We went to the mall as a family on Saturday. It was our first trip there in a very long time. Long enough, in fact, for me to have forgotten that there is more to that place than the Food Court and the carousel.
We went because it was Madelynne’s 9th birthday and we had promised she could (finally!) get her ears pierced. Since it’s been about twenty years since I had any piercing done, I went with the tried and true decision to take her to Claire’s. That place is like a rite of passage for girls, right?
Except to get there you have to pass so many other rites of passages that nine years olds shouldn’t know about yet.
We parked away from the crowd and came in a less used side entrance due to the rain. We walked past Pottery Barn and J. Crew and the rock climbing wall and a giant picture of a half-dressed girl and guy sharing an intimate embrace on the beach.
That was Hollister. I thought they sold clothes? Silly me.
Steered them on toward the food court since Annabelle’s mouth was hanging open. Obviously she was hungry.
After lunch, we went up the escalator (so much excitement! we obviously don’t get out enough) and trekked on down toward our destination.
Which was unfortunately located across the aisle from Victoria’s Secret. Well, at least there’s no mistaking what they’re selling.
This time I didn’t steer them on fast enough. Madelynne had a friend with her and there was a whispered conversation that went like this:
M: What’s that place?
F: That’s where they sell pajamas that look like bras and underwear.
M: (staring at a sheer negligee with garters) Ewww!
I’m no idiot. I know they probably already know more than I want them to and are exposed to more than I think they should be. I’m sure the time for the talk is coming soon, and I know I should get on with that before some kid beats me to it, but I was naive enough to think that a simple trip to the mall wasn’t going to prompt that discussion.
I wish I could shield their eyes from seeing pornographic images in stores that don’t believe their product is good enough to sell itself. I wish I could take them shopping without arguing over the fact that they’re too young for spiky heels. How much I wish that argument hadn’t come into existence because someone, somewhere has forgotten that little girls should dress like little girls.
And young ladies should be treated with respect. But how can we expect that when we tell them it’s cool to be wrapped around your boyfriend’s waist in a pair of $50 jeans?
Don’t tell me that I should go ahead and prepare myself for this because I have three daughters and they are going to grow up faster than I want them to.
That’s not the point. The point is I should be able to treat my daughter like a nine year old and nine year olds shouldn’t be exposed to promiscuity on a Saturday afternoon at the mall. I wasn’t looking for an intro lesson to sex education.
We just wanted a pair of earrings.
Linking up with The Better Mom Mondays.