Kids are finally back in school.  Whew!  I wasn’t sure we were going to survive the summer.

Between them fighting amongst each other, marching band practice and Hun and my current work schedules (we’re both leaving the house before 7am and not getting home until after 6pm most days), we haven’t had time to do much of anything.  I’m a planner.  I love to figure out what I’m going to do in the next day, week, month, year and even 5 years out.  I’ve been reduced to planning out the next 12 hours at best.  That’s seriously messing with my perfectionist personality!

When Hun and I have a moment to ourselves that doesn’t include work, kids or school related responsibilities, we’re lucky to not fall asleep in our dinner plates.  We know things need to be done, but mentally connecting the dots that allow those things to actually get done has been a challenge this year.  Case in point:

New school clothes shopping.

Normally, I take the kids shopping (one at a time) and allow them a $200 limit on clothing each.  This is to include everything they will need – socks, shoes, pants, shirts, etc.  We instituted this “plan” a couple of years ago when they first started complaining about where we shopped at – that the clothes weren’t good enough for them.  We shopped there because of the sales and deals, along with the ease and convenience of their convenient store credit card.  Let’s face it, shopping for 4 kids multiple times a year gets expensive!

Giving them a dollar limit allowed the kids to have control over how much they want to spend on each item.  If they want to spend $75 on Nikes, I’m not going to complain.  However, I’m not going to give them extra money to buy underwear either.  Before you start yelling at me, I do have them go through their old clothes first to figure out what still fits, what is still in good condition, what needs to be donated, and what/how much of each item they actually need.  I then make sure they understand what item is #1 on the list (socks, underwear, etc) and what items they get to splurge on.

This has been our mode of operation for the last 5 summers.  This year didn’t work out that way.  Between work and visitation schedules, we flat ran out of time and energy to do it all.  We did make sure they had new shoes, back packs, gym clothes and school supplies – along with several new outfits from earlier in the summer.  For the most part, the kids were okay with this.  They were disappointed in the ritual not playing out like usual, but understood the reasons for it.

Except for Monkey that is.

Drama Queen worthy melt-downs both on Saturday night and Monday morning (before the first day of school began) was attempted by Monkey to get her way.  By God we were supposed to be taking her shopping.  SHOPPING DAMMIT!!  And it better be at the mall too!  Taking her to the Outlet Mall just wasn’t good enough in her mind.  ALL of the other kids in Junior High shop at THE MALL and will know her clothes didn’t come from there!  They’ll bully her!  They’ll tease her!!  Her life will be RUINED!!!

WAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!!!

The icing on the cake was her screaming at me (at 7:30am on Monday morning), “YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I’M GOING THROUGH!!”  Uh….yeah….you’re right….I have no idea what it means to be an 11 year old girl.  None.what.so.ever.

I have no idea that the Outlet Mall has the same stores as The Mall, only with prices cheap enough to get 2, 3, 4 times as many items for the same price as The Mall.  I have no idea what it means to want to fit in with your peers.  I have no idea what the “right” outfit can do for a girl’s self esteem.

I have no idea where our 11 year old Monkey developed her Drama Queen attitude in regards to clothing!

She didn’t get it from Jetsam – the one who always commented about how it “must be nice to be able to afford clothes from THAT retailer when she’s barely able to afford Wal-Mart options”.  She didn’t get the attitude from me – the one who always compares prices, points out the 60-90% clearance racks as a starting point and stacks as many discounts and coupons as the store will allow.  She didn’t get it from Hun – the one whose fashion sense is only concerned about clothes being in good repair, free from stains (mostly), and covering his nether regions.  She didn’t get it from LaLa – that girl takes “wash and wear” to a whole new level.

Monkey is still asking when I’m going to take her shopping to finish out her $200 (she’s spent about $150 so far).  With the attitude I’ve been getting from her this week, I’m tempted to tell her in the year 2525.

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