve my daughters' innocence. But whenever I look at the clothing at Wal-Mart I remember the single mom I used to be and how I couldn't afford anything else. Are we raising a generation of little Britneys and Christinas by default?

As for that shopping trip, I returned to the toddler section and bought some cheap shirts and shorts for the summer until I can find something better. I bought one pair of pants from the girls section, the cheapest and most unattractive I could find. I then dropped the kids off with my mother for the weekend. When I picked them up on Sunday my mother asked me why in the world I would buy Rosie a pair of hip huggers. I think catalogs are going to become my new best shopping friends...