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The Moonwalk and It's Power of Subtly

Back in the days of yonder, I loved the September. It meant back to school to see old friends, clothes that actually fit before I grew out of them and of course, spanky new school supplies.

What was better than your very own bendy ruler and a sparkle pen to call your own? Perhaps that new red pencil case you convinced your mom to buy, perfect for hiding notes in the side pockets.

Not that I wrote a lot of notes in class. Snicker.

If you believe that let me tell you about how perky my chest is too.

I still love September. But for different, more grown-up reasons. My daughter and I celebrate our birthdays this month. The canopy of tree tops starts to resemble the colours of a vibrant sunset. My kids board a little yellow school bus every morning to be driven far, far away by the world's nicest lady all before I have my first cup of coffee. And she doesn't bring them back until almost nine hours later.

Sweet, sweet freedom.

There is one thing I passionately and intensely dislike about September.

Back to school shopping. I hate having to shoulder my way into the throng of mothers who think their snot-nosed brats need a twenty dollar binder and block all access to the cheap binders on the back shelf. When you ask them to politely get the fuck out of my way before I hurt you excuse themselves so you may reach one of the ugly discounted D-rings, they sneer over their shoulders as if to convey that my very existence and desire not to spend what amounts to a boob job on school supplies are grunging up their airspace and my wild monkey children shouldn't be allowed to share the same air-space with their precious soon-to-be-white-collar-criminal children and then shuffle maybe a half-step to the left so that if I stretch really hard I may be able to reach the ugly puke green discount binder on the top instead of digging through the pile and finding a half decent colour for my kids.

I mean it's bad enough I buy the discount crap. They shouldn't have to stare at colours resembling what it looked like the last time they puked in the toilet.

Of course, this could all be in my imagination too. I just hate shopping if it doesn't involve various different shapes of glass bottles filled with pretty colours of ambrosia.

However, I am a dutiful mother, so I stuffed the kids into the car, cranked up the iPod and headed into town, equally determined not to get fleeced and not be the mother who sends her kids to school with pocket protectors just because she found them on sale and in theory they seem like a good idea.

After what seemed like an eternity, our shopping cart was full, my credit card company would soon be very happy with me and my kids were bouncing off the walls with excitement and I wearily pushed our mountain of supplies towards the car.

"Mom, aren't you going to buy us some clothes? I need new shoes and most of my pants are too short," Fric asked while pointing to her coltish legs. Sure enough, I could see four inches of ankle below her hem line.

"Oh, I thought that was the look you were going for these days, you crazy kids."

"MOM!" they complained in unison.

Fine, since I seem to have government agencies breathing down my neck these days all in name of finding out if I'm crazy. I suppose it wouldn't hurt to provide clothing that fit for my offspring.

But nobody said the clothes had to be pretty. Snicker.

As Fric and Frac raced around gathering up enough clothes in their arms to wear a new outfit every day for a year, I shouted out, "Only two pants and two shirts. You can trade outfits every day. And I'm not buying you any underwear. You can go commando like the rest of us!"

That always works to keep the sales people away.

As my lovely children tried on one lovely, expensive outfit after another, I sat in the corner rocking back and forth trying to figure out how I was going to pay for every thing they need on top of every thing they want.

There's not many street corners I can stand on in the sticks. Hmm. Maybe I could get a job for a 1-900 company. I'm told I have a sexy voice...

As Fric and Frac come out to model one incredibly over priced outfit after another, I tried to dissuade them from the most pricey choices and stir them towards the more reasonable (and slightly geeky) choices I could live with.

"Oh, you don't want that pair of pants Frac. They make you look like a two headed elf with small feet and a big nose. Besides, some child in India had to slave for twelve hours to make those jeans, wasn't allowed a washroom break and only made three cents for his effort. You don't want to buy merchandise from a company that treats KIDS that way do you?"

"Fric, that shirt looks lovely. If you want to resemble a prostitute walking her turf in it. It really highlights your eyes and makes you look cheap. Great choice honey. Love the colour. All the boys will love it."

Ya. Really, I should win awards for my parenting.

However, my kids aren't as dumb as I'd like. "You're just saying this because you don't want to pay these prices," Fric accused me after checking the price tag on her the last pants she tried on and telling her she resembled a mushroom butt.

Damn. I need to work on my subtlety skills.

"Well, can you blame me? It's not like these clothes are made with gold thread! They want an arm and a leg for crap that you are going to out grow in two shakes of a lambs tail. I'm trying to be frugal and conservative, thereby saving enough of your father's hard earned money, to oh, I don't know, FEED us!"

I went on, "Besides, the clothing I picked out is just as cool looking and only half the price. I'm a great shopper. I'm fashionable. I'm cool. I'm jiggy. I'm down wit tat." Said with hand motions and everything. I am so cool.

Que rolling of both sets of blue eyes.

"Fine Mom. Just do us a favour."

"Sure, what's that?" I'd do just about anything in the name of all that is holy just to be able to get the hell out of the store with some money still in the bank.

"Stop trying to do the Moonwalk in the mirror. You are embarrassing us. And you look like your having fits."

"Fine. So I can't dance. But don't I get cool points just for trying?"


"NO!" Again with unison. You'd think they were related or something.

"Fine no dancing. Oh, do you hear that? I grew up with that song! I still know the words. If you're not changed with some reasonably priced choices in hand in one minute, I'm gonna start singing loudly. Oh look! Isn't that a couple of kids you go to school with? Maybe I should dance for them too. Time's a ticking my friends. And Momma's getting the itch to be a star..."

Funny how a little public embarrassment can hurry things a long. Saved me a bundle too. I danced all the way to the cash register.

But only after waving hello to my kid's school chums. I like to be friendly, after all.

« The Kink is On | Main | Yes, I AM a Dirty Girl »

Reader Comments (31)

F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S! I'll have to remember that. Fortunately hubby took my stepdaughters school shopping this year (and came home with steam coming out of his ears)

I got to do the fun part...buy cute clothes for the twins for preschool. Everything is just so adorable when its in a size 4.

August 30, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterWorker Mommy

You need to teach classes on psychological warfare, babe. The Pentagon should hire you!

August 30, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterSteph

If I was your child, I might have died.


August 30, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterKyla

ooh, thanks, tricks for the future. Awesome.

August 30, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterFishyGirl

I love how you enjoy publicly humiliating your children. Especially that time you made Frac sing for his lunch. Priceless.

Glad to see you made it out with a little leftover for your glass bottles of ambrosia-colored liquid. :) You'll have 9 hours every day to indulge! Hooray for school!!!!!

Hi Boo!

August 30, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMs. Crafty Wanna-Be

I get sick thinking about the amount of money I spent of the inmates... their supplies alone could have fed a small toen for a week.

We do the clothes shopping Sunday...

I'm totally stealing your idea and instead of the moonwalk, I'll be the one doing the macerena in the middle of the kids department.

August 30, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMamaMichelsBabies

Could you teach me this? Your ways of publicly humiliating children? My kid is starting to get older and I think I need a crash course in embarrassment parenting.

Not that I couldn't figure it out. I did watch you for a few days in Chicago. Funny, you only managed to embarrass me two or three times.


Just kidding, hon. You know I love you for your sexy voice.

August 30, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMrs. Chicky

i do so wish i could just stumble across you, karaoking your little moonwalk heart out in the middle of a department store.

you're cool.

in about twenty-five years, your kids will think so too. :)

August 30, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterBon


RM, 1. Fric and Frac, 0.

August 30, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterslouching mom

My kids wear uniforms (UK) its great, one outfit every day, no discussion! I just have go to the uniform shop, tell them the school, and hey presto, my kids are attired for the year! Costs me a fortune but only once a year and I dont have to argue about whats appropriate to wear!

August 30, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterjenny

Fric and Frac should be proud of their mama who can dance and sing.....


My mother was a walking embarrassment, being very strict and proper - so our school shopping trips were 'dash in, get it quick, get it cheap and get out'......hmm - a bit like my ex-husband [chortle]


August 30, 2007 | Unregistered Commentercraziequeen

See, that would never work on my kid. She'd laugh and tell me "do it some more....sing louder - oh wait....throw in that breakdance move"...dammit...I cant embarass her!!!

August 30, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterkat

Very interesting ... I'll have to remember that. Noting wrong with breaking out my caterpillar breakdancing moves in public again...

August 30, 2007 | Unregistered Commentercreative-type dad

You must've been with me in the shoe department last week.

August 30, 2007 | Unregistered Commentercarrie

You can moonwalk??! I'm green with envy!! I always tried, but never mastered the art.

Your kids should be bursting with pride. he he.

August 30, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterjellyhead

I think that falls into the category of secret mom tricks!

August 30, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterqt

Hee hee.

My son and I both have September birthdays too.... I should have guessed you were a Virgo!

August 30, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJenifer

Mine are still at the age where I can sing along to Tina Turner in the grocery store and they applaud. I'll have to remember these tricks for later on, when I will inevitably make them want to hide in the dressing room and pray that I leave without them.

August 30, 2007 | Unregistered Commentermothergoosemouse

Hilarious. You are an evil genius. I have to remember these tricks.

August 30, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterLisa b

Man I hated school shopping with my mom ... she was never fun like you ... now that I am older with child of my own ... no where near school age yet ... I wonder if she will hate it with me ... however I will use this as a guideline cause I am LOL!

August 30, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMBKimmy

Ah, the dark side of back to school. I'm all for the discount supplies...cause half of them will get lost and the other half will break. I'll be replacing it all soon.

August 30, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterEm

I'm all over the public humiliations. I bow to your genius.

And back to school time is an absolute rip off. I applaud your techniques to keep the cost to a minimum...I will be empoying them Sat when WB and I go for his...

August 30, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJosie

Are you "that woman" in your town?
Sure sounds like it.

August 30, 2007 | Unregistered Commentermoosh in indy.

ROTFLMAO you never cease to amaze me. Love it. Can I send my kiddies shopping with you next year? Please please?

August 30, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterjacquie

I had no idea that binder colours matter but I do know your dance moves are killer! With that extra money you saved, you can have a night out in the clubs busting it.

August 31, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJana

I am going to remember your tricks.

August 31, 2007 | Unregistered Commentermetro mama

Bigirl just closed the deal on some back to school spending tomorrow.


I wish there were more mommies like you att eh store, I 'd walk right on up and start dancin' with you.

August 31, 2007 | Unregistered Commentercrazymumma

Now these are some fine parenting tips if I ever saw any. You're my mentor!

September 1, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

Ah, public humiliation. my friend's dad was a master. I can only hope to attain some degree of proficiency, because threats are getting tiresome already and she's only three...

September 3, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterkittenpie

Wish I'd have read this about five hours earlier.

Cause I just got back from "The Maxx" (TJ Maxx)

And I didn't even have a drink before I went in.

September 3, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJenn

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March 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAlexwebmaster

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