Thursday, January 31, 2013

Shopping With Your Teen: A Primer

Monkey Boy can be all kinds of joy----we recently had an amazing meeting with the school admin, to set up a 504 plan for when he goes to high school (this is a legal doc, stating certain accommodations that help him be successful---the school has been giving him what he needs with no complaints for so long, but transitioning to traditional public school could prove to be bumpy for a kid that processes things differently soooo.....).  We got tons of incredible feedback about his progress (huge), his personality (hilarious) and his smiles (giant and frequent).  It was a great meeting, and we were all lovey-dovey-proud-parent-y.

So when it came time to schlep to the mall to see Santa (for Princess), we let MB know that, even though he was fully committed to shorts and T-shirts, that we were going to expect a certain amount of compliance in finding a suitable jacket for snow and rain, and clothing that made him look less like a refugee.

You see, MB has a history with clothing.  He was borderline "on the spectrum" as a little guy--tactile issues with clothing was HUGE.  They way things fit, felt on his skin, etc. were always big issues.  Trying things on involved taking off your clothing in public, in a room with a door that is too short, and where you can hear strangers talking so THEY CAN HEAR YOU TAKE YOUR CLOTHES OFF.  A recipe for disaster on most fronts.  But, most kids need to try stuff on, unless there is to be a bunch of trips backandforth, backandforth.  I don't do BACKANDFORTH.  I get it right the first time (or right enough). So trying things on is MASSIVE on the scale of "shit MB hates".

There we were, surrounded by people that are otherwise unemployable, what with the stretched lobes and knuckle tattoos and ironic smiles.  And I gingerly suggested the possibility of pants.  Jeans, specifically, because I had just buttered him up with new Vans. I had him right where I wanted him.

We meandered to the jean stacks.  And stared.  First, he's thin.  And taller than me.  So, sizing is an issue.  I whispered a barely audible, "remember you've grown so you will have to go into the dressing room just for a couple pairs, to see".  Avoided eye contact.  Kept head bowed. Showed no teeth. Discussed pocket designs.  Faded vs. dark. (faded=bad) Skinny vs. slim.  (skinny=bad) Blue vs. black.  (black=bad).  Once I knew the rules, I loaded his arms, and sent him to the dressing room.

When he got in the room, I waited, talking loud enough so he could hear me, but not so loud that others could, too.  Next to impossible in a store designed for teens.  So, I did my stage whisper, which somehow didn't cause him to stage-whisper back, "Stop talking so loud---you're embarrassing me".  Basically, he only tolerates me being with him in a store, because I have the magic credit card that makes his wants, his possessions.  And why do I tolerate it?  So he won't look like a refugee every time we leave the house.  It's a goddamn delicate fucking dance, I tell you.

Then, there was a hiccup.  It seems that the regular 28s are so large, they DON'T WORK.  But, the shirt that is not a T-shirt, and has a collar and sleeves, is a win.  And on clearance.  So, I tell him to hang tight.  I find the Youth area, which also has 28s.  By some amazing miracle of youth cloth I haven't discerned, these 28s are different than the first set of 28s.  And, they fit.  But supplies are scarce, and I may have to offer up a black pair.  I slowly ease them over the top of the door, fearful of rejection, afraid my eagerness to find appropriate clothing will be seen as a threat.

The jeans are accepted, reluctantly.  I silently celebrate.  Because if I celebrate vocally, he will know he has pleased me, and a rapid attempt to STOP THAT will ensue.

He emerges with two pairs of jeans, a nice shirt that makes him look respectable, and a hoodie (like he needs another one, but it was on clearance, and it helps to cover all the name-brand shirts he wears to school that are against dress code).  AND, a hoodie-looking thing, that repels water.  BINGO!

On the way to the car, he goes so far as to offer sincere thanks.

It's only a matter of time before he becomes a full-fledged human, and these battles will be long since forgotten.

What battles do you know are coming, and dread, the most?

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