The Incorrigible Night Owl

August 10, 2004

Retail therapy starts young

My daughter is not a girly-girl. Yes, she does like some "typically girl" toys. But she's not a Cinderella-type girl, twittering around in organza and rhinestones and burying innocent bystanders in an avalanche of glitter and marabou feathers.

Madalyn doesn't go in for dolls, as a general rule. I am a doll person, myself. I played with Cabbage Patch Kids till I was 13 and then collected porcelain and vinyl dolls for many years after that. Nearly every trip down the toy aisle is contains the following exchange between the two of us:

Me (hopefully): Look at this doll, Madalyn. Isn't it cute?

Madalyn (glancing at indicated doll for approximately 1/3000th of a second): Uh-huh. LOOK! LEAP PADS!


Me (beseechingly): C'mon...don't you want this dolly?

Madalyn: No.

Me: But I do!

Robert: You need help.

I guess the way to summarize is, Madalyn likes her girly things in small doses. Once in a while she asks to dress up in her princess dress. Every so often she will ask to put on my makeup. She enjoys the occasional tea party but, more often than not, it degenerates into a belching contest. You know -- a good, healthy balance.

So it was a surprise to me when she developed a real love for shopping. It started before she was even two years old. The girl loves to browse. More than that, she loves to BUY. Her conversation skills are achieving "real person" levels (as opposed to the "intelligent chimpanzee who has the power of speech but has been drinking heavily" surrealism it's had up till recently) so now shopping trips with her are even more fun because she is finally mastering the skill of artful wheedling. Her concept of money is still extremely shaky, at this point, and she apparently feels that by merely intimating that SHE would like to buy an item, funds for said item materialize from nowhere to consummate the transaction. Now, while I admire her optimism, we all know this doesn't work. If it did, I would be dictating this entry to my manservant while receiving a massage on the patio of my oceanfront home in California. (What? Like you wouldn't have a manservant?)

Robert, of course, thinks the pair of us are completely out of control. We were in JC Penney today and the most adorable twin set for Madalyn caught my eye (pink with a black kitty in a rhinestone collar on it). I had to get it to add to her winter wardrobe. Miss Madalyn, upon seizing the sweater from my hand, declared, "We need pants to match this!" and took off like a bloodhound on the scent of a racoon. Robert looked at me, aghast, and wailed, "It's genetic!"

I will say one thing, the man is smart enough to know when he's beaten.