Anyone who knows me well knows I detest character clothing. Perhaps this is a remnant of my days working in day care: I recall a little girl coming in and proudly showing off her Pocahontas sneakers. Before the movie was even released. I was so disgusted by this (and other examples of flagrant over marketing to young children) that I swore I would not dress my children in character clothing. Actually, I make the exception at underwear and pajamas, which I guess means that maybe some of my issue is about the fact that I think a lot of the stuff is ugly (do I need to take a picture of the shiny brown Disney Princess hand-me-down tracksuit with the rainbow stripes to prove my point?). And poorly made. (Does not bode well for my consignment selling). Either way, Helen was NOT getting the Dora swimsuit she has persistently requested each and every time we have been to Target in the last month. Well, yesterday we went shoe shopping. More specifically, Easter dress shoes for Ruthie and summer sandals for both. We went to Payless first, where I accidentally bought Ruthie a par of Hannah Montana boots on clearance. I'm sure you're wondering how someone accidentally purchases a pair of boots. Well, they were on clearance, in the size I anticipate her to be next year, and they are kinda cute. So I picked them up out of the box and said "Look, honey, do you like these?" at which point she looked at the box and screamed "Hannah Montana!" Oops. I hadn't looked at the box....just the boots. And the big kicker here is that we don't watch Hannah Montana. I know there is nothing offensive about the show, but I don't need my pre-schooler looking to teenagers as role models just yet. KWIM? So anyway, we got the boots. They don't actually say HM on them anywhere, so I can live with that. I do beleive I saw Benny roll his eyes when Ruthie arrived home toting an enormous HM box.
On to Target for sandals. I found a pair for Helen immediately. She didn't want them. Because she wanted the Princess sandals and the Princess shoes and the Dora sneakers and the Dora sandals and the Dora crocs. Sigh. After trying desperately and unsuccessfully to divert her attention to the sandals that were pretty and white and had NO FRICKIN CHARACTERS on them, she steered me back over to the character shoe section, where she found a lovely (note the sarcasm here) pair of strappy pastel metallic sandals.
And of course my first instinct was to scream "FOR THE LOVE OF GOD CHILD HAVE YOU NO DIGNITY?!!" But I fought that, and tried instead to gently dissuade her. Helen will not be dissuaded, gently or otherwise. I realized pretty soon that she was never going to forget the fact that she wanted these shoes. And I could either be badgered every day for the next 15 years until she moves out of my house, or I could buy her the damned shoes and hope that nobody noticed she was wearing Dora crocs. Which is what I did. But they're hot pink. And they have a huge Dora head on them. And in case they don't notice, Helen points them out to everyone she meets. "Look at my Dora shoes."
But as a mom who shares my view on character clothes noted today, Helen stared at her shoes the whole way down the path at the front of Ruthie's school. So I guess that, in the end, buying her those shoes was okay.