Sneaking Into Tweendom

First Published in the Tri-Town Transcript Mar. 11, 2015

Regular Readers let us turn our attention away from this blighted land to a gentler topic. A less stressful topic. Let us discuss, the Tween.

Whoops, sorry. Did I say less stress?

Our older daughter is nearly 11 and is a driven, smart, loving child. She plays nicely with her younger sister and is liked by her peers. But take her shopping, in this instance sneaker shopping, and whoa nellie, I am in severely uncharted waters.

For starters, my little, first, baby girl is almost as tall as me. We wear the same size shoes. I can buy new sneakers in about fifteen minutes. Are they comfortable? Are they less than $50?
Done and done.

My daughter, on the other hand, has a criteria that, best I can tell, involves a complex algorithm of melodrama, a dash of angst, and a smattering of introspective soul-searching, which I, her mother, do not understand.
As in: “You do NOT understand me OR these sneakers!”

We began our search at Off Broadway Shoes and found her favorite brand (um, she has a favorite brand). And there, in her size, were some teal and pink sneakers that fit and were snazzy. So easy. So done. So . . . .nope, not done.

“Well, I like these,” she mused, “but maybe we should try Dick’s since that’s where I got my last pair of sneakers.”

I nodded. “True, but you’ll probably just like the same pair at Dicks.”

“Maybe,” she countered, “but they may have a better price.” She looked to see if she could bait me with cheapness.

Yep, she could.

So we headed to Dicks.
They did not have the teal sneakers, instead they had the same brand in a pattern I can only describe as Skittle Explosion Shimmer. My daughter was mesmerized. Perhaps because they were like rainbow sneakers on psychedelic drugs. They were sooo cool, and sooo fifteen dollars more.

“But they are sooo cool!” She said when I pointed out the price. “I’ll use my own money to pay the extra!!”

I hemmed and hawed, trying to articulate the principle at play, but truthfully, they did rock. So I agreed she could try them on. That is when the world ended. They didn’t have them in her size. The coolest sneakers on the planet – – only not for her.

Oh the wailing, the gnashing of teeth, the stormy clouds that swirled above us. How could we go on? How could we wake up the next morning? Never fear, I had a great idea.

“Let’s go get the teal ones that you loved only 10 minutes ago!”

Wrong. So wrong.

That is when I was informed I didn’t understand her, or her love of the skittletastic sneakers. Except, as she huffed and puffed about in a fretful fluster, I did. It was obvious, even to me, that the teal ones were now relegated to merely average. I was ok with average, but I secretly admired my daughter not wanting to settle for teal when a rainbow was in reach.

So I suggested we try Model’s Sporting Goods – – one last store before I’d play the Mean Mommy Card.
 She agreed and we made our way to Model’s and their wall of sneakers, which included the teal ones, but not, alas, the rainbow sneakers of joy.

There was, however, a third pair. These were vibrant blue with stripes of yellow that morphed into orange via a splash of pink. What a concept! What a design! Please Dear God, let her love these sneakers, I prayed.

“Mommy I love this pair!” She swooned. But were they in her size? We rifled through boxes, we flagged down a store clerk, (in what may not have been my calmest moment), but no. No.No!! And then, like the lightening streak on the sneaker, I was struck by the idea that she try the next size up. The size she could fudge through until she grew taller . . . in approximately two days. Victory!

I was the genius mother of a Tween with amazing sneakers. Whew! I’d also learned a valuable lesson about her shopping process and its connection to her deep, existential and emotional needs. Namely, next time I’ll send my husband.