Whats The Best Way to spend your daughter’s Birthday?
Why shopping for dresses, Of Course!
Ash’s fourth birthday just so happened to be on a weekend where she was with mom this year. Since we only had a two hour window, we had to do something fast, local and fun for her. Yes I know, for a 4 year old, that means anything. As usual Dad wanted to do something a little different and certainly still have the entire focus about her and being “older”. My thoughts were the normal things like hitting the playground, getting some weird flavor ice cream, or some other usual place with arcade games and rides. All of which were getting an immediate, strong response in my head of “NOPE”. So off went brainstorming ideas with her as she’s getting dressed to leave. I’ve got it! Shopping! So let’s run down the next couple hours as the BEST and WORST idea I’ve ever had unfolds!
Once I hit on the idea with her, she immediately said “Shopping?…YEAH! Hey, Dad, can I buy a dress!?” With complete fear in my mind, and absolutely no hesitation, I agreed.
Of course, she already had on a dress. A ‘dads worst nightmare’ one. The Tinkerbell dress with the mesh skirt and cotton faded top that no longer fit but had become her “Go To” item with mismatched plaid sandals. This thing was way too short and her refusal to put shorts or something on underneath made this trip a perfect choice in my mind. Buy a dress and find something, ANYTHING, to get her dressed appropriately. We didn’t have time to go back to my place and pickup clothes and mom was not offering aid on the modesty shorts being necessary. I was now determined to get two things done; buy a beautiful new favorite dress and get a proper fitting outfit. She’s still only four years old!
Before we even started down the road, I recalled a couple resale shops in the area that have always had great deals on new and gently used childrens clothing. Time to get this adventure going! We got to the first place quickly and as we’re walking in she was almost pulling me and skipping along screaming “come on, Dad”. I Loved It. Within a few minutes, we both realized this place was a bust. They just weren’t going to have what we were looking for. She became distracted with some toys they had lying about and I knew this place was done. So goes the joys of shopping for a dress. I recalled how much I hated shopping with the opposite gender and the multitudes of stores you have to run through to find a single perfect outfit. I decided it was time to tackle the fact that she still had on a dress that was a wee bit too short for my taste. Okay, A LOT too short. I got down to her eye level and as I stared into her hazel eyes and brushed her hair back, asked if she wanted to buy some shorts and shirt to match her favorite sandals. Asking a four year old female if she wants to buy something extra to wear right now? Yeah, this wasn’t a hard sell! We hit the racks again and she was beaming with joy as she expertly shifted hangers around and was looking at different items quietly muttering “nope, nope, MAYBE, nope, HMM”. I was just watching and enjoying it. We found some plaid shorts with all her favorite colors – pink, violet and pastel blue. Somehow they had the exact pattern of her sandals. We grabbed a Dr Seuss pink shirt and got her changed. The clerk’s face was funny when I handed her the tags and only offered one simple explanation: Sorry, Its her Birthday and she wanted to wear it RIGHT NOW.
One goal Down and One to go!
We hit the second place a few blocks down the road, another small resale shop with only a few racks of toddler clothes. I knew this place always has good stuff though so we went straight to the dresses. Within a couple minutes, we had three perfect dresses according to Ash. One was a blue evening dress with ruffles on the shoulder straps, mesh and sequins for the outer layer and a ribbon bow off to the side. The second was a pastel blue knee length cotton summer dress with wide straps and a pleated bottom that she could twirl around and make the dress flare out like she was dancing in the Ballet Folklorico. The final one was another yellow cotton dress with a lace pattern sewn onto it and the cut was perfectly fitted to her tiny frame. We found the footwear section and came across a single sequined slipper that matched so perfectly
with the evening dress; they must have been a set. I couldn’t take the heartbreak showing in her eyes when we realized the other shoe was nowhere to be seen. Super-Dad time! The next twenty minutes were hilarious. I was literally moving clothing racks so she could look underneath to find its other half. The store clerks must have thought I was insane. Ash and I started talking out what we were doing. It had to have been loud enough because they just let me do my thing even though we were nowhere near the kids section anymore. After moving half the store around, we finally found the other slipper under the women’s pants section. All was right in the world again! We were off to the dressing rooms.
After putting each dress on her, we did the usual walk around and model poses. We ended up buying both blue dresses the yellow one and the slippers. But while she was doing her little twirl and poses, It hit me pretty hard. My Baby was growing up! It’s that moment you know is coming. You become so proud. At the same time, I felt selfish because I want her to stay my little baby for just a little while longer. Maybe ten more years or so? Wishful thinking.
We didn’t make the two hour window, but did get back only a half hour over. I never did say how little we spent for the dresses as mom thought we had just spent a fortune. Oh well, it just made my daughter laugh as she said “yeah Daddy took me shopping at the dress place and I just Love my new dresses. They are my Favorite ones now”. We did get a heck of a deal though, less than $15 for two dresses and the slippers. The park or ice cream might have been easier, but the memory of dad moving racks and fending off the clerks’ stares is definitely one that belongs in those “priceless” commercials!
Until Next Time!
Dad or not, Share your shopping or birthday adventures with your little ones in the comments!