Sunday, January 27, 2013

Shoe Shopping with Princess

Birdie, in front of Ripley's in Baltimore
Last weekend, Hubby and I decided to divide and conquer the Crazies so that we could have some one-on-one bonding time with the girls.  Well, bonding time is what we sold the divide and conquer as, but really we were each avoiding activities we didn't really want to be a part of.

Hubby took Birdie to Baltimore to visit the Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum, so that she could refuel her "freaky tank".  That child loves weird and interesting facts, and just cannot get enough of the Ripley's Believe It or Not books.  So when she heard there was a museum filled with this crap, Birdie couldn't get there fast enough.  She made the trip her "30 Days of Awesome" prize (which she earned by having 30 days of good behavior at school and at home), and I have to admit that I was more than a little relieved that Hubby volunteered to take her.

Which left me with Princess, who was in dire need of new sneakers.

Princess's toes were on the verge of popping right out of the end of her gym shoes... which explained why she had been so resistant to put on these shoes for the last three weeks.  Funny how it never occurred to her to let me know that her shoes hurt her feet.  You would think that would seem like important information to share with one's mother, the buyer of new things.  Right?!  But alas, it never occurred to my darling, spectrum-y Princess that I would need to know that.  Ever.

Apparently, I should already know that.

It did occur to Princess to scream and cry and yell at me everyday that she had P.E. for the last three weeks, however.  When it dawned on me that maybe P.E. was not the cause of P's morning anxiety (she's been loving dancing in P.E. recently), I finally thought to check her shoes.  Much longer in those sneakers and Princess's toes would have been all broken and bound up like a geisha's.  The kid's shoes were a whole size too small!  We also determined that Princess and I now wear the same shoe size.  Dude-- she's eight!  Eight!  And we can share shoes!  I am officially a Lilliputian.

But I digress...

The real story here wasn't the need for shoes so much as the fact that we had to go shopping for them.  Princess is the world's most disagreeable shopper-- when you are shopping for her, that is.  She loves to window shop and browse-- she just doesn't do very well when it comes to trying things on.  She can't just say something doesn't fit, or doesn't feel good-- she usually has to cry to make that clear.  Crying, and then there's usually some yelling thrown in for good measure.  And then, of course, the whole store knows how awful things are P-land.  It can-- and usually does-- get really ugly.  What's worse, if Princess tries on something she dislikes and it really jangles her nerves (because it's scratchy or tight or smelly, etc.), she will hate everything she tries on after that.  Even things she would normally like.  Possibly even the clothes she wore into the store.  It's... challenging, to say the least.

For most folks, shopping-for-Princess trips would be "Xanax and Margaritas"-type events, which can only be endured in oblivion.  Others might find themselves contemplating ways to make the trip more pleasant-- like, for instance, having it end in jail time, maybe.  I, on this occasion, chose to start the day on a happy note, hoping it would soften the blow of the imminent trauma of trying on shoes.

What better way to begin the day happily than brunch at IHOP, right?!  I thought that I had figured out a sure-fire way to make shoe shopping more pleasant.  A belly full of pancakes makes me more agreeable, and it usually works on my kids, too.  Usually.  But the deck was stacked against me last weekend.

Jean Stapleton, as Edith Bunker
I should have insisted upon a different table as soon as I laid eyes on the lady sitting next to us, but I didn't.  Some people just set off an autism mom's radar the moment she sees them, and this lady made my radar scream.  At first glance, the lady looked like any other retiree with nothing better to do.  She had white, perfectly coifed hair, stylish glasses, red lipstick, and the obligatory red and purple wardrobe that has been popularized by Red Hatter Clubs across the country.  Upon closer inspection, however, I noticed a few things that bothered me.  One, the lady had a picture of a cat, rather than a person, in the locket around her neck.  Two, she brought her own syrup to IHOP.  Who the hell does that?!!  And three, her husband looked to be one of the most terrified people I have ever seen.  As we sat down, I also discovered that she sounded just like Archie Bunker's wife Edith when she spoke-- not exactly an endearing quality, either.

We made it halfway through breakfast uneventfully, and I was beginning to think that my radar was out of tune, when "Edith" leaned over to Princess and tried to start a conversation.

"How ahhh yaa, honey?" came booming out of this woman's mouth.  All I could think was "I haven't even made it to the shoe store yet!  Why are you doing this to me, lady?!"
Princess, and the look that needs no introduction

Princess crinkled up her face like she had just whiffed the stench of death, and turned her back on "Edith".  Not to worry, though, "Edith" was not deterred.

"Ahm talkin' to YOU, honey!  How ahhh yaa?!  You should an-sahh!"  Gee, thanks E.

"Mom.  That woman is a stranger."  Princess was trying to whisper, I think, but it wasn't working.  "Do I have to talk to her?"

"Just say hello and then finish your pancakes," I said, hoping that would be the end of it.  I turned to our dining neighbor and said, "My daughter is a little shy around people she doesn't know.  It takes her a little while to warm up."  I grinned what I hoped was my charming grin, rather than my please-shut-up grin-- I'm not sure I succeeded, but I tried.

"Edith", being ever-so helpful, leaned over to Princess again and said, "Yahh'll nevah make friends if you nevah talk to strange-ahhs!  That's how yahh make new friends!"

Princess, in her painfully honesty way, replied "That's why I'm not talking to you.  I don't want to make a new friend today."

"Edith" looked appalled at P's response, and her husband looked even more terrified than when I first saw him.  She recovered quickly, though, and started to chat with me instead of Princess.  It seemed that she and her husband were about to leave, so I decided to endure the chitchat rather than be rude.  We chatted for a few moments when "Edith" reached over and patted Princess's stuffed kitty that she'd brought along to breakfast.  Poor "Edith".

"Don't touch MY KITTY!  I DON'T KNOW YOU!!"

Princess was morphing into her battle form, and I was desperately trying to calm her down.  "Shhhhh, honey.  Chill out", I mumbled through gritted teeth.

"Edith" cringed a bit at the sight of Snarly Princess, but was not deterred enough to stop sharing what she was thinking.  "Yew-ahhr kitty cat has long hair just like my kitties TJ and Miss Magnolia.  They look just exactly like yew-ahhr cat."

Princess very matter-of-factly stated, "That can't be true."

"They really do!" assured our gray-haired, syrup-toting neighbor.

Princess couldn't believe what she was hearing, I guess.  "It ISN'T POSSIBLE!!!  My kitty is a STUFFED! AN-I-MAL!  Yours are real.  NOT. THE. SAME. WOMAN!!"

I felt myself don the deer-in-headlights look, to prevent myself from bursting out in maniacal laughter.  I am pretty sure I witnessed the terrified-looking husband smirk a little too, but I can't be sure.  Why exactly had I ignored my radar when we were seated?  Fortunately, at this point "Edith" finally gave up small talk with Princess, and at the same time the blessed waitress dropped off her check.

As "Edith" and her husband rose to leave, Princess very loudly exclaimed, "FINALLY!  I didn't think she'd ever go home!"

Classy.  Why don't you say what you really mean, Princess?  *sigh*

P's new shoes, which she
 refused to model for me 
After our eventful brunch, I was more than a little reluctant to take P shopping for shoes.  She seemed to be recovering from our friendly chat with "Edith", but you just never know.  (Things like this have a way of rearing their ugly heads long after you think they have been forgotten.  At least that's often true with Aspies.  Especially my Aspies.)  I decided I should give it a go anyway, though, seeing how P.E. was going to occur on Tuesday whether my girl had shoes that fit or not.

Since I had discovered that Princess could fit my shoes, I figured I could eliminate a good bit of the irritation of shoe shopping for her by trying on the shoes first.  If the shoes were too tight, short, or stiff, I wouldn't even let P put them on her feet.  We walked into the shoe store, and 25 minutes later, after I had tried three pairs of shoes, and P had tried on two pairs, we left with a brand new pair of Bella Ballerina sneakers.  It was that simple.

After all that worry, I felt almost cheated of the drama.  Almost.

It occurs to me now, however, that next time we shop for Princess's shoes, I won't be able to try them on first to ease the pain and eliminate drama.  By then, Princess will have surpassed my shoe size, and I will no longer be able to cheat the system.  I will again have to resort to being the person that receives dirty looks from store employees as my child berates shoe manufacturers everywhere for not consulting her first on how to make a comfortable pair of shoes.  My reprieve from shoe shopping drama may be limited to this one event.

So I guess I should thank dear "Edith" for stirring up some drama during brunch... otherwise, this mother-daughter outing would have in no way whatsoever have resembled a Crazy Train outing.


  1. I love Princess's new shoes! I'm a new follower from the Mom's Mingle. Your blog is wonderful! I look forward to reading more. Loved the reference to Edith Bunker!! I watched that one a bunch back in the day. Have a super week! Stacie xo

    1. Glad you stopped by, Stacie! I look forward to following along with you as well!

  2. Awesome shoes! And you'd think that woman would've gotten the hint loooong before she carried on treading precariously into dangerous territory... Touch the kitty? No way...WHO would have such gall? And I applaud your powers of observation - I'm always so oblivious in there, I would never have noticed that someone had brought their own syrup. Or that they had a picture of a kitty in the locket around their neck. Too funny!

  3. I'm on Edith's side here... lol You won't make new friends if you never talk to anybody! Princess could have made a great friend hee hee... On the other hand, princess reminds me of myself and I applaud her for speaking up. Thanks for linking up with the Messy Moms Messy Monday! I'm your newest follower.


    Messy Moms Radio : Unorganized Designs : Unorganized Chaos X 3

  4. She picked some cute shoes! I really don't know what I would have done in a situation like that. It seems like "Edith" should have taken a hint lol I’m a new follower of your blog from the Monday Mingle Blog Hop! Would love if you could stop by mine. Thanks :0)

    The Three Whiskateers

  5. O...M...G...LMAO here!!! Oh how I wish I was at the IHOP with you. Only...sitting at a "different" table but most definitely in earshot! I am thankful I was not consuming any beverages reading this as I'm sure I would be in need of a new laptop after this post. :D

    Very cool shoes Princess!!!

  6. Looks like "Edith" added more than enough drama to your day and I love the new shoes. When I take my kids shopping we usually head to Burlitgon before lunch. After we find we need, we'll stop at Friendly's for lunch and ice cream. I'm not brave enough to try it in another order. However, the kids handle things, at least I know I'll get a great discount.