I don't know what happened to me. I went into the store looking for a three dollar bargain, I came out with thirty dollar Nikes.
For a freaking kid.
We've been fortunate in the clothing department. Most of his clothes are hand-me-downs, so we have not had to buy much. If were a girl, this might be met with a certain amount of melancholy, but boy's clothes are boring. It's too bad for boys, really, in the long run, because unless they go into the theatre, they are stuck looking at a lifetime of beige.
It's also too bad for the style-minded parent who wants to pick out cute things for his or her kid. Cruise the aisles of any department store, and the boys' section is an eyesore of brown, navy blue, grey, and maybe some green. The tee shirts are encrusted with monster trucks or branded with transformers. If you want something stripey, which is practically the only fun thing left for boys, you have to go to the photo albums of your childhood or the thrift store.
It's not all that much better in the girls' section when it comes to gender stereotypes. It's dripping with ruffles and cutesy ribbons and the glitter left over from Newt's last press conference. You can't swing an equal rights amendment without hitting a Disney princess between her big, blue eyes.
In the past, when we needed shoes, we have either lucked out with brand-new second-hands or the three dollar clearance model. The only shoes we have spent real money on are his Keen sandals, which we buy to appease our upper-middle class REI gear-hog mania. We convince ourselves that they are somehow good for him and are worth the thirty dollars on sale per season price tag, but really, we are just brand whores who fitting into a certain crunchy with money niche. (Are we Munchies?)
I did not want to buy the full price Nikes. I don't care about that brand (there's a certain brand set we adhere to, and it's probably not hard to figure out), and they were red, white, and blue. (Mostly white, which has been the prevailing and entirely ridiculous trend in sneakers for the last two decades or so. Completely stupid for a shoe that is supposed to be getting some sort of workout.)
As I tried the ridiculous shoes on the boy, I was thinking ,"No way, this is stupid. I am not paying thirty dollars for shoes. I pay three or no dollars for shoes. Unless they are for me. But that's a different story. I managed to not buy delectable shoes today even though they are gorgeous and I have been eying them and they are on sale..."
Wait. I am getting off track.
As I was convincing myself that I was not buying the shoes, I could feel the rationalizing starting. "Well, most of his shoes have been free or almost free. And we don't have to buy many clothes." The other voice started back, "Yeah, but that's how you save money. By not filling up those gaps with other purchases."
"Screw you, rational voice of reason. I dont want to go to any more stores looking for shoes. I don't want to try to take them off his feet. I'm buying them."
"But if you just tried one more place, you could find something cheaper. Look at these, even these are nineteen dollars. That's better than thirty."
"Whatever. They are ugly, and they look cheap."
"He's three. And a boy. He doesn't care."
("Look at my shoes! These are my shoes! These are the right shoes for me!" Jump jump run.)
"Think what you could do with the money you could save on those stupid, overpriced shoes, you lazy git."
"Yes, and think what I could do with the time I spend trying to get a deal. Think how much gas I will use trying to get a deal. Think how much time I am wasting on this interior monologue."
We are at the playground, and I am watching the shoes run around with babywhumpus in them. I am still rationalizing, and clearly, the shoes are staying. The shoes are adorable, he likes them, and they are on his feet.
And there they will stay.
John Fluevog, take me away.