Saturday, January 27, 2007

Of huge hairbows and $100 outfits

I guess you're wondering what that title has to do with a picture of My Little Pony Live.

Or maybe you aren't.

I took Anna Marie today, and we met my cousin Cheree and her son Aaron for the show. I got the tickets free from the newspaper, in exchange for some ads we ran.

Good thing I didn't have to pay for the tickets, because I had to pay $10 to park! I'm sure if I had been more familiar with the area around the Cannon Center I could've found a cheaper lot, but it was just across the street, and it was cold and raining, so I didn't mind not having far to walk.

Anyway, there was another group of moms/daughters walking up to the Cannon Center the same time we were. One of the girls, in particular, caught my attention.

She was maybe four or five years old, with shoulder-length brown hair. She was wearing a pair of jeans and a striped sweater.

But it was what was on top of her head that caught my attention.

It was a HUGE hairbow, made of brown grosgrain ribbon. It was, quite literally, the biggest I'd ever seen. It was about four inches square in circumference, and about two inches high.

It sat squarely on her head, like she was a little walking Christmas present.

Her mom looked like a real piece of work too - tight jeans, high heeled boots, and hair teased within an inch of its life.

When I got inside, I was shocked to see nearly the same scene repeated over and over again. It was like the moms were in some sort of contest, to see who had the best-dressed kid.

Tights and smocked Sunday dresses, people. In 45 degree weather.

It was conspicuous consumption at it's purest level.

Those outfits, which would be outgrown in a matter of months, cost more than what Anna Marie and I had on put together. I know, because there are a couple of boutiques here in town that sell that kind of clothes, and I naively looked at the tags one day.

Those clothes were in addition to the $25-30 for each ticket, and the $10 light-up wands (and other over-priced souvenirs).

I actually wondered how many of those families could actually afford the trip, and how many were going into debt to finance their afternoon.

I'll admit, if I didn't get free tickets to these shows, there's a large possibility we wouldn't be going. No offense to all those parents who do take their kids, but it's just not something we'd put a priority on in our budget.

I'll also admit, I've been prey to the feeling that my daughter has to look perfect every time we leave the house. As recently as this past Tuesday, I was an hour late to work because I couldn't find but one of her tennis shoes. I ended up putting her boots on her. They didn't "go" with what she was wearing, but they enabled her to go to the babysitter and me to go to work.

Those boots haunted me all day that day.

But after today, I'm afraid I might be cured. It was that perfection obsession taken to the extreme. It made me sick to my stomach.

I pray that I never get to the point with my child that those mothers are apparently at.

Although, with my limited resources, I probably don't have anything to worry about.


Susie Q said...

You are telling the truth Melissa. It has become quite the thing around here...the clothes and, oh boy, the birthday parties.
I do have some really sweet dress up things for Grace but all were bought, after the various seasons, too big, and for about 12-25 dollars. Dresses that were over a hundred! I just can not believe that people actually pay the original prices! Sad to say they do! Grace wears clothes from Target..or Walmart or Kmart...they have cute stuff!
I know about the shows too. The toys, hats and t shirts are outrageous! I see little girls all the time that are dressed so much better than I ever dress!

I guarantee that some, if not most, of those parents go into major debt to pay for the tickets, the souveniers, the food, etc. There are things we do but we do not do most. We go to mucis events that are a fraction of those kid shows! Better too!

There are so many free or nominal priced things that are better for kids...I worry about what these parents are teaching their kids. The values...but I will get off my soapbox for now! You already said it and better than I am anyhoo!

You have a wonderful Sunday...and I know that Anna Marie looked beautiful today...: )As did you!


Valerie said...

oh yeah. i see that WAY too much here in the O.C., can't tell sometimes if the girls are 10, or 20.

Man, i was lucky if i wasn't wearing a striped shirt with plaid pants...oh wait. i did. ALL THE TIME.

i get the whole thing about how parents want so much more for their kids, but what does it teach them to have a $95 sweater (which i don't even have one), when there are kids out there that don't have sweaters, much less their parents with $95.

Such a waste.

Paige said...

We see the same thing every time we go to an event like that. The last one was Disney on ice. I won the tickets from the radio, or we wouldn't have gone. I prime the kids before, saying, "We have brought halloween candy for you to snack on, so please do not ask for a snow-cone, cotton candy or anything like that. You won't be getting it." Then when the popcorn guy comes by and the person in back of us buys 3 at $10 apiece, I say to the kids, "so, how much is that costing them for popcorn? What else do you think you could do with that much money?" Just to point out to them that these things are not free, and you have to make choices with your money. Of course, I'm not saying it loud in their face, because maybe the person behind me has so much money they don't know what to do with it, and really, that's none of my business.

But I hope you had a great time, the picture looks cute, and that's something my 5 year old would just love.

doodlebugmom said...

Wow. I guess I have been living under a rock...ok Wisconsin..close enough. I had no idea. My youngest daughter is a tomboy, jeans and a sweatshirt kinda kid. I will never complain about her choices again.


Melissa said...

I don't know if I'm glad to know that this phenomenon is not limited to the Mid-South, or sad to see this mentality permeating other areas.

What are we teaching our daughters by parading them around, and using them to "one-up" the other moms around us?

I was, however, glad that Anna Marie wasn't old enough to look at those other girls and realize the difference between her attire and theirs. She was mainly concerned with the volume of the whole production!

Lissete said...

Your description of that hair bow is too funny! I have a picture of my mom when she was little that might compare. I'll try to post or email.